2023 might be the year of mystery tomatoes. Recycling can have its’ downside if one is not super organized. This year my attempt at organization hit a setback. Reusing old plastic trays for my seedlings is not new to me. But for the first time I merely created sheets of planting information instead of buying more plastic labels.
Now the sheet indicating which row has which tomato variety is lost. As a result, I will have mystery tomatoes if the information is not found.
Each year I plant both paste and slicing tomatoes. Then I go a step further and plant different varieties in each category. This year the seed starts include Early Girl, Brandywine, Opalka and San Marzano. But I have five rows. So, I definitely will have some mystery tomatoes. Furthermore, I may not be able to differentiate the different varieties in the two categories.
Usually, the paste tomatoes have a smaller seedling appearance. This should allow me to identify between slicing and canning. But I doubt I will be able to know which are the Early Girl tomatoes. Perhaps all the starts will become mystery tomatoes.
Volunteer Mystery Tomatoes
Each year a few tomatoes pop up in the garden on their own. These volunteer tomatoes are often heirloom tomatoes. Those with a purplish cast to their leaves are easily identified as Purple Cherokee. And since Roma tomatoes are open-pollinated they also easily reseed. I tend to dig these volunteer mystery tomatoes and re-locate them to a raised bed of volunteers. This allows me to separate the known from the unknown.
Unfortunately, this year may be one of unknowns. If the identification sheet is not found the entire garden may be comprised of mystery tomatoes. At least until harvest approaches. Mostly the loss of identification will mean inconvenience as the slicing tomatoes may end up in the Big Garden instead of just outside the kitchen door. Next year, I will buy some markers!