How To Raise the first Acre of the Best Tasting Tomatoes in the Midwest

HARDENING OFF

Late March the fragile plants were removed from the Greenhouse to the wagons to harden off during the day. They were then moved in the barn at night where the temperature was approximately 35 to 40 degrees with constant moving air. There is always a window from early March to early April where the soil is dry enough to work and ridge. The farm will plant it's first Red Duce tomatoes on the ridges. During wet times, the tractor tires are in the mud, but the top of the ridge is nice and dry ready for planting. You can do the same thing with a tiller and hand rake.

FIELD PLANTING AND COVERING

Our Red Duce tomatoes were planted April 11th and Low Tunnel covered on April 20th with a product called "Seed Guard" which warms the soil and plants approximately 15 degrees during the day and 5 degrees at night. This will protect the plants from the extreme cold, wind, frost and even hail.
We planted and 1st tied on May 2nd. On May 15th we tied for the 2nd time and covered with "Hail Guard". The 2 feet tall plants are just beginning to show pea size fruit and should be mature enough to ripen in 32 days.
Due to hail laced thunderstorms in May and June, the "Hail Guard" netting was placed between the 2nd and 3rd rows of plants every 4 feet as shown. The idea is not to totally stop the hail stones, but merely to break the wind driven speed and allow them to fall harmlessly on to and around the plants.
On June 4th our 1st acre of Red Duce tomato plants are in the process of putting on their 3rd cluster of fruit. The 1st set appeared May 25th and should be mature enough to start ripening around June 20th.
Early planting, crazy weather and the timing of the July 2nd full moon triggered a mass ripening of our 1st acre of Red Duce Tomatoes

We are still picking the 2nd of 4 timely plantings of Tomatoes and just starting to pick the 3rd. Th 4th is due to start ripening by the end of August. We should have a steady supply from now until mid September.