August 22, 2013

Blossom End Bumps

Family vacations, volunteer commitments, preparing for an increase in work this school year, and of course lots of garden tasks (!) all have contributed to zero blog posts so far this summer. That's not what I'd planned, but that's the way it is. Fortunately, it doesn't take long to post a very short entry with a picture or two that gives a flavor of summer on the Banyan's End homestead, so that's where I'm going to start. No attempts at long and comprehensive posts (who wants to read those anyway, right?), just a few pictures of interesting stuff happening on the mini farm.

So...take a look at these mutant alien tomatoes I just plucked from my Siletz tomato vine:

Siletz tomato with mini-tomato growths

Siletz tomato past its prime

Kinda creepy, huh? Most of the tomatoes coming off this plant have weird, protruding growths that look like extra tomatoes bursting from within the original. Not all are quite as extreme as the pictures, but even the "normal" looking tomatoes have a teeny hint of a growth. The strangest looking tomatoes are typically hidden deep in the middle of the vine. My theory is that the alien growths start emerging when the fruits are past prime picking time. Because they're hard to spot in the thick foliage of the Siletz plant--which doesn't get pruned because it's a determinate variety--I miss them when harvesting and they stay on the vine way too long.

Siletz is supposed to be tasty, nearly seedless and "one of the most reliable slicing tomatoes you can grow" according to Territorial Seed Company. That hasn't been my experience so far here in Davis, but I'm willing to try again one more year. I did transplant this one a bit later than my other tomato plants, so that could be it. Or, maybe they just do better in Oregon. Anybody else out there tried growing Siletz in the Central Valley?


  1. Maybe "Siletz" means "Alien Creature" in some other language... Just a thought... BTW, it has been a while since I visited your blog...I love the piece on Tour de Cluck!


  2. I grew Siletz this year and had the exact same issue. Strange looking things. One of them actually had spouts growing from it which is called vivipary. Maybe this variety is more prone to the mutation. I'm in Oregon--Willamette Valley.

    1. Interesting to hear. We lived in Corvallis for a few years so I'm familiar with the climate and thought that might be the difference (it's much hotter and drier in Davis.) Nice to know other people's Siletz's are doing the same thing! I planted other varieties this year, but might try this one again in 2015.