History of the Tomato Project
The Tomato Project is happening because of 2 dealers with High Brix Gardens. It really began over 50 years ago when Lynn Hoag was 13 years old. Prior to this he was raised in India and saw first-hand the necessity of growing food. This sparked a passion in him that continues to this day.
After his family returned to the United States, Lynn took advantage of a life-changing opportunity. He took a hands-on garden class taught by Herbert Clarence White. In this class he was taught the Ellen White method of planting trees by her grandson. This method was given as a revelation in a night vision to Ellen White--an early founder of the 7th Day Adventist Church.
Lynn has taught this same method ever since with some adaptations along the way. It also makes pine trees grow much faster. In this photo you can see Lynn with 2 trees. Both were planted on the same day; the one on the left by the Ellen White method and the other by the forestry method. The results speak for themselves.
One of Lynn's findings is that this method works great with tomatoes. Most commercial tomato production achieves a yield of 15-35 tons per acre. This works out to about 5-12 lbs. of harvestable tomatoes per plant. Long-season tomato plants in greenhouses can double this yield from 10-25 lbs. per plant.
Lynn made an amazing discovery! Tomato plants grown with the tree planting method consistently yielded 100 lbs. per plant for large-sized varieties. Here is a graphic showing Lynn's current method of planting trees.
This discovery prompted Luke Lemmers of Fix My Soil, LLC to plant a tomato in 2015 using this method combined with ongoing fertility used in the High Brix Garden program. Luke was given an unknown cherry tomato variety from a friend. It was originally a volunteer that had been replanted and had the seed saved for 4 years. Luke used a custom tree planting mix based off a soil test.
The tomato was transplanted on May 29th and lasted till an early killing frost on August 31st. Frequent nutrient drenches were applied in order to maintain soil conductivity and regular foliar sprays were also applied.
The plant was staked out with 12 runners; 3 going to each corner. Once the plant started growing we observed blossom clusters that just wouldn't quit. Numerous blossoms combined in long clusters made the plant stand out to visitors coming to pick up their mineral mix from Luke.
In total the plant formed 4,257 tomatoes with an average of 25.6 tomatoes per cluster. The highest brix was measured at 13. A few clusters had an outstanding number of tomatoes and blossoms with some in the 60's and 70's. Here are two clusters totaling 82 tomatoes/blossoms. Notice how the clusters divide and keep right on flowering.
Luke got quite a few comments from people who remarked that they have never seen a tomato plant like that. Later I asked for a sample to run a nutrient density test in our lab. I will share the results in another article and compare them with some organic cherry tomatoes purchased at our local grocery store.
By the end of the season Luke and I decided to pursue a larger demonstration plot for a field day, hence the 2016 Tomato Project.
Note: If you haven't signed up for more information on the Tomato Project, please sign up here. If you have already signed up you are good to go.
Wishing you the best tomatoes,
P.S. I forgot to mention the overall yield on the cherry tomato plant...54 lbs. This is a calculated number because some of the tomatoes did not reach maturity due to the early frost. This is a remarkably high yield for a cherry tomato plant. The big question is how high can it go with full-sized varieties. This year we are going to find out. One variety in the test plot is already bearing: Early Girl.
Next Article: What is a Nutrient Dense Tomato? You can read it here...
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