Monday, July 21, 2008

Bye Bye Better Boy

I finally did away with our struggling Better Boy tomato plant. As you may have gathered from previous posts, this plant has been a real disappointment. Despite growing to approximately 7 feet in height, it produced only two tomatoes. The largest of these weighed in at just over 4.3 ounces (122 grams), while the other pushed the scales to an even 2 ounces (56 grams). Both were a far cry from the "extra large fruits....some weighing 1 1/2 pounds (680 grams)" touted by their seeds' pack.

When I pulled up the plant last evening, I noticed that its root system was not nearly as developed as I had expected for such a large plant. I don't really know what is normal for a mature tomato plant, but the Better Boy's roots stretched out no more than one foot across. They subsequently had left lots of dirt unused in their whisky barrel home. Maybe poor root development accounted in part for the plant's lackluster performance.

I replaced the Better Boy with a Mortgage Lifter variety that I picked up at local nursery. The plant obviously had been there a while, as it looked pretty rough around the edges and was discounted from an original price of $4.87 to $1.85. But after pruning off the dead limbs and leaves, the thing looks good for a rescue plant. We'll see how it grows, and if it produces more than the barrel's previous occupant.

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