Monday, September 13, 2010

Tomato Varieties

 I know I've not been around much lately. With some sick children last week and general busyness, computer time has been limited.

I do want to give some garden updates - if I can do so without whining about our lousy weather. I'll start with tomatoes.

I planted twelve tomato plants this year. I thought that was a generous number of plants and I'd have plenty to can and give away.

Tomatoes seem to be one thing that we always can grow well. Apparently our soil conditions are perfect for growing tomatoes. The common comment upon seeing our garden is "your tomato plants are huge"!

This year was no exception. Despite the drought and blistering heat, most of the tomato plants towered over me to six or seven feet tall. But the yield wasn't as good as expected. I did give the plants a little water but as the drought continued, I decided to save my watering for other parts of the garden. We got enough tomatoes for some canning, just not the abundance that I expected.

My mother-in-law grows tomato plants for all her girls. She planted quite a few different varieties this year. This year, I actually marked which varieties I planted so that I could know which ones preformed the best. The result of my tiny trial tomato patch are unofficial but interesting, at least to me. If I wanted to do a better trial, I would need to plant more of each variety. Most of these varieties I only planted one or two plants.

All the tomatoes were planted in one row in the back of my garden. All received somewhat the same amount of water (not nearly enough). All were planted deeply in the ground in mid-May and seemed to have good root systems. All were placed in four foot sturdy wire cages.

I rarely have problems with blossom end rot. This year I did, probably encouraged by the weather conditions but I think the soil contributed. I only had blossom end rot at one end of the garden. The first two plants had terrible blossom end rot, the third plant only a small amount and the rest of the row, not at all. I think the garden soil at that end was lacking something. My husband says it needs lime and plans to add lime this fall. I'll mention the varieties that had blossom end rot - but it may not have been their fault!
Bloody Butcher - I didn't choose this variety for them name, but rather because of it's reputation for early fruit with better flavor then Early Girl. This was the earliest tomato in my garden. The fruit wasn't large but it was deep red and definitely deserved it's name. I always knew which tomatoes in the bucket were this variety from the color.

Pink Ponderosa - This tomato was huge, even despite are lack of rain. They also produced more fruit than many of the other varieties. It was only a day or so later to ripen than Bloody Butcher. In an informal taste test with one tester (me) this tomato won hands down. I don't really like raw tomatoes but this one was my pick to add to burgers this summer. Like the name suggests, the ripe color of the tomato is pink. This is on my list to plant next year.

Brandy Boy - Simliar in every way to Pink Ponderosa but didn't produce many tomatoes. Of course, it had a difficult year and maybe it would have done better with a normal amount of rainfall.

Jersey Giant - This is a large paste type tomato. It almost resembled a huge hot pepper in shape. The interior was meaty without many seeds. The one plant I had of this variety produced more than any other plant. I was very impressed.

Amish Paste - I planted this variety for the first time last year. It did so well and almost half of the tomato plants in our garden this year were Amish Paste. If you are familiar with the Italian Paste tomatoes like Roma, visualize a Roma on steroids nearly quadruple the size and you'll have an Amish Paste. Produced well, though not as well as last year. Only one plant had a slight touch of blossom end rot.

Marguerite Paste - This plant was much smaller than the others. I assume it was a determinate tomato. This was also to be a large paste type tomato but the tomatoes this year were quite small but numerous. This plant had blossom end rot very bad, as in EVERY fruit. But I'm blaming soil conditions, not the variety.

Big Mama - I've planted this variety in the past and been pleased with the giant sized paste tomato. I was hoping to compare it to Amish Paste. But this year the fruit were very small, smaller even than Roma and badly inflicted with blossom end rot. I'd like to comparison grow this variety again under better weather conditions and with improved (limed) soil.

I'd love to hear what varieties of tomatoes do well, or not so well, for you. Of course, soil, climate and location can make a big difference in results - but it is always fun to learn from others!

Linked to Tuesday Garden Party

8 comments :

  1. Enjoyed hearing about the different tomatoes you planted. This year was my first time planting Amish paste and they were great. Also planted Mountain Pride this year and they did very well even with all the rain. Will plant both of these again next year. I always have so much trouble with blossom end rot, but these two varieties had no problems. Also planted Celebrity and Mortgage Lifter, Celebrity had blossom end rot very bad and the other one not many tomatoes on the plant.

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  2. Thanks for sharing! Unfortunately, I didn't pay much attention to what type of tomato I planted where! They've all sort of blended together in my mind now!!

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  3. We plant, Rutgers,Brandywine,Roma,Mr. Stripy,Beef Steak,Early Girl,Cherry,Yellow,Bush,and I think that might be it. We usually plant around 120 plants a season. Our garden was killed this year due to hail, so I didn't get to harvest anything from these plants. We have planted the same every year though for the past ten years. I have noticed when I put epsom salt in the ground when planting it helps tons, no blossom end rot. Also, we change every year where we plant them, that really helps as they say the soil can hold the disease for a long time. We also put straw around all our plants and plant in black canvas..that really helped this year until the storm.
    Gardening is such trial and error isn't it..but I love it and am so thankful that we get to plant one.
    I have never heard of the kind of tomatoes you planted and would love next year to try those, especially the Amish paste.
    Joy

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  4. Last year we had big beautiful plants and they were loaded with tomatoes. They did very, very well till just before harvest when they all were blighted and rotted within a couple days. All around the area many folks lost their tomatoes. So this year I really didn't have much hope of getting a good crop. We planted 8 plants. Two Jet Star, which usually do well for us and 6 "roma type" plants from the grocery store... not sure what type. We just tucked them in where ever there was a little space. Again, we weren't expecting much. Except one plant, they did very well and we've had some beautiful large tomatoes. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, we have been eating them all fresh. Yum! I actually am having one for lunch at work today.

    We are getting frost this week, so I'll cover them up and hope for the best. If they don't make it, we'll be making green tomato relish next week :) or having fried green tomatoes.

    Learned my lesson, though. I'll be planting lots of tomatoes next year. I want to try some of those Amish Paste Tomatoes and have ordered some seeds to start in the greenhouse.

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  5. My tomatoes have beautifull plants, lots of flowers, and no tomatoes. For the most part, the flowers just dried up. Any idea why?

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  6. We had a bumper crop of tomatoes this year even though the weather was terribly hot and humid, not to mention dry. We too planted Amish paste tomatoes and they were beautiful. We started seeds that we purchased from Bakers Seed (online). We have saved some seeds and will definitely plant them again next year.

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  7. I raised my own plants this year and had the misfortune of having the field beside us sprayed in a wind that carried to my plants. I complained and they payed me what I spent to replace them at the greenhouse, not my favorite kinds, but tomatoes. The fellow who looked at the damage, gave me two heirloom plants and I was impressed with Box Car Willie. Nice big tomatoes and not so deep cores. Our favorite is Big Mama to can. I found stirring in a handful of Hi-mag limestone in the planting hole almost eliminates rot. Epsom salts is magnesium, so that helps too. I had some little worms at the core on late tomatoes. Ugh!

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  8. I read this awhile ago, Gina, and am just getting around to comment now. :-) I grew Amish paste last year and they were sure big. But I didn't care for the texture and they didn't hold as well as the smaller romas. Often they would be rotten or over-ripe by the time I had enough to can them. I'm growing San Marzano and Romas this year, plus an heirloom called Polish Linguisa which, I've found, is exactly like Amish Paste! tra, la...

    It seems to me that paste tomatoes are the most susceptible to blossom end rot, and certain varieties more than others. I will have one plant two feet from another and one will have it but the other won't. And the slicing tomatoes hardly ever have a problem.

    Btw- LOVED your tip on freezing tomatoes (have I already told you this?)- worked like a charm and lessened the work-load- yea!

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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