Friday, July 31, 2015

Tomatoes

Because of our record rainfall, this has been a good year to discover just how well the various tomato varieties will (or won't) perform.  While there are NO tomatoes producing as they should, or escaping blight problems, some are more promising than others.  

I tried two heirloom tomatoes, Mr. Stripey and Black Krim.  Mr. Stripey obviously doesn't like wet weather.  We have not had one bite of a tomato from that plant, and the way things are going, we won't.  The Black Krim is producing a few large fruits. They really are tasty, but Cliff doesn't like them because they are ugly.  However, the taste is like that of the old Ponderosa tomatoes I used to love so well:  Low-acid, large, and meaty.  Sort of a beefsteak tomato... and I believe I've found one of those I will try again:  Brandy Boy Hybrid.  It isn't doing the greatest this year, but I believe it will do well in a "normal" year.  It bears large, meaty fruits that taste like my Ponderosa.  Oh, how sweet it will be to taste such a tomato again.

My main tomato crop is made up of Celebrity plants, which normally survive the curse of blight to a great extent.  They are giving me some fruits, but in a normal year I would have canned dozens of quarts and be giving tomatoes away.  I won't be canning tomatoes this year.  

I tried two other new hybrids, the most promising of which is Big Daddy.  Twenty years ago I would plant two varieties of tomatoes in my garden:  Big Boy and Rutgers.  Because of blight, I gave up on both of those, but I believe Big Boy lives again in the Big Daddy plants!  None have ripened, but there are HUGE green tomatoes there, and while the plants have quite a bit of blight, it isn't as bad as the others, and so far none of the green tomatoes have spots on them... did I say they are HUGE?  The other new variety I sampled is Cloudy Day hybrid.  It's handling the blight as well as could be expected, but the tomatoes are pretty small.

So, next year, God willing that I live to see it and can still walk to the garden, I'll plant Celebrity as a main crop (as usual) and Big Daddy and Brandy Boy for the table.  I noticed that a search on the Burpee site no longer brings up the Cloudy Day hybrid, so I imagine it was a colossal failure with everyone.  I don't mind cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes, but I don't especially want a plum-sized tomato.

There you have it, a tomato review from a mediocre gardener.

1 comment:

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I'm sorry you won't be putting up any tomatoes there this year. This summer has been a learning lesson if nothing else for you. Still you have some good eating for the table. Nothing beats the taste of a homegrown tomato.