An absolutely wonderous experience of tomatoey essence from Virginia. It's a bi-color and has a mild,fruity taste.The texture is like that of a well made custard.
In a good year,it has no equal in my garden.Being a bi-color,it has a very long time to maturity..100 days...and the flesh and skin are so tender that you have to use them at once as there is little storage time.But like a fine wine,it is worth the extra effort to raise them to maturity.
Melody, I just had to break in here and tell you that your comments and pictures are a wonderful addition to the Plants Database. I viewed one of your homepages here: http://plantsdatabase.com/browse/user/melody , and your pictures made me almost want to move back down south from Alaska just to grow some of these veggies!
Heh, Heh, Heh, I am secretly an alien from the planet Lycopersicon in the star system of Solanaceae.My mission on Earth is to make Earthlings crave all forms and colors of the fruit you know as tomatoes!
Too funny, Mel. I always knew there was something a little odd about you - now I know!
Favorite heirloom tomato? I haven't raised enough to have a favorite yet! Give me another year or two, and I'll be in a better position to form an informed opinion. Of course, the more you learn about heirlooms, the more you realize you haven't yet discovered!
Pruden's is a favorite too Timothy.They handle heat and humid conditions better than Brandywine,so I have a nice harvest.I plant them most every year also.Here's a picture of one for those who aren't familiar with it.
Carolyn: Can you offer a suggestion for a good tomato to grow in my greenhouse in Alaska? I love tomatoes, but fail terribly to grow anything to mention. I generally try the short season cherry varieties.
One or my bad habits is asking grandious questions without offering info, but I thought I'd see if you were willing to venture a guess before I posted all that!
I begin most all plants indoors due to our short season (June-September). I start my tomatoes in early March, under fluorescent lights. By the first of April 1, I start moving plants into the heated greenhouse, and by the end of April, the tomato plants get moved to a cold frame in order to make more room in the greenhouse.
When the greenhouse plants can be set out in early June, I begin bringing the tomato plants back into the greenhouse, planting them first in 1 gallon pots, then into 3-4 gallon pots. Each time I transplant, I lay the rootball sideways in order to choke up higher on the stem. The only pruning I do is to remove some of the lower leaves at this point. I grow peppers and tomatoes in the greenhouse, with a few flowers to give interest, but most other things go outside by June 1st.
I leave my greenhouse open to allow natural pollination, plus I give them a tickle as I pass through. I use hoops to stake them in the pots. I have grown both determinate and indeterminate varieties. Perhaps my biggest problem is that I don't spend much time with the tomatoes once the big outdoors calls and all the other plants need attention. The tomatoes look healthy, they set a bit of fruit, but generally, by summer's end, most all I get is that wonderful tomato plant smell and a couple tomatoes.
Our summer days are quite long, but the temps are cool (seldom over 70F) outdoors. We also have overcast weather quite often, living on the coast. We are surrounded by mountains, so most of my yard has either morning or afternoon sun, but seldom both. I turn off the heat in the greenhouse in the spring, and don't attempt to heat it during the fall and winter, so once the warm season is over, so are the tomato plants. I've tried bringing them indoors, but they don't seem to do well.
I chose the varieties that have the shortest days to maturation, usually the smaller fruited varieties. These are the ones I have grown so far: Sungold, Golden Nugget, Glacier, Siberian, Yellow Pear, Tigerella, Black Plum, Juliet, Sub-Arctic, Taxi, Tumbler, and Reisentraube. Last year I also tried Hybrid Big Boy and Rutgers.
I grow quite a few tomatoes, since I have a small greenhouse business here. I've had good reports on tomatoes from customers, but mine never seem to do well...fruitwise. I sold some tomato plants to the Chief Engineer on one of our state ferries, and he told me they harvested beautiful tomatoes onboard indoors all summer and fall.
Perhaps I've answered my own question here. It's probably my gardening skills, not the tomato varieties!
Ya, I agree with you in that I don't think it's the varieties either. LOL If you build up enough heat in the greenhouse I think you can grow pretty much anything you want to and you don't have to rely on short season varieties as do those who are growing outside in your growing zone
A couple of comments.
First, 3 to 4 gal pots are way too small to allow for good tomato growth, IMHO. Minimum would be 5 and better still 10 and most of my pot oriented friends, so to speak, use 15 gal.
With highs of 70 in the summer I can see why you want to use passive greenhosue heat. And it's good to leave it well ventilated but no need for the natural pollination you referred to since your tomato blossoms are going to self pollinate about 95% of the time. The air movement is important because it vibrates the blossoms which helps with the self pollination.
Also, I assume you're fertilizing adequately becasue pot grown plants require more than those grown outside, and I also assume you keep those babies watered well.
I know what you mean by letting other things capture your attention. Each year when I was growing lots of stuff I'd plant a 250 ft row, 3/4 melons and 1/4 cukes. And I'd be so busy fooling around with the 800-1000 tomato plants and all the other stuff that I'd never get on top of the melons and cukes re cuke beetles. bad news if you don't do that where I live. LOL
Thanks, Carolyn: Somehow I got the impression that the tomatoes didn't need such large containers. Next season I might do less plants and larger containers... at least 5 gal. buckets. I keep a fan going most of the summer in there to keep the air circulated, so pollination should do fine. Since I start so many plants, it is a temptation to keep to many for myself, so none get good attention or space. This year I'm going to do less plants but more care.
Since I use my greenhouse for seedlings, I don't keep any soil in bins out there... thus the containers. I have to sanitize it each fall and spring, and bins of soil that may hold contamination are not an option. One of these days, I'm going to have my hubby build me a small, narrow, but tall greenhouse just for my tomatoes.
I remember my summers back in Indiana as a child. My dad always grew a fine garden of veggies. His favorite tomatoes were marglobe and golden jubilee, as I recall. There is nothing quite like a sun warmed tomato fresh from the vine. Well, I live in a gorgeous place now, but sadly, not tomato country. I guess life is always a trade-off. Thanks for the advice.
Marianna's Peace (or any old Pink Brandywine in a good year, but before embarking to the desert island (or planet Lycopersicum), I would try to sneak a couple Jubilees and/or Djena Lees into carry-on luggage, and if I got caught and they confiscated all of the above, I would happily go into yon nether with a handful of Tiger Toms to munch on.
This message was edited Saturday, Feb 8th 11:08 PM
Carolyn is right...Brandywine is a wonderful tomato..but I've found that there are so many others out there that will blow it out of the water in terms of taste and production.Brandy isn't the best tomato here in my hot,humid summers,but it shines where conditions are more moderate.
As I sit here typing,we've got 3 inches of new snow on top of the 3 inches of old snow...shoulda had daffs blooming by now!!! AKKKK!!
Now, now, Mel...it is a bit early for the daffs, isn't it? (I'm sit here typing, and the same snowstorm is sending down big ole flakes that are piling up fast. It's looking like "no school" for my kids again tomorrow.) Our daffs here don't bloom in earnest until at least March. Any of them that get a half-baked notion to bloom earlier are quite likely to get frostbit.
Got some on a sheltered South wall that are always blooming by Valentine's Day...not this year! Most of ours usually are in full swing by the end of the month,but we warm just a little faster than you do in the spring.
I went to the market this morning and there was a tent set up with heirloom tomato plants.Since I had no idea which one to get,I asked the owner to pick out one that she liked best. I ended up with one called Russian Cranberry.Have any of you tried that one before? Last year I got two Brandywine plants...put one in a large pot and the other one in the garden.Neither one amounted to anything.Of course it was a very hot,dry summer and after reading some posts about them not liking really hot weather,maybe that's what happened to mine. I'm curious to know if anyone has tried the one I got today..
There is no listing for it amongst the about 4,000 heirloom varieties listed in the SSE Annual and a Google Search shows nothing either.
With a name like Russian Cranberry it doesn't speak to me of an authentic family heirloom, it souds like someones selection from an accidental cross that they may have stabilized and then named themselves, or perhaps renamed another variety.
Lately I've been made aware of several websites where known heirloom varieties have been shamelessly renamed.
Quite frankly I'm absolutely disgusted that this is going on and it's the absolute worst at e-bay, from examples I've heard about.
Just my opimion.
But the important thing is if it does well for you and you like it.
Carolyn,thanks for your input on this.I didn't go to the market this morning,(went to yard sales instead,LOL)but when I go back next week,I'm going to ask how they came up with this name.For all I know,it could be just a plain old tomato that they've given a fancy name.It has doubled it's size though, in the week I've had it.I won't put it in the garden for another week yet.
I dont have a favorite yet but hubby absolutley loved the heirloom Giant Syrian Tomato this year that i got on a trade, he said it had the best flavor so far, they were big and 'meaty' allthough not 'giant' as the name implies.
Thanks for the info, no wonder I could not find it under old flame, I also bought some kellogs breackfast I have heard good things about them. By the way you are in the same zone as me well actually I am in 8b, but I have a question I posted in another forum and nobody has replyed to, is it too late to grow tomatoes right now in our zone area? and if it is when is a good time to grow them? This summer has been incredibly hot and so it was torture trying to pick matters or do anything in the garden for that matter.
You are a lot further south and tempered by the Gulf, so your climate is quite a bit more moderate. I passed thru Pensacola years back, when I though I wanted to be a hot shot naval aviator. They soon cured me of that idea. But I do remember the humidity and the bugs. Here we have frosts from Thanksgiving to about the middle of March. I set plants in April, pick tomatoes late may to Early July. In a good year, This has not been one, I can set plaants again around the first of August for picking in September -October. ( Have to use a short season cultivar of course). This year September was so hot, tomatoes would not set, so I picked my first fall tomato yesterday.
Well, I started some seeds a couple of days ago, so it will be a while before I can set them out. I know some people that live in Florida that are able to plant practically all year round but they are farther south, it does get chilly in here though although not as much as you, I am sure. Right now temps are high 70's and lows are 46. I will see whether the temps continue to be mild or not.
This summer was too hot and humid for my taste, I did get to collect some matters though before they got ruined by horn worm, birds etc...
Congrats on your first fall tomatoe though I hope you enjoy it dearly.
Maybe i missed it, but I haven't seen any Posters on this thread from arizona- NOT SURPRISED! You'd think it'd be easier here, but a lot of people have a trouble growing tomatoes in southern AZ- awfully hot & usually way too dry.
I grew some Black Krims two years ago, one of my few successes, especially considering how many things I did wrong- didn't start seeds until March, used a mid-to-long-season variety that's often considered too big, planted in pots that were too small to be very good for tomatoes, etc.- I got several large, picture-perfect tomatoes that were so intensely flavored that my salivary glands went into spasm after the first bite... i'll always think of them as the king of tomatoes, and they have my undying gratitude. i gave some seedlings to a friend (had too many), he planted his in mid-May, and they actually survived a very cold winter and gave him lots of Black Krims the NEXT summer. I've since moved, and i'm going to grow some Black Krims and some German Greens this year- God willing.
Chiming in from the Pacific Northwest: My favorite is Brandywine Sudduth - very productive, great flavor, just the right size for anything - a perfect complement to mozzarella slices, bruschetta brushed in olive oil, dipped in balsamic vinegar, and topped with a sprinkle of salt and a piece of fragrant basil. Oh yum!
One of the reasons why I've decided to grow Heirlooms is because it's hard to find decent seeds from most retail stores. I had a wonderful Brandywine several years ago, but only got a few fruit off it. So I tried it again and planted it last year in a different zone. I can't remember where I purchased my seeds but it was probably some retail store, like Walmart. NEVER AGAIN!!!! They tasted really bad, absolutely no flavor.
This year I'm trying:
Now I have to try and decide which ones that you suggested I will try this year. Hard choice.
WZ - I realize that, but... Just seems more appropriate to move it and the others about toms... All the info is good, for sure!
I knew more forums were added, but just looked... wow! Almost too many! With all the segmented ones, gotta watch the ones surrounding me too. Added several more, so watching 23 instead of 17. And I had it trimmed to the bare bones, LOL.
Yes and I was wondering how many other older ones with great info were buried in here too. Of course, they'd be buried in the tomatoes forum too, but eventually, given enough spare time, I would find them, LOL
From Irtusk(???sp) Siberia; one of the "black Russians". Actually more brown than black. Weird colour, but YUM!
Early; prolific; absolutely delicious. Have grown hundreds of heirloom tom. varieties over last 20 years & Black Prince is the only one we've grown every single year. If I could grow only one this would be it.
Orange Strawberry comes second for taste but needs long, hot season & is not very high yielding.
Tangella (jumbo orange cherry) very good, too.
And ... Ok - you said just one. I repeat: BLACK PRINCE!
I don't think it's sour at all. It's nice and meaty while still being pretty juicy. To me, it has a sweet, almost spicy flavor to it. One thing you have to be careful about is knowing when it's ripe. It's better to pick these by touch than by how they look. And I think they make the best fried green tomatoes I've ever had(and I've had some great ones).
I sold a lot of tomato plants this spring at our local farmer's market and when people asked me which were my top favorites, I'd tell them the two I listed above along with Kellogg's Breakfast. I'd never have a garden without them. I'm trying quite a few new varieties this year(knock on wood - I'm having a little bit of trouble with my plants right now) so my favorites might change. But I kind of think it's like choosing if you'd like a million dollars in thousand dollar bills or in hundreds - both outcomes are pretty nice. ;-)
This is my first year growing my own heirlooms. My favourite of all I've tried thus far is the Great White. I love the mild sweet flavour. It doesn't replace the delicious reds but if I could only have one ...
I am NOT going to Mars. My first year for 'Arkansas Traveler'... in this drought, heat and humidity it is still growing and setting tomatoes. They are small but great tasting. Have no problems at all that have surface. Definitely will plant again!
My cousin gave my Dad a tomato labeled Russian Krim, the ugliest bst tasting tomato. He gave it to me. It sounds like it might be a Black Krim. It has my vote so far! SWEET! It also has a strong thick stem.
Speedy recovery Carolyn! I'm so sorry for your troubles.
I don't have a favorite just yet, because I have not tasted other tomatoes except my brandywine, but I have to agree with Vashur, my brandywine is not performing well here either, I don't think I'll plant it next season. Now is red brandywine a better performer, and does it have a good taste?
So you were able to successfully grow the famous Brandywine? Which 'strain' do you have? I just recently found out there are several, though I think Dr Carolyn doesn't think they're all from the original BW.
I tried growing it last yr and only got a few pitiful fruits. The plants just simply melted in the heat. Plus the flavor wasn't all that. I'd sure love to know your secret to BW. If you can grow it, then maybe I can try it again next year.
My favorite would be someting like a Black Krim--I love the Russian darks! You might want to check out amishlandseeds.com, if you haven't already been there. This is a one-woman seed company, and she is dead serious about her heirlooms. I found out about her by buying some of her seeds on ebay. She threw in a couple of extra varieties, and so I planted them all. I think one of them must be her "Chocolate Amazon Ukrainian Tomato" and it's beautiful, delicious, and quite disease resistant! Check out her Belarusian/Ukranian/Russian section--it's out of sight! (Omar's Lebanese is quite wonderful, too.)
Hi! How are you? Hope you and your garden are well. What toms performed good for you?
My Abe Lincolns bit the dust in June. Mortgage Lifter has done pretty well. I will grow them again. Think next year, I'll go back to the old standby Rutgers- that my FIL swears by. They are not fazed in our heat and taste good.
Sudduth Brandywine is my favorite but can only be grown here during our fall-winter season as spring-summer is too hot for them. They are a cool weather tomato. I just planted two this week. It is extremely difficult to pick only one variety as there are so many more delicious tomatos out there.
We grew about 12 varieties this year. My brother-in-law brought some of his down from Minneapolis, and we had a tomato tasting of 17 varieties. Suprisingly, there was one very clear winner, and it was Marianna's Peace. They tasted fantastic, and I had a lot of them that were around two pounds.
I would want something reliable and versatile that doesn't need staking like a Roma type. When all else fails, I fall back on my neglected Romas that just keep producing until frost. Kinda like the "mother in law tongue" of tomatoes. Yes, I do believe this variety would even thrive on Mars.
Sorry, growers, but in my opinion - puts Brandywine in the shade - beautiful beautiful Amber yellow, medium to big, meltingly soft texture with a taste that is sweet and tart at the same time. Excellent sliced in a sandwich and cooks to the creamiest paste - this is a world class tomato. And the nicest thing - the person who gave me the seed told me "always swapped, never sold". I like that. Just sowed this seasons over the weekend, can hardly wait for them to get growing. What a great tomato.
Laurie1 --- Now you sparked my interest. As you may or may not know Sudduth Brandywine is my favorite but your description makes my mouth drool. Too late this season in my neck of the woods but entering in my computer for fall planting. Thanks! Sounds real exciting...
Speaking of Earls, on this very ancient thread, let me throw in a big cheer for Earl's Faux, another Brandywine, a big, fat grand-eatin' mater on a very productive plant. I plant six of them every year.
I grew this years ago and havent tried it since - but its by far my fave-
Black From Tula.
Its a russian heilroom that has great texture and beatiful coloring.
I think teh thing that clinches it for me , however, is that it tastes already mildly salted!! yay!
I think I have enough knowledge of heirloom varieties to weigh in on this thread (finally). Of all the heirloom varieties I've tried, I love Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter. It's taste is fantastic and I love the story behind how this particular tomato came into existence.
You've probably seen me gushing over Nyagous, but I'm trying about 18 selected varieties this year and I think that Aunt Ruby's German Green will give it some competition. I like a tomato that has some oomph and character (the ARGG I bought at the local flea market were smooth, juicy, sweet and spicey!). Ruffles, flutes, cores and rumples are out for me (as in Delicious). I can't seem to justify a tasty two pound tomato when only a quarter pound is left after coring and trimming.
I just met Carl Ashlock and he now has some Nyoagous to try. His son has been impressed with Black Trifele the way I have over Nyagous (both blacks), so maybe we can get a balanced review. I definitely want to sample a few Grandfather Ashlocks before passng judgement on the others.
This thread caught my eye on a google search for something tomato related but I couldn't access the rest of the thread till I subscribed it was an easy decision knowing I'd see some great varieties posted here.
The original author of this thread had a good idea to start with by requesting everyone to name just one tomato you would take to Mars (or some such) which I thought was a great idea else you end up with a list 10, 20, 30 tomatoes long, lol I can understand why some couldn't help naming a few because there are too many fantastic heirlooms out there. :)
Sooo, for an extended long trip into outer space I'd take Opalka (or Rocky) for some great sauce (I love spagetti) somebody grab the pasta :D
Don't you think the names are about half the fun of heirloom tomatoes? I always enjoy looking at the seed catalogs and PlantFiles just for the names: some exotic, some practical, some with a bit of the "snake oil" salesman (by some seed promoter, I assume, from days gone by).
Laurie 1 I have grown these for several years and they are a favorite .You describe them as yellow mine are allways orange do you think my seed was not true? The market grower I got the origional seed from said it was Earl of Edgecombe and he was a pretty proffessional guy. His were allways orange also, and he had way different dirt than I do so I know its not something in my soil causing the orange color. Ernie
Pink Potato Top for me, German Red Strawberry (or Wisconsin 55 if we're allowing newer OPs in the mix) for DH. My very favorites are usually the pinks, but DH likes the less fruity tang of a red variety.
What a great thread! I'm glad somebody linked me to it... I didn't know there was an heirloom veggie forum now!
Loooove this thread! It would have to be Brandy Wine Sudduth Strain with Black From Tula and Eva Purple Ball coming in behind. Sorry ... I couldn't help myself!! Just * couldnt * name just one!! ;)
Green Zebra. Huge, generously producing vines, with very attractive, very tasty tomatoes! I just love the spicy tang they have. And the fruit is not too big. Can use a whole one sliced on one piece of toast without leaving leftovers.
Its been a tough descision to make. Golden Jubilee deserve a special mention too though.
I bought some Brandywine seed in a packet at Home Depot a couple of years ago and planted them they were great so my question is seed in packets that say they are Brandywine are they Heirloom? Another question is there a secret to get heirloom seed to start? Someone sent me some heirloom seed last year and the germannation was awful. I may be posting this on the wrong fourm if so I am sorry.
Seed is "heirloom" because of the variety (when it was developed, and the history behind it... all heirloom varieties are "open pollinated" as opposed to being hybrids, but not all OP varieties are considered heirlooms, passed along for generations), not because of how the seed itself was raised. You can purchase seeds of heirloom varieties, or you can trade with somebody for seeds of non-heirloom OP (open-pollinated varieties). In either case, germination depends on things like how well the seed was saved and stored, how old the seed is, and on how you treated it.
This is a very cool thread. I love it! I'm in my second year of selling heirlooms at our Market and so far the faves with customers have been: Cherokee Purple, Amana Orange and Stupice. I'm trying several more this year that I have never grown and am very curious about the faves this year!
Please don't flog me with wet noodles, but I don't like fresh tomatoes, but I love growing them! My husband says of the different varieties we have tried, he loves Granny Cantrell best. Better than Brandywine or Black Krim or Cherokee Purple or Black from Tula. Now, a fried green tomato is a thing of beauty!
Gosh, I just stumbled into this thread and have been growing a few heirlooms for several years. I've got about fifteen varieties in now (would have more if space allowed). However, I am here to learn. Brandywines were very disappointing last year in regards to productivity down here with our recent years of drought. Yellow pears were ridiculously prolific, though not the rich tomato taste I seek. I'm looking forward to the continuation of this thread and all your great advice. Thanks.
I am a new member(long time lurker LOL) on the site, and fairly new to Heirloom/OP tomatoes. I have to say though, that so far, German Red Strawberry is my absolute favorite. It reminds me of the dense center meat of a good watermelon so rich and sweet and meaty...oh man I need a garden tomato already ...
But of course like many have said before, this opinion could totally change once this years crop starts doing it's thing. So I do reserve the right to change my answer every year from now til eternity LOL!!
Yellow oxheart is still the best tomato I have ever grown or tasted. Meaty and sweet, very mild in acid. Gonna hafta get some seeds, I couldn't get plants this year. Our local places had a really poor heirloom selection.
All of my plants pretty much stopped producing fruit when we had that first run of 11 days over 110*. I picked nearly all of the tomatoes, as Feldon suggested, when they started to blush and finished them on the kitchen counter.
The Large Pink Bulgarian's seemed to handle the heat rather well up until then and produced way beyond expectations! From two 6' tall plants I got about 75/80 fruits that weighed 8 to 16 oz. The flavor leans towards lightly sweet but balanced with acid. I had some problems with BER on some of the varieties but very little with this one.
The Kellogg's Breakfast struggled and was not very prolific. This one did not handle the heat as well and shut down shortly after the temps got into the 100's. I lost most of the fruit on this plant to BER but what I got had excellent flavor. I'm going to try it again and pay closer attention to the watering next time!
Can someone point me in the right direction for info regarding the difference between German Pink and German Queen. What do I have? A "pink" tomato, delicious and very low acid. A label that says German Queen. I'm eager to learn.
I've grown many different kinds of tomatoes. My grandson is 11 and he just can't wait til the black tomatoes get ripe. Every morning it's homeade biscuits and sliced tomato for him as long as they last. This year I grew black cherry tomatoes and they are so sweet. There might be prettier tomatoes...but not tastier as I am concerned.
Hemophobic...it is zapotec . I cut into it the other day and it was very meaty with just a few seeds. The taste was ok but a little drier and not as sweet as I would have liked. I sure was pretty and big though.
Black Krim for sure- you don't even have to salt this delicious tomato, it has the salty flavor built right in. It is perfect for fresh eating, early producer, and IMO easy to grow. I just harvested two 12-ounce beauties from a container grown plant and they were AWESOME!
Egads...I want to grow some heirlooms next year, but ya'll are making it nearly impossible to compose a manageable list...lol!
I finally, for the first time ever, had a Brandywine - WOW! I grew Mr. Stripey this year, but he has no stripes - they are waiting on the kitchen windowsill for the first taste this weekend.
So I don't have a fave heirloom yet - but next year, since I now have GARDEN ROOM, look out! I will finally get to plant some of the seeds that were so graciously shared by DGer's that I did not have room for before :)
Thanks for all of you experiences people sharing your info, it helps we tomato newbies a lot.
When I lived in England, Auntie Madge's. (Only available from the Heritage Seed Library.) However it's useless in the short growing season here in Finland as it's just too slow. I'm experimenting. Grew Sub Artic last year and didn't get a single fruit from it. Best performer was Tumbler (not a 'Heritage' variety). This year Tamina and Stupice (neither of them 'Heritage' either) look good.
'Stupice' has been a past favorite of mine... this year, the mouse ate my pair of Stupice seedlings, but I'll grow it next year!
'Jaune Flamme' is another one that starts producing early for me (usually around the same time as Stupice, maybe a day or two later). You might check it out. The trick with this one is to let the tomatoes get fully ripe -- deep gold-orange, and they'll usually have a bit of red blush in the center when you slice into them. Otherwise, you may not be very impressed with the flavor. Fully ripe, they're tangy & sweet and just wonderful.
This year I got almost all my plants from Laurel at heirloomtomato plants and have had superb luck.
Hard to pick a winner but:
Aunt Ruby's German Green
Blue Fruit are stand outs.
Should mention that I'm in Oklahoma, Earlier this year - in July - we had a stretch with the temps between 102 and 106 for about 8-10 days and not a drop of rain for maybe 3-4 weeks. TODAY, the high temp is to be 79 degrees and we've had 14 inches of rain in the last week !!
Ya know...based on requests from my friends (both old and NEW) there is a favorite and that would be Chocolate Stripes.
I haven't tried too many but do like brandywine- here in zone 4, from my own seed it goes into the garden in July and I will be picking next week, when all else is finished. (Tomatos) This works for me to extend the season. Same for Amish Paste. Both come well from last year's seed.
I vote Brandywine, too. I also grew some tomatoes that a friend called 'Chinese'--they resemble paste tomatoes (kind of tubular) but are orangey-red streaked with green, and on the dry side. Sound familiar to anybody?
I will only need about 5-6 seeds of each variety.
If anyone has any of these, I would love to trade for seeds I have, or postage.
I will put together a list of what I have. Dont have any veggie seeds, just stuff like butterfly weed, easter egg plant, texas tarragon (wonderful perennial flower) and a few others.
I am going to post this in the seed trading forum also.
Chirs it just so happened I looked in my freeze yesterday and found several packs of tomato seed. Black Krim was one and there are more than I will ever plant. In fact I started three seed yesterday in peat pot just to see if they would sprout. You can find Brandywine seed at your local wally-world . I have a lot of atkinson tomato seed. If you are interested let me know. I may start some seed in a week or so but will not set out any tomatoes until the ground gets worm .
Chris: Seedsaver has BK and CP. I wasn't looking for ML, but it may be on there. I know about BK and CP because I just ordered some today. The Brandywine and Rutgers you can get at Wally World or any garden center.
DG people are amazing! Thanks for all the offers.
I have gotten so many d-mails and offers of seeds that I will be complete for a wonderful growing season. I will have all I wanted and more than I expected.
Thank you everyone!
You are right it is a typo error but then it has been over fifty years sense I took typing. If I made you smile then my day has not been a waste. I can assure you it was not on purpose. Also I hope it is not my last mistake.
Well if it was my last one then you all would not have any1 to pick on. hehehe. Don't git me rong eye love it. Life is too shot to wury bout typo arrows. You may not have been dealt the life you want but while you are here you might as well learn to dance to the music you hear.
I grow 90% heirlooms & I think this one is, Chocolate Cherry. Cherokee purple, Stupice, Flamme, Limmony,etc. are all great. I make a living on the tomatoes I grow the soil is so great for it here, but chocolate cherry taste like a cross between the best black tomato & the best red wine & somehow ending up wih a better flavor and texture than either. Might just be our rare soil, but it put it number one out of several hundred varieties so far.
Well, beefsteak used to be my favorite, I have lots of seeds to try and we will have to all just wait to find out, after reading what was said about the chocoloate cherries, I'm disappointed I didn't plant those this year, there they are still in the packet. I have 43 planted and here are the three kinds I have planted, Whopper, Super Bush and Med Red. Sometime in April, Burpees will be sending me these tomato plants: 9 in all: Big Boy, Big Mama, 4th of July, Brandy Boy, Burpee's Burger, Health Kick, Sweet Tangerine, Sweet Baby Girl, and Sun Gold. Next year, I'll plant the left over tomato seeds and chocolate cherry will be one of the first I plant.
I saw seeds for Chocolate Cherry in a catalog, but they were oddly $$... if anybody has a few seeds to spare, I'd love to do a trade! I've been enjoying 'Black Cherry', but it's not very productive for me. (Dmail me, please, so we don't get this thread off track... thanks!)
I am growing Brown Cherry and Brown Plum (also a cherry) at the moment. They might be NZ varities becuase I havent seen them anywhere but here. They are looking oddly large and blocky for a cherry tomato (almost golf ball size) but are just devine! Would also love to trade a few seeds of chocolate cherry if anyone has any to spare.
This is what they look like. Has anyone heard of them?
My new favourite is Purple Russian. Directly above and to the right of the circled BC.
I didn't try to over winter any tomatoes this year. But I have my seedlings going and will plant them out in a couple more weeks. I have see over wintered plants around here lately though that are loaded right now.
Linda, I use a Windows Vista opperating system (unfortunately!) so thats what Im familiar with.
Open your picture with Paint. You do this from within your picture gallery. I use Windows Photo Gallery, there is a tab on the far right at the top of the window while your picture is open, its called "Open" you cant miss it. Once your picture is open in Paint (or which ever graphic imaging software your computer uses) you can draw on, magnify, erase etc any part of your picture. It has become your "canvas" then when you are finished make sure you save your new version under a different name through "File" "Save as" or your original picture may be changed.
I hope I managed to help you. Feel free to Dmail me if you have any more questions.
My clever DH had a collection of old vacuum cleaner hoses, the hard plastic kind. These came in handy as fill tube "extensions," especially when my mustard greens grew completely over the original short fill tube!
OMG is that a baby Border Collie. My absolute favorite dog? I have a 13 year old Border.
About tomatoes----Critter-What does your Potato Top tomato look like? I grow a potato leaf tomato that I have no idea what the name is. I sent away to Penn. for it a number of years ago and have saved seeds ever since. Hence, I call it Pennsylvania Potato leaf. It is huge---both plant and fruit. It is accordion pleated and dark pink---small seeded and absolutely delicious. It bears heavily where summers are hot---well, hotter that here on the Ore. coast, but I get enough at the end of the summer to make me very happy. My sister, who also grows it, and where it is much hotter, gets many more than I do and earlier, as well.
This tomato is my all time favorite, so if you have a name for it I would be so happy. I don't know if it is OP or heirloom. Sure wish I had a picture of this beauty.
Im growing 4 of your Pennysylvannia Potato Leaf at the moment Beebonnet, from the trade we did last year. I havent had a fruit yet as it was in my late sowing, but the plants are doing well. I would also love to know what they are called.
Yes, I did get it from a newspaper guy, but I couldn't remember his name. There was a nice story about how Doug Oster acquired the seed, but i will let Critter tell you about that. Unless she doesn't, but i think she will.
And, now I have a name. Potato Top. Very fitting.
Lena--So glad they are doing well. Shake the blossoms a little for me. Next month i will be starting my tomatoes.
I have always thought that the Russian varieties were bred for fruiting in cooler temperatures. I have shied away from growing them for that reason, so I would be interested in what others have to say as well.
I actually only got three tomatoes from my Lucky Cross, but they got a very late start. I'm hoping I'll find seeds again before next season. But, I have many to try from this crop, which I'm sure will keep me happy. One thing I especially like about the Bi-colors (besides the taste) is the way they look in a jar. SO pretty that they're hard to use :).
plutodrive - my understanding of the Russian Heirlooms is that they were bred to grow in short seasons (someone please correct me if I am wrong) and that they do tolerate colder temps better than most tomatoes do because, well, that part of the world is somewhat cold. The only Russian I ended up growing this year (ran out of room) is Moskvich (indeterminate/60 days) and that baby is chock full of fruit. Started it inside and set out in mid February. They grow well here in Phoenix where it is definitely not cool. I have had the best luck in the desert with varieties with short DTM, which includes most of the Russian varieties. The Beefsteaks and Brandywines are much harder to grow here as the temps get too hot too early and the plants do not set fruit.
We're actually supposed to hit 100 for the first time today. Aaaggggghhhh!!
P.S. I also like Rutgers very much, but have more success with them in containers here.
I grew Lucky Cross in the greenhouse so not an example of 'cold climate'. I didn't get a large harvest but they were very flavourful. Sorry I didn't count but under a dozen for sure so I won't grow it again because of the poor yield.
"What kind of yield did Richard get from his Lucky Cross vines?"
He didnt have an exact count. Richard said in his email: "As for Lucky Cross, it did very well, fantastic colour, plenty of good sized fruit, also its flavour was very very nice, I like it and would grow again.Odd how it didn't grow for you isn't it, I wonder if it doesn't like humidity??"
Its true, Palmerston North has a much higher rainfall than Christchurch (especially this past summer!).
Goldie! Hands down. Low acid, full flavor, radiant yellow, great density, sweet and slice-able. We've been saving seed from this beauty for years. (Makes a good sauce as well and stays yellow if you use orange banana paste tomatoes.)
This is a tough question to answer! Fun, though. Brandywine (pinkish-purple, with potato leaf) is my favorite heirloom for taste BUT it produces so poorly in Florida heat that I'd starve on Mars with it. I have one in a bucket out front with 1 lonely tomato on it. So I'd like to bring along Arkansas Traveler, although if this season's crop is any indication I'd starve with it, too! Cherokee Purple produces beautifully here but it tastes like tomato wine --I don't really like the flavor.
I have 63 plants out and 1 more to find room for. Don't know how many different varieties. I seem to have misplaced my gardening notebook that I keep all the info and maps in. I will tear this place apart to find it. I have to know what I planted where so I can save seeds.
My favorite is at last I checked is Paul Roberson, but this year I am trying 5 new ones, so maybe it will change? New ones for me are Cosmonaut Volka, First Pick, Chapman, Nyagous, Sioux. What do you think?
I grew First Pick. It makes beautiful round medium sized maters. No disease troubles. I only had one plant but was impressed with it. It wasn't real early but I got it out later than most of the others so I can't give it a fair assessment. I saved seeds and will give it more attention next year. It ripened them all in a short period in true determinate style.
Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions - I have many more now I want to try next year. One of my favorites that we have been growing for years is Scotia - born and raised in Nova Scotia it is well suited to the cool, damp growing conditions of the Maritimes. It is the perfect tomato to pick green for relish or chow chow or can be left on the vine to ripen. Multi purpose tomato.
This is a great thread! Such terrific information! Thanks, everyone. Last fall I started writing down all the "favorites" listed here, then I ordered seed over the winter with a heavy hand, and that, my dears, is why I find myself with 24 heirloom/OP 'maters in my garden, and six more out in EBs!
After all, there ARE two of us in the family LOL
Now if the Cape Cod weather would only co-operate, they might ripen someday ;-) We're in the midst of a Nor-easter right now!
Photo taken before the rain started:
Be careful CapeCod, that's exactly how I found myself spending the last month in the kitchen making sauce. I planted way more than I needed due to curiosity and thought I wouldn't have any trouble giving away any surplus. It seems that everyone wants a few red round ones, or a few romas, not purple, not yellow, not pink. Just a few. Sauce only comes in a jar from the store now days, you know. I've learned that Romas and Pastes are two different things. My next door neighbor wants only the Principe Borgheses or the tiny little cherries. No beautiful big works of art like a beefsteak.
I've never considered myself to be superstitious but I feel compelled not to let any go to waste lest I be punished in some way. At this point, I think I might be able to curb my curiosity at least a little bit when I plant next year but threads like this do make it hard.
CapeCod---Your tomato garden is gorgeous. They are very tall for so early. We have had lots of foggy days and rain on and off the whole month of June. Mine are growing well in spite of the weather, but they are not as tall as yours. Our ripening period is always Sept. and Oct. seems like, no matter what the weather does. The main thing we watch out for here is late blight which usually happens after a cold hard Aug/Sept rain. Then, of course, our fire season calms down. So you win some and lose some.
Thanks for the kind words, people, on my 'mater patch. (There are a few other things: cukes, beans, eggplants, squash, but mostly my 30 beauties.) Did I mention that they are all different heirlooms? I gave many seedlings away to the local library's book sale or I'd be in real trouble. Twiggybud, like you, it was curiosity that led to this pass! And the "enablers" ;-) on this thread! LOL!
You mean, people don't WANT my large baskets of big gorgeous purple, or green- or red- striped, or pink beauties? What are they, crazy??
Anyway, what I did with my excess harvest last year was slow-roast them in the oven, and then freeze the flattened tomatoes in Zip-locks. I used 'em all fall, winter, and spring in soups, stews, sauces, and veggie dishes. If people want the recipe, I will gladly post it.
My notes: This recipe is a combination of several different ones I found on the Internet. It's really very easy but the instructions are detailed!! The recipe is infinitely expandable but these are the general proportions. I leave the skins on and if I wish to remove them, they slip off easily after they've thawed. The only tomatoes that don't take well to this treatment are smaller cherry tomatoes--not enough pulp to roast down.
SLOW ROASTED TOMATOES
4 pounds fresh vine-ripened tomatoes 6 garlic cloves, minced; 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Wash tomatoes and cut out the stem core. Slice the tomatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds, leaving as much pulp as possible.
Place tomatoes, cut sides up, on prepared baking pan. They can be placed closely together since they shrink considerably during baking.
Combine garlic and olive oil; spoon over tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Bake 6 to 8 hours or until tomatoes are reduced in size but will retain their shape. The time the tomatoes take to cook will vary because their size and moisture content vary. By the end, they are almost caramelized and somewhat crispy on the edges. Remove from oven and let cool.
Roasted tomatoes will keep in an airtight container, chilled 2 weeks or up to 8 months in the freezer. Bring to room temperature before using. After eating the tomatoes, you can use the olive oil for salad dressing or sautéing.
(1) Sprinkle with sugar, fresh thyme, and salt. Cook according to recipe above.
(2) Combine minced fresh herbs of your choice (such as basil, oregano, rosemary, and/or thyme); sprinkle over tomatoes. Cook according to recipe above.
I love to do Roma tomatoes slow roasted like that with the different herbs. Here is a high heat version that makes more of a tomato sauce when finished. Critterologist (Jill) wrote an article a while back.
If I was going to Mars, my absolutely most dead reliable variety up here in the mountain foothills has been Heinz. We don't get many over 50* nights, and it's dry and windblown (much like Mars, I think) and the Heinz never fails to give me loads and loads of tomatoes. There are other that taste better, but none that produce as well regardless of conditions, so I always get my years supply of juice, sauce, and canned tomatoes.
I had a sad tomato tradgedy this season. My plants did great and had tons of fruit. Then the rains set in and nearly all of them rotted. It was so sad. I did get seeds from several varieties but not all. The plants I had in pots are still doing well. I moved them with me to my new house. I am enjoying white and chocolate cherry tomatoes and Matt's Wild Cherries.
Jay---I've grown Heinz before and really like them too. Do you grow Heinz Improved or the older one that's just called Heinz? They are a really nice all around tomato, aren't they. A tiny bit late here, but then what isn't? We have a few over 50 degree nights here and then it's really humid.
I get the seed from Territorial... because we don't have many warm nights here either (though not much in the way of humidity), and I figure if it ripens there, it'll ripen here. I really appreciate their cool climate testing. We've had good success with many of the varieties they recommend, though not all appeal to our tastes.
We've grown the Glacier two years in a row, and love the flavor, but it doesn't produce heavily and I'm thinking of switching to an early cherry.
Favorites change like the direction of the wind. And each new growing season brings yet another king of the hill. In this case, "Knights of the Round Table". This year it's Cowlick's, Toedebusch Pink, Hege German Pink, Ashleigh, Indiana Red, Akers West Virginia PL and Black from Tula PL. Ami
My gosh, could a thread get any longer? Right now my favorite heirloom is Brandywine - but my goal (okay, ONE of my goals) for next year is to grow at least 2 more heirlooms and save the seed, so I'll be carefully going through this thread for ideas - thanks!
Tastewise it is a draw between Black Krim, Mortgage Lifter and Brandywine. Of those, only Black Krim is remotely productive.
I do have to give props to old OP commercial varieities like Roma VF, Abe Lincoln and Marglobe. They are much tastier than supermarket and most hybrids IMHO and are very productive. Last year my Roma VF out performed almost every other tomato in the garden. It kept on setting fruit even in the middle of July and August. Flavor was pretty nice, too.
The newly dehybridized European varities like Dona and Carmello or also very good.
Originally, I started to grow heirloom tomatoes because I wanted to prefer our genetic heritage. Now, it is because I like them much more than hybrids. Despite all the hoopla, there is really no difference in terms of disease/pest resistance and production between hybrids and most OP (not nessecarily heirloom) varieties IME.
I couldn't resist extending this thread when I found it! My favorite flavor wise is Kellogg's Breakfast, but German Red Strawberry is a close second. Since neither handles or stores very well, I have to eat them all myself. I have plenty of other varieties that can be given away. : )
Opps----I think the name of my yellow cherry is Galena, not Elena. I have sown quite a few of these tomatoes that are now ready to plant but our weather has been rainy for days now, except yesterday, but the tomato bed isn't ready. Also, new this year are Abe Lincoln and Golden Egg. Can't wait to try these. All my plants are looking great and the larger ones really need to go out now. Darned weather!!
Oh, Goody about Abe Linclon. Can't wait. They are planted now. I have 2 Mary's Favorite that I received from Potegere' (sp?). That is what he call it because he got them from Mary in Seattle, which was her favorite, but she couldn't remember the real name. It grows well in coastal West Coast weather. One Abe next to Mary's favorite. That seemed like a good idea. One Elena cherry, of course, and one Early Girl, one Amish paste, one Golden Egg, and one Black Prince. Soon I will add Earlianna and one Break of Day. Whew----With that said, I am ready for summer. However, it isn't ready to begin as yet. Sun today but cool breeze. Nice in the GH though. I planted squash and basil seeds in there. I plan to put up lots of tomatos this year because I got kind of low. I still like them canned best and I like a variety in the jar for best taste.
2009 it was Pale Perfect Purple
2010 it was Reif Red Heart
I wish I had some roasted tomatoes with oil and garlic in my freezer to munch on right now. Sorry to bring up this old thread, but I don't remember reading it. I still have one seed catalog to order from and I had better not send my order until I have read all of this thread.
Last year, on one of my first forays into gardening - and wanting to try heirlooms - I grew Brandywine. I can only say that the flavor was to die for! Wow! What a difference from the store bought tomatoes! Made the best tomato sandwiches I ever had! I bought the seeds for more Brandywines. Maybe next year I'll venture into other types, but for now, I'm happy as a clam!
Will if I had to choose one heirloom tomato, it would have to be the Pink Brandywine. My current plans are to grow over 20 different heirloom tomato plants this season. Can't wait to start the taste testing!
I love Paul Robson for several reasons. 1) After he was basically exiled from the U.S. he went to England where he met my Grandfather and they became good friends so there's sort of a sentimental attachment. 2) The flavour is wonderful, rich, sweet, deep, dark, smokey and juicey like real good homemade barbecue sauce.
Still love this thread! I've read through it several times, but could never narrow my favorite down to one single variety. My top favorites would have to be Cherokee Purple, Mortgage Lifter, Kellogg's Breakfast, Aunt Ruby's German Green, and Viva Italia. Of those, Viva Italia, a paste-type, is definitely the most productive. Those little plants are so loaded with tomatoes, I can't believe it! Great for canning, sauces, and salsas. The other four I love for their distinctive flavors.
The two I most want to try in the future, but haven't yet, are the Potato Top the Critterologist wrote about (I've always been a sucker for the plants you write about, Jill! You make them all sound so appealing!), and Paul Robeson.
Cathy---Do your deer wait until the tomatoes show color before they eat them or do they eat the plant green ones and all? I was telling someone today how the ones around here seem to wait until the tomatoes begin to ripen before they attack. Sometimes i just Hate deer.
Both. Right now only the small tomatoes are ripening, and they went after all the tomatoes on the stem, ripe and green. In past years we've had beautiful tomatoes that were just about perfect and we left them for one more day for the color to deepen to find them gone. Took a while to figure out it was deer and not a passerby.
It is clear that there must also be squirrels that help themselves to our produce, but luckily they reach up too high Peter rabbit also lives in our yard from time to time, but we've done our best to deter him.
Last year the deer got all my tomatoes just as they reached the height that they would start setting fruit and chomped off the tops. This year I've kept them sprayed with liquid fence and kelp and haven't lost one. Well, that's to the deer atleast. I've lost two so far to some weird wilt. The plants are going gangbusters and then they start to wilt and within one to two weeks they're completely dead. I've started getting nice ripe tomatoes though and are they good! Can't tell you which ones as I lost all their tags as usual. I'm going to start crazy gluing them to the plants. This year they went and faded on me so I can't read the boogers.
Yehudith, I put my tomatoes on bamboo tripods with crosspieces tying them together at the top, and I hang plastic tags from the crosspieces. But I also do a quick and dirty diagram of the plants and their varieties so I know what I've planted where - as in six plants of Opalka, then nine plants of St. Pierre, etc. I lost the tags to my peppers in the mulch, though. I know what I planted where but not how many of each. I'll have to do better next time!
How good an idea is it to spray liquid fence on something you're going to eat? We just use those products for ornamentals.
They have a formulation that's good for veggies. They don't reccomend it though for things like lacinato kale or savoy cabbage. I ususally spray it around the whole yard and then the deer avoid us like the plague.
Black Krim absolutely! Has all the complexity of a fine wine. Does anyone have advice for how to deal with the diseases that heirloom tomatoes get? I've been growing them for years, and every year they start out looking beautiful and by mid season the plants look terrible. I still get tomatoes, but the plants look like crap in my otherwise fabulous vegetable garden. I'm thinking it's probably a fusarium or verticilium wilt. Any way to deal with that? Also does anyone have advise on how to deter tomato worms?
Tell me about the wilts! I've been dealing with my plants doing the wilting thing. I get wonderful tomatoes, but then they drop dead on me. Even the kelp spray doesn't help and its only some not all that get it.