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Heirloom Vegetables: Ack! Help me pair down my tomato list!

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Forum: Heirloom VegetablesReplies: 10, Views: 210
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Kemptville, CDN Zone, ON
(Zone 4a)

March 25, 2008
4:25 PM

Post #4707861

So, I’m making my final seed purchases and I’ve left my tomato selection to the last minute! I have a list of possible tomato purchases and need to pair it down to a more manageable size. Here are my criteria:

• good-tasting
• high yields
• variety of early, mid and late season crop
• variety of cherry, small, medium and large fruit
• variety of colour
• indeterminate due to space restraints but will consider determinate.

I want to use these tomatoes for snacking, saucing and sandwiches. Here’s my list so far:

Early Determinate
Isis Candy (cherry, bi-colour)
Marizol Magic (cherry, bi-colour)
Moira (medium, red)
Black Zebra (small, black)
Principe Bourghese (small, red)
Stupice (small, red)

Already have: Canabec Rose (medium, pink)

Early Indeterminate
Pink Ping Pong (cherry, pink)
Japanese Trifele Black (medium, black)
Black Pear (small, black)
Green Zebra (small, green)

Already have: Black Plum (small, black), Blondkopfchen (cherry, yellow) Cherokee Purple (purple, large), Earliest and Best (red, medium) Gardener's Delight (cherry, red)

Mid Indeterminate
Believe It Or Not (large, red)
Black from Tula (medium, black)
Bushwhopper (medium, red)
Green Velvet (medium, green)
Opalka (medium, red)
Earl of Edgecombe (medium, orange)
Purple Calabash (medium, purple)

Already have: Eva Purple Ball (medium, purple) Bonny Best (medium, red) Mirabelle Blanche (cherry, white), Rouge D'Irak (medium, red)

Late Indeterminate
Nebraska Wedding (medium, orange)

What do you guys suggest? Also, am I missing something amazing? BTW, I'm in Zone 5 near Ottawa, Canada.

Houston, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 25, 2008
8:37 PM

Post #4708775

I don't think Isis Candy is determinate, but I could be wrong.

edit: removed note about hybrids. oy!

This message was edited Mar 27, 2008 1:05 PM
Espanola, NM
(Zone 6b)

March 26, 2008
7:11 PM

Post #4712670

feldon is right Isis is a huge plant and not particularly early, but one of the best late in the season. Black cherry is indeterminate and Stupice is an ultra-early compact indeterminate.
I'd highly recommend those three along with Pink Ping Pong, Black From Tula and Earl of Edgecombe. The Harris varieties feldon mentions are good as well. You might look at Snow White, Paul Robeson, Cuostralee or something similar. There are a lot of great varieties around. Ask over on the tomatoes forum.
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

March 26, 2008
7:26 PM

Post #4712743

Pink Ping Pong is a favorite of mine. I planted out about half of my seedlings yesterday...always grow extras. Here it is larger than most cherry types and the ripe color is a deep rose.
Venice, CA
(Zone 10a)

March 27, 2008
1:34 AM

Post #4714229

Hey Anijunga; The one variety that you should drop from your list is Purple Calabash-overly seedy with a murky/sweet taste. Red Calabash is a far better choice.
Houston, TX
(Zone 9a)

April 1, 2008
2:10 PM

Post #4740025

I was not impressed by Purple Calabash that I tasted at a friend's house. Have you heard of Turk's Mut? Similar fruit shape, decent taste.

This message was edited Apr 2, 2008 8:45 AM

April 2, 2008
5:27 AM

Post #4744590

Gurnsey Pink Blush, Cherry, ind, 70-80 days
Van Wert Ohio, Red, ind, 4-8oz, 70-80 days
Guido, Red, ind, 1lb+, 70-80 days
Ruslan, Orange, ind, 8-12oz, 70-80 days
Clear Pink Early, det, 4-8oz, 60-70 days
Kemptville, CDN Zone, ON
(Zone 4a)

April 2, 2008
2:03 PM

Post #4745414

Thanks for all your suggestions everyone! Instead of ordering online (thus taking a longer time to get my seeds and sow them) I decided to go to a local organic seed place and bought:

• Old Flame
• Black Pear
• Black from Tula
• Opalka
• Green Zebra
• Prudens Purple
• Aunt Ruby’s German Green

As well, I've managed to trade for some Box Car Willie and White Wonder. I hope to get a couple of Japanese Trifele Black from a tomato growing friend.

Thanks again!
south central, PA
(Zone 6b)

April 3, 2008
2:45 PM

Post #4750585

I've grown Isis Candy - it's an orangey cherry tomatoe - taste is just so so. The main problem I had is that it's hard to tell when ripe, then it gets soft and rotten very quickly.

Stupice is a real early medium small red tomato which I like a lot. Not as great tasting as the late season tomatoes, but my first choice for an early one.

Purple calabash - I agree with the comments - and it's highly fluted shape and tendency to rot quickly makes it hard to get a taste! And the taste is just average. I had to laugh, Zebraman - "murky" is exactly what I was saying last year to describe it!

Opalka - is very dry, large and meaty - excellent for canning - although I have had weird seed problems - some plants produce smaller paste types.

I grew Pruden's Purple once and did not like the smokey taste - but that could have been due to the growing conditions which were not ideal - and some people like the smoke.

Aunt Ruby"s - one of my favorites - great big late tomatoes with great flavor. Since they stay green you have to test for ripeness by feel - they turn just a tad soft and get a pale pinky blush.
Houston, TX
(Zone 9a)

April 3, 2008
3:27 PM

Post #4750849

One suggestion about Opalka and all paste/plum/oxheart/whatever types is that when I first picked and bit into a Wes tomato, I was really unimpressed. It was dry and tasteless to me. Then I visited Suze and she brought out a Wes tomato which, to my eyes and touch felt rotten. The bottom "tip" of the tomato had started to get soft, which scared me at first. But when we cut it open and tasted it, it was fantastic. There was some juiciness and sweetness and a very strong tomato flavor.

So my lesson in all this is that oxheart tomatoes can take a bit of extra ripening!
south central, PA
(Zone 6b)

April 4, 2008
3:50 PM

Post #4756366

feldon - I, too, thought Opalka was too dry and tasteless for fresh eating - I'll try letting them get riper. Thanks for the tip!!

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