Friday, April 30, 2010

Tomato Varieties

Market Miracle ripening last fall

This year I'm growing 14 different varieties of tomatoes. Many of them are paste or canning tomatoes. I'll start with the ones I've grown before then move on to the new varieties. All are open pollinated unless otherwise labeled.

Old varieties:

1) Chocolate Cherry 70 days ind - This tomato seemed to grow and taste just like Black Cherry. It produced very large 1" cherry tomatoes with a wonderful and unique taste. Grown from saved seed.

2) Emma Sungold F3
3) Gabrielle Sungold F3 - Both Emma and Gabrielle were grown from F2 Sungold seed. I figured that I would grow a few out this year from each plant. I got the seed all mixed up and right now have two Emma plants and one Gabrielle. I think there is another Gabrielle somewhere under someone else's label, but not sure.

4) Market Miracle 65 days det - This is a Russian tomato that produces the most beautiful flawless 6-8oz slicing tomatoes. They survived our bad summer of 2009 and produced well and early. They taste like a homegrown tomato should even when the rain is constant. Their flaw is that the tomatoes can fall off the vine prematurely (though they don't seem hurt by this). I'm guessing there are better tomatoes for the better tomato growing areas in the country, but for anyone with short cool wet summers they are fabulous. I can't wait for Granny to grow hers to see how they stack up in a good tomato growing area. Are they only good as a short season tomato? Grown from saved seed.

New Varieties:

5) Heinz 2653 68 days, det - A very early heavily yielding plum tomato. 2-3 oz fruits. Will produce even in cold environments. Good for canning. Fedco seed.

6) Opalka 82 days, ind - known for its taste. 3x5" very solid horn shaped fruit. Dry texture. Good for canning. Polish heirloom from the Opalka family. Seed from EG.

7)Peiping Chieh 75+ days ind - Produces 2-3" fruits. Good for slicing or canning. Seed from wintersown. Chinese heirloom.

8) Early Kus Ali 70+ days ind - Produces round 3" fruits. Good cropper. Good for slicing and canning. Seed from wintersown. Chinese variety.

9) Hong Yuen ind 75+ days ind - Produces 2" fruits in large clusters. Sweet. Good for slicing or sauce. Good cropper. Fruit are very uniform so good for canning whole. Seed from wintersown. Chinese variety.

10) Romeo Roma 75 days ind - Created by Tim Peters. Typical roma shape, but huge. 1-2lb fruits. Good for canning. Seed from wintersown.

11) Amish Paste 85 days ind - Large meaty heart shaped nippled fruit 6-8oz. Great flavor. Good for canning. An heirloom from the Amish farmers in Wisconsin in the 1870s. Needs space, fertility, and sun to produce well. Seed from wintersown.

12) Principe Borghese 75 days vigorous det - Often used for sundried tomatoes as it has few seeds and not a lot of liquid. Small but prolific plum shaped fruits. There are four strains with this name and who knows which one I've got. Seed from wintersown. Italian heirloom.

13) San Marzano 80 days ind - Produces 3" plum shaped fruits that are very dry. Productive. Good for canning. Seed from Silence. Italian variety.

14) Cherokee Purple 77 days shorter ind - 10-13oz fruit that is dusky in color, supposed to be one of the best eating tomatoes as the taste is fabulous. Seed from Dan.

So there you have it. I'm growing way too many canning tomatoes, but I wanted to do some trials this year to see what I wanted. Then again maybe it is just the right amount. I love that I have varieties from all over the world and that I can collect seed from any of them. So whatever I like I'll get to save from year to year. I'm hoping next year to have fewer varieties. I'll always try new ones, but having the tried and true is better.


  1. This what I love about tomatoes, so many varieties, and until you plant them, you really don't know how they'll turn out in your yard. We are growing Cherokee Purple again, but that's the only one in your list we're growing. For us this year, we're trying out some new (to us) beefsteak and oxheart varieties. I can't wait for the first fresh tomatoes of the season!

  2. Cool, those are some pretty strange varieties - for sure. I think Cherokee Purple should be the king of all tomatoes. It rocks!

  3. Hmmm, Cherokee Purple is a shorter indeterminate? Great, I planted it in my tomato fortress ;-)

    I'm going to strive to keep better notes on my 23 varieties this year. Last year I got them all mixed up, so my taste testing wasn't exactly perfect. I had to plant some of them again this year, because I "think" I liked them.

  4. Nice variety...sounds good...I get hungry just reading about tomatoes.

    There are so many different types of tomatoes and they all taste so different. Last year we had a family tomato tasting.

    It's fun to try something new every year!

    I have a great recipe for salsa that I made with the Amish Paste tomatoes. I will post later in the season.

  5. Gotta love the tomato varieties! We're doing 12 varieties this year. The only two we share in common though are the Amish Paste and Principe Borghese.

  6. I'm growing 18 tomatoes this year and 18 different vareties. It will be like a tomato rainbow :-) I'll look forward to your trials of all the paste tomatoes.

  7. What a great selection! I am growing the Market Miracle (seeds form you!) and the Cherokee Purple but from there our lists diverge from one another. Looking forward to hearing how these grow/taste for you.

  8. I’m wondering how you keep tomatoes from cross pollinating? I would like to grow more varieties, but I’m afraid that I would loose original seed variety.

  9. Curbstone Vally Farm, I can't wait either. The season is just too short.

    EG, I hope it rocks up here too. We get cooler summers than you do. Some tomatoes just don't preform here like they do in hotter areas. We need a tomato that can do well in the cool weather though that being said if all keeps going as it has we will be in for a scorcher this year. I can't believe how hot it has been on average this spring.

    Granny, who knows but Fedco seemed to think it had shorter vines than most ind. I'll let you know at the end of the season.

    Robin, This year I'll have to have a sauce tasting. What makes a good eating tomato is not necessarily what makes a good paste tomato and most of the ones above are the canning type. I hope to can a lot of salsa too.

    Rachel, I hope they both do well for us.

    Dan, lol you really like variety don't you? Most of mine are reds, but I do have one gold and two blacks. Since I'm trying so many canners I'd really rather have red. I didn't like all the weird colored sauce last year.

    kitsapFG, I'm really hoping to find a couple of good canners for this year.

    vrtlarica, Most modern varieties of tomatoes are structured so they can't cross pollinate (or at least very rarely cross). The anthers form a cone around the style. The anthers are fused together along the margins. The pollen is shed on the inside of those anthers. The style is totally withing this structure so outside pollen can't get in easily. The flowers need bees to pollinate, because the pollen isn't shed unless the blossom is vibrated. So bees play an important roll in pollination, but not by carrying pollen from plant to plant. Now the one caveat to all this is that some tomato flowers have some of the older genetics in them. In ancient times tomatoes were not self pollinating like this. The style was longer and stuck out from the cone. If you have a lot more of this wild tomato in your genetics, they can cross pollinate. To tell about your tomatoes, you have to look very closely at the flower. When the flower first blooms, does the style stick up past the anther cone? As the flower gets pollinated and ages it might do this anyway, so look at the younger flowers to see. Ashworth says there are three kinds of modernly grown plants that always have these protruding styles: current tomatoes, potato leafed tomatoes, and beefsteak tomatoes on flowers that form double blossoms (commonly seen in the earlier blossoms).

  10. Ooh, I'm growing Principe Borghese and San Marzano for the first time this year, too.

  11. I'm growing Amish Paste and Pricipe Borghese, too. Have you grown them before? What did you think? This is my first try with them, but I'm hoping they are good for drying/paste.

  12. Jody, we will have to compare notes.

    Jackie, I've never grown either of them before. I'll do a taste testing at the end of the summer and give everyone my thoughts on them. They are supposed to be good for drying and paste. Pricipe Borghese is usually only grown for dried tomatoes. I've never dried tomatoes before and don't know if I will this time or not, but I figure if they are good for drying they are probably good for canning and roasting.

  13. Thank for the reply Daphne! I dried about 8-10 quarts of tomatoes last year and, boy, am I glad I did. They can go in so many dishes. I bought an Excalibur dehydrator last year and it's already paid for itself!