Saturday, July 3, 2010

My Tomatoes

Granny was showing you hers earlier this week, so I figured I'd show you mine too. I like to keep records of how well the plants are doing each year if I'm trialing any. This year I'm trialing lots of new tomatoes. I'll break them up into sets of three since it seems most appropriate and it is easy to take photos of a group of three tomatoes.

The first set are my cherry tomatoes. From left to right: Chocolate Cherry,GabrielleAnn (Sungold F3), and EmmaAnn (Sungold F3). The outer two are doing quite well and are very vigorous. They have hit the top of their cages. I'm thinking I need the 18" extenders for them. Any taller than that I won't be able to pick, but 6' would be nice. Maybe I'll break down and buy them.

Fruit from EmmaAnn

Gabrielle is only 3 1/2' tall and has not set any fruit yet. For a Sungold descendant this is weird. She has also been sick. I've cut off numerous unhealthy leaves from the bottom of the plant. I'm wondering if I should cut my losses and just pull her and let the other two grow into her space as they already have started to. It may look like she is tall as the others, but those are their branches in her cage.

Black Cherry is 4 1/2' and has set one cluster of fruit. It doesn't have a ton of flowers, but it has some. EmmaAnn should be the clear winner in productivity. She was the first to set a cluster of flowers in the group (second out of all the tomatoes) and she already has 7 sprays that have already set fruit.

The next set of tomatoes has from left to right: Heinz 2653, Cherokee Purple, and San Marzano.

Many of the tomatoes I'm growing are canning types or paste tomatoes. Heinz, above, is an early paste type. It is one of the few determinates in the garden and the short at just 2 1/2" tall. Each of its sprays of flowers only has about 3-6 blossoms (you see three in the above photo), but they cover the plant. About six have set already and many more to come.

Cherokee Purple is 3'2" tall. In this set it is the one that is not a paste tomato. Like Heinz it has small sprays of flowers, but there aren't all that many. Two have set and it seems that just one tomato in each spray survived. Since the tomatoes get huge I'm not too surprised by this.

The last in the group is San Marzano at 3' tall. It has set one spray so far. I'm thinking this may not be the most productive of the paste tomatoes.

The next set are all three paste tomatoes: Opalka, Amish Paste, and Romeo. Opalka at 2 1/2' is pretty short and is just starting to set its first spray now. Amish Paste, at 3 1/2', is also just starting to set its first spray. It is very strange. Most tomatoes have blooms on the lower part of the plant that set first. This one has no lower blooms at all. The blooms are all at the top of the plant right now at about 2 1/2 to 3' in height.

Romeo, at 3', is just different. Though it is 3' tall, it is not very thick like the others. It has side shoots that are big like the others, but they really want to grow along the ground and not up. I have to really force them to get them to grow upright. The foliage is thin. It set one cluster of fruit (above). Right now the fruit is about 1 1/2" long, but they are supposed to get just huge. We will see.

The next group of tomatoes are my Chinese heirlooms, Early Kus Ali (can anyone translate?), Hong Yuen (Red Pill in English), and Peiping Chieh (Beijing Tomato in English). All of these are supposed to make beautifully uniform 2-3" fruit with Kus Ali have the largest and Hong Yuen having the smallest. They are all said to make great canning tomatoes because of their uniformity. They are also supposed to be very productive and good eating tomatoes too. I like the idea of tomatoes that are good for more than one thing, but we will see. Sometimes that means they aren't as good for any one thing. They all seem to be vigorous growers. The tallest is on the left at 4 1/2' going down to Early Kus Ali which is 3'10".

Early Kus Ali

The first two each have four clusters set or setting and the last only has one. So far so good.

The last group is a group of two. They are in the higher wall section. Both are vigorous determinates. On the right is my beloved Market Miracle. It has set five clusters already. I know from growing it before that it sets about 3-4 tomatoes in each cluster. The tomatoes will get to be about 8oz each and are good slicing tomatoes.

Principe Borghese is on the left and has huge sprays of fruit. It is known as the tomato to grow if you are making sun dried tomatoes. I don't know if this is the way I'll eat them or not. I might try making sauce from them. They start very dry and meaty so we will see. Their sprays are long and prolific. The plant is just covered in them. Some of the sprays branch out into two like the above photos shows. Already seven clusters have set fruit (maybe more it is hard to count). They were the first of all the tomatoes to set. I'm thinking the fruit will be small as it reminds me more of a cherry tomato by its flowers than a big tomato. This tomato has the same disease that GabrielleAnn has. It doesn't seem quite as affected however. I've cut off any diseased leaves and I hope that will keep it growing well.

I find the mix of plants I'm growing is quite varied. I have 3 Chinese heirlooms, a Polish heirloom, a Siberian heirloom, a Wisconsin Amish heirloom, a native American heirloom, 2 Italian heirlooms, a modern commercial OP tomato developed by Heinz, a modern paste developed by Tim Peters, two cherries F3 cherries that I'm growing out from modern hybrid seed, and I'm not sure where Chocolate Cherry comes from. Anyone know? The only thing I'm not growing this year are hybrids. I find I like to save seed to much to grow them. But if Emma Doesn't produce, I'll have to switch back to Sungold. I love my Sungolds.


  1. Wow Daphne! I enjoyed reading about all your tomato plants!

    I so wanted to grow Amish Paste this year... I got the seeds but started them WAY to late... next year... when I'm finished working on the house... I'll be able to really concentrate on my garden!

    You've inspired me to try some asian greens next year too!

    Our co-op (Bountiful Baskets) had Bok Choy recently. It was wonderful! I'd love to grow some next year!

    Happy 4th!!! And... Happy gardening!!!

  2. You've got some really interesting varieties! I'm interested to see how your San Marzano does, that is the only one that you have out there that I have as well. It is also the only plant that I have (so far) that has blossom end rot, and so I'm having to remove most of the few fruit it has set as it is!

    I really like the picture of the spray of blossoms from your Principe Borghese plant! I like that it almost looks like a "Y" of fruit!

  3. Daphne - your plants look absolutely fantastic! The foliage is so healthy looking, and you've certainly got alot of fruitset already!

  4. Great introduction to the tomato varieties you are growing. I have lots of flowering going on in the main garden but not much fruit set and I know it is because of the cold weather we have been experiencing. They say it will warm up on July 5th so I am hoping the plants get a move on and start setting fruit soon.

    Enjoyed the tour of your tomato patch!

  5. Love reading the different types of tomato you are growing in the garden. Nice fruits appearing! ~cheers, Bangchik

  6. Wow! So many neat varieties! The plants all look so happy and healthy, too.

  7. Your tomatoes are looking good. You've got an interesting assortment. It's always nice to see what others are growing.

    This is our 3rd year for Principe Borghese, and we got a lot of them last year. We dry most of them, but they are certainly meaty (if small) and could be used for sauces. I don't think they have a lot of flavor fresh, but that's me.

    My Opalka and Amish Paste are lagging in setting fruit, but the vines are healthy and they are flowering now. They too seem to have no fruit lower on the vines. It will be interesting to see what the total yield is on these.

  8. Your plants look really good. Mine are rather spindly looking from pruning all the suckers out. Seems my only opinion for fitting 16 plants in a spot for 12.... :-)

    I like the fence too. The half round frame looks good in the vegetable garden.

  9. I love growing tomatoes, Basically, they are easy to grow and maintain. Yours look very healthy.

  10. Those are some healthy looking tomatoes ! Great variety too. I started mine late this year. No fruit yet (last time I checked) but all are in bloom. I hardened them off early and they're short and stocky and look much healthier than last year's. I'm hoping for a good (albeit late) crop.

  11. Toni, thanks, I haven't a clue as to what Amish Paste will be like, but enough people list it as their favorite paste that I had to try it.

    Megan, So far I haven't noticed any blossom end rot. I may be fairly free (not totally, but fairly) because I have such a high pH this year. It is too high for good iron absorption but it is great for calcium.

    EG, I just hope it keeps going like this. I still remember last year.

    kitsapFG, I hope you got your good weather today. I'm finally back from vacation and it must be in the nineties outside right now. Ick. But the tomatoes are eating it up. Usually when we get into the nineties it doesn't get very far in so our fruit still sets fine.

    Bangchik, thanks

    Ribit, thanks

    villager, I'm really interested to see how each paste tomato does with yield vs taste. The problem is I want to taste test their sauces, not their fresh eating taste, so it will be harder.

    Dan, I just can't bear to do it. I really ought to place the plants a half foot farther apart (maybe a foot), but I too want the variety.

    Vegetable garden, thanks

    miss m, as longs as the crop comes in I don't mind a bit late. Someday though I want to do an early plant or too so I can get some good eating early.

  12. Too bad about the Sungold F3s. My Sungold F3s wouldn't even germinate...