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okiedawn1

July Tomato Report

15 years ago

On another thread, Sheri asked about this year's tomato varieties. So, here's the latest from our garden.

CONTAINER-GROWN TOMATOES: They all have overachieved this year, with the exception of Husky Gold Cherry which hasn't been as productive as Hushy Red Cherry. Part of this is that, after the new 9' tall fence succeeded in keeping the deer out of the garden, they came and ate the container-grown tomato plants. Since Husky Gold Cherry was on the end of the row and closest to the driveway, it was eaten the most.

The varieties that have grown well and produced tons of tomates are Grape, Husky Red Cherry, Husky Red, and Better Bush. Husky Gold Cherry will get a chance again next year, but even the one in the ground in the garden is not as productive as the adjacent Husky Red Cherry. My favorite cherry in containers is Grape. It produces like mad and tastes pretty good. I have dehydrated tons of these for winter, and we eat the ripe ones in salads daily.

THE BEST:

Based on the number of fruit per plant, their flavor, and the healthiness of the plant, these are our garden's top producers so far this year:

Black Cherry: Have outgrown their 9' tall cages and topgrowth is now "weeping" and growing back down towards the ground. Very healthy, very lush, loaded in yummy fruit. These plants have "fallen over" several times, even though very well-staked. Finally, we added an 8' tall U-post (fence post) and that has kept them upright.

True Black Brandywine: Very large, healthy, only minor foliar issues. Tomatoes have been huge, with most over a lb. and some significantly so. Great flavor. First year here, and definitely a keeper.

Nebraska Wedding: Our favorite orange. Started slow after freezing TWICE but now doing very well and producing new fruit in spite of the heat.

Orange Santa: Much healthier and more productive than last year. Two plants have produced hundreds of fruit about the size of a Porter tomato, but bright orange. Great in salads or salsa, or wonderful when quartered and dehydrated to make "sun-dried tomatoes".

Coyote: Large, healthy plants loaded with tiny ivory-yellow currant-sized tomatoes that are very tasty.

SunGold: The best golden-orange cherry ever, productive as always. A staple in our garden every year.

Snow White: Wonderful flavor and production, but some foliar issues.

Dr. Carolyn: Excellent as always. Another staple.

Earl's Faux: Very good production and good flavor after a slow start (weather-related).

Brandy Boy: Not as good as previous years--has had more foliar issues, but still outstanding.

Momotaro: Very healthy, very productive, very tasty. HUGE tomatoes in 16-24 oz. range.

Estler's Mortgage Lifter: Earlier than Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter and tastier too. I think I like it more, based on growing them side-by-side this year.

Valena Pink--Great early on, then struggled with EB, then recovered, and is still great at this point. Very large, very tasty pink tomatoes.

San Marzano Redorta--Still the best-flavored paste tomato.

Martino's Roma--Very, very productive paste tomato and very good.

Big Beef--Very productive, very good flavor.

Royal Hillbilly--Has struggled some with foliar disease, but very productive and very tasty.

Porterhouse--Huge fruit on pretty healthy plants that they deer ate repeatedly. Tomatoes are pretty tasty.

Lucky Cross--Huge plants, lush, healthy, lots of tasty fruit.

Neve's Azorean Red--Very large and lush, wonderful big tomatoes with good flavor.

Little Brandywine--Very healthy plants with large yields of good fruit.

Bucks County---Very healthy plants with large yields of good fruit.

Tess' Land Race Currant--The largest tomato plants I've ever grown. Currently 8' to 9' tall, 5' to 6' wide and has buried smaller plants under its rampant foliage. Has gazillions of small, red, tasty, currant-sized fruit. Forget about planting "Outhouse Hollyhocks" to hide a small building, just plant one of these tomato plants and the small building will disappear. You could plant a row of these in fertile soil along the side of a garage, and I think by the end of the summer, the garage would have disappeared underneath this monster plants.

TOMATOES THAT ARE HAVING AN "OFF" YEAR IN 2008:

These are tomatoes that normally do very well for us, but which, for one reason or another (maybe weather-related), are having an off year:

Black Krim: Froze back to ground, slow to recover, smaller and less productive than usual, very few fruit have set.

Cherokee Purple: Slow to grow, slow to produce, lots of foliar issues, and not a whole lot of fruitset.

Rosalita: Just not as productive as I'd like. May be its' last year here.

Indian Stripe: Slower and less productive than usual, though still better than Black Krim and Cherokee Purple.

Aunt Gertie's Gold: Never a heavy producer but an OK one. the taste really good, but there aren't very many of them.

Kellogg's Breakfast: Taste is very good, but production is not very high here, and worst this year than before.

Brandywine Sudduth--Never a real heavy producer, but usually does OK. Not many tomatoes on it so far this year.

Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter: Much less productive than usual.

Stump of the World: same as Radiator Charlie's.

Mortgage Lifter Red: Slower than usual to fruit and less fruit than usual.

Cherokee Green: Slower to fruit than usual; some are finally a good size and should ripen before the end of the month.

Aunt Ginny's Purple: Deer ate a lot of it, but it has rebounded nicely. No ripe fruit yet.

Pruden's Purple: Same as Aunt Ginny's.

Marianna's Peace: Same as Aunt Ginny's, but more foliar issues.

Ole Virginia: Same as Aunt Ginny's.

TOMATOES THAT HAVEN'T IMPRESSED ME YET, BUT STILL MIGHT:

Ramapo F-1: Seed arrived very late and was slow to sprout. Plants are very large, lush and healthy. They ARE blooming and setting fruit in spite of the heat. Waiting for first ripe one.

Supersonic: Were very slow to sprout and grow. Were among the last plants actually put into the ground. Were eaten by deer. Rebounded pretty quickly and are huge monsters now with lots of fruit. Just waiting for one to ripen!

Husky Red, Husky Red Cherry, Husky Pink, Husky Pink Cherry, and Husky Gold: All were squeezed into some "leftover" space late in May. Are growing fine, but not many ripe tomatoes yet.

Sunray: Slow to grow and slow to set fruit although planted at the same time as the rest of the Orange/Yellow Fruited Tomatoes. Still waiting for a ripe one.

Pineapple: same as Sunray.

Hawaiiaan Pineapple: same as Sunray.

TOMATOES THAT HAVE BEEN A WASTE OF SPACE THIS YEAR:

Tennessee Britches: Low fruit set, lots of disease issues.

Wapisipicon Peach: Died rapidly to one of the wilt diseases before it could ripen a single fruit.

Polish Dwarf--not impressive flavor. Slow to fruit, slow to ripen, nothing special.

Caspian Pink--low productivity. Probably last year I'll grow it.

Jerry German's Giant: produced a couple of large and pretty tasty tomatoes, but not enough to justify growing it again.

German Johnson: same as Jerry's German Giant. Valena Pink is significantly better than both of them.

4th of July: Produces heavily, but not very flavorful.

Hillbilly: Not nearly as good as Royal Hillbilly.

Granny Cantrell's German Red: not anything special.

IN A CATEGORY OF "HER" OWN: Burpee Big Mama is certainly the tallest paste tomato plant I've every grown, about 6' to 7' tall and loaded with tomatoes. Lots of blossom-end-rot, which I usually don't have much trouble with, but they are in relatively unimproved clay at the dry end of the garden. Fruit aren't anything special so far. I'll give it another chance in better soil in the fall.

So, there it is--a general roundup of many, but not all, of the plants we have in the ground.

For what it is worth, the tomato plants in general are larger and have significantly more fruit on them than they usually do by mid-July and have less disease issues. If it weren't for the darned stinkbugs, it'd be a great month and year. If these plants don't start declining soon, I have no idea where I'll put all the fall tomatoes currently growing in paper cups.

Dawn

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