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okiedawn1

Tomato Grow List for 2017

Here's my Grow List for 2017. So far. As always, I reserve the right to add another 5 or 10 varieties later, mostly due to my inability to know when enough is enough.

And, yes, after I typed the below list, combining various lists from scraps of paper into one alphabetized list, I did notice that if only I could come up varieties starting with the letters Q, X and Y, then I'd have the whole alphabet covered. How hard could that be? Well, Y would be easy, but I'd have to search for Q and X tomatoes (there are some, but I don't necessarily know that any of them would appeal to me).

This Grow List is different from my typical Tomato Grow List because I didn't try to anticipate if we'd be hot or cold, wet or dry, burning up or floating away in 2017. I just decided to choose what I wanted to grow purely for the flavor and joy (or anticipated flavor and anticipated joy) of growing them. I did work really hard to include more red tomatoes because my flavor preferences always run towards pinks, purples and blacks.

Aunt Ginny's Purple

Aussie

Azoychka

Beefmaster

Big Beef

Big Daddy

Black Cherry

Black From Tula

Black Krim

Black Sea Man

*BrandyFred Dwarf

Brandywine--Sudduth

Caspian Pink

Church

Crimson Cushion

Delicious

Dr. Wyche's Yellow

*Dwarf Sweet Sue

Early Doll

Ferris Wheel

*Fred's Tie Dye

German Giant

German Johnson

German Queen

Greek Rose

*Halladay's Mortgage Lifter

Heidi

Indian Stripe

Italian Tree

Jumbo Jim Orange

Kellogg's Breakfast

Lucky Cross

*Maralinga Dwarf

*Merrill Schulz Beefsteak

Nebraska Wedding

Orange Minsk

Paul Robeson

Pruden's Purple

Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter

Red Brandywine

*Santiago

Sioux

Soldacki

Sophie's Choice

Speckled Roman

*Summertime Gold

Sungold

Supersonic

Tennessee Britches

Traveler 76

True Black Brandywine

*Uralskiy Ranniy

Valena Pink

Vorlon

Wood's Famous Brimmer

Zogola


The asterisk indicates tomato varieties that are new to my garden this year.

That's my list! Have fun looking up and reading about some of the more obscure ones that you perhaps might not have heard of before now.

I've shown y'all my list. Now, show me yours.

Comments (196)

  • Turbo Cat (7a)
    7 years ago

    Dawn, John Jeavon's book, "How to Grow More Vegetables" (the 8th edition) is one of those I ordered last summer, based upon your recommendation, and I'm definitely going to follow as much as I can. I also have "Small Space, Big Harvest" by Duane Newcomb, and "The Sustainable Vegetable Garden" by John Jeavons and Carol Clark. Those are my night-time reading materials right now. I understand your shading dilemma, and the need to consider the front yard. That happens to be my problem, as well. I have to squish my garden between fences, a shed, and trees, underground utilities, and there is no other place to go in the back. I am literally hitting tree roots when I till, and can't move any more toward the west. I have an old concrete slab in one of the corners (NE), that was at one time, apparently, where a dog kennel once sat. I thought about putting a few raised beds on top of the slab, because that is the only place to add a spot. I live in town, so the front yard is probably unrealistic for me. Not just for possible covenant reasons, but because getting water to it would be quite a chore for me.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    I'd want to put raised beds atop the concrete slab too. There'd be no roots coming up from the bottom of the bed! That's a huge plus.

    It is hard to find good spots for gardening here, even though we have a little over 14 acres because most of it is woodland, and what isn't woodland mostly slopes sharply since we built the house and other structures on what little flat land we had.

    The back yard includes the detached garage, patio, tornado shelter, trees and fenced dog yard so it isn't a good spot for veggies, but it does have an outdoor water spigot.

    The front yard is shady, and then the front garden sits between the front yard and the road....because we planned ahead and built the house 300' from the road, leaving me ample space in front for a garden so we could tap into our water line anywhere along that 300' of space. Thus, the easiest garden expansion is in the space between the front yard and the road.

    The back garden is way back behind the detached, barn-style garage, so probably 120' from the backyard water spigot, making it a challenge to irrigate the back garden. And, the back garden has voles. I'll never be able to get rid of them because no matter how many you kill, more come from our woodland, the neighbor's woodland, etc.

    The ultimate solution would be to stop wanting a bigger garden and to be happy with what I have, but that's not likely due to the encroaching shade. We did cut down small elms that were encroaching on the back garden. However the trees encroaching on the front garden are 60-80' tall and we aren't going to cut them down. Since they are on the south edge of the woodland with the garden south of them, the only way we could drop them if we choose to cut the down would be to drop them right onto the garden. Even then, it wouldn't solve the shade problem because the next closest trees north of them just would become the problem...and there's acres and acres of them.

    This piece of land was ideal for us---woodland for Tim because he grew up in a heavily forested area and wanted for us to have a property with lots of big trees. It was ideal for me because it had open areas for gardening. It is just that the woodland over many years continues to encroach on the open areas, and that's not going to change. Every time we have a Tornado Warning I hope that a nice little (not BIG!) twister will come by us, miss the house, and take out the acre of trees nearest my garden. Of course, that's never going to happen, but it sure would be nice. I even have considered hiring a guy with a backhoe to take out all the trees within 50 or 75' of our garden to its north, but I hate to knock down big, grand trees. It takes so long for a tree to reach that size and I do love trees even if I don't love the shade encroaching on the woodland.

    My ultimate solution might be to eventually switch over to growing tomatoes in Earthboxes or something that I could line up in a sunny spot and then move as shade continued moving in on the Earthboxes. It would be easier to move Earthboxes than to build new fences, new raised beds, amend newly broken soil, etc.

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  • Rebecca (7a)
    7 years ago

    Has anyone grown Mark Twain tomatoes? I forgot I ordered them.


  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    I haven't grown it but folks who have often compare it to Rutgers so if you've grown Rutgers that might give you some basis for comparison.

  • Rebecca (7a)
    7 years ago

    I'm doing Rutgers this year, so I may plant a couple of each and compare.


    Hello, I'm Rebecca, and I have a seed addiction.

  • Turbo Cat (7a)
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hello, Rebecca: I'm Mary, and I have both a seed addiction, and garden supply hoarding compulsion. When is the next meeting?

  • Turbo Cat (7a)
    7 years ago

    I grew Rutgers several years ago, but that year was a sad example. My beloved (now ex) son-in-law convinced me to try a square foot garden (like he was trying) with a tomato in every square foot. lol I think Rutgers was one of the few plants that gave me more than 2 or 3 tomatoes :) He was the best son-in-law I could have wished for, but an awful veggie gardener. He would have gotten better, I'm sure.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    I'm not growing Rutgers this year, but if I was, I'd be growing the new Rutgers 250 release from NJAES. They released it last year and it basically is an attempt to improve Rutgers and get it back to the flavorand juiciness it used to have.

    In a nutshell, when OP varieties are grown over many years, they sometimes lose some of the characteristics that made them special. In seed-saving terminology, this sometimes is called "running out". I am sure George could explain this part of it better than I, but with multiple seed suppliers saving and regrowing tomato seed every year, some of the purity and special characteristics sometimes get lost along the way. Once those characteristics are gone, it can be hard to get them back. Often the original breeder has the best chance of restoring an older variety to its early quality because they know what tomatoes they crossed to get it in the first place.

    As a part of their on-going Jersey Tomato program, the folks at NJAES have been improving and re-releasing various older varieties, including bringing some like Ramapo, Moreton and KC-146 back into commercial cultivation. Rutgers 250 is one of their latest re-releases and it has been given the Rutgers 250 name to distinguish it from seeds related to earlier Rutgers releases. The 250 was used because the re-release occurred in the 250th anniversary year of Rutgers University.

    For anyone who wants to try Rutgers 250, I've seen the seed at a couple of places, including Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. My name is Dawn and I am an enabler.


    Rutgers 250 at SESE

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    7 years ago

    Mary, my DH decided square foot gardening was the way to go. We had 3 4x4 beds to start. I think I put a tomato in each corner of one bed, and there was at least one cayenne pepper in with them. They quickly became a jungle. There were some purchased plants like Early Girl and Sungold in that bed. They were very productive, but it hurt DH that they got so out of control. We discovered bindweed in that area, so we moved the beds to the other side of the yard. He still wants to build little grids to put in the beds. I have resisted. Mel's mix is very rich soil, but it is designed to be rejuvenated every year, which just cost too much for me. DH doesn't understand my jungle method. He would really be happier with neat rows, with the same kind of plants all together. Last year he described (complained?) how I grow things to someone he works with who called it companion planting. Suddenly I had validation from an outside source, so it wasn't so bad.

    Rutgers is what I call an old fashioned tasting tomato, like my parents might have grown. Now my dad won't even TASTE a non red tomato. (He will be 90 in 2 weeks). I sometimes wonder who was growing and eating all the non red heirlooms? Why didn't we know about them when i was young? Were they family secrets?

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    7 years ago

    Dawn and I keep typing at the samd time!

  • wotanhl
    7 years ago

    Like many, I have had very good success with Better Boy and Early Girl. One not as often mentioned, but has grown well for me is Superfantastic. I am trying some new ones this year including New Girl and Damsel.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Amy, I do wonder the same thing. I believe that families who had grown heirlooms were growing some of the non-reds and keeping them going and that there just was not much of a mechanism in those days to publicize the non-red heirlooms and share the seeds. When Craig LeHoullier and Dr. Carolyn Male started their tomato newsletter, Off The Vine, which I think must have been in the 1980s, it became a way for tomato maniacs to share information and probably exchange seeds. We have to remember most of this was happening prior to the internet and prior to the existence of any form of social media. The founding of Seed Savers Exchange in 1975 also was key as it provided a way for all those folks saving seed and keeping heirlooms going to find one another and trade seeds. Granted, it was a very laborious process (for a very long time) with the yearbook being published annually, and then you had to read through all the tiny print and mail your seed requests and money to whoever had the seeds, but it did spread the heirloom seed movement far and wide, and it saved many varieties that otherwise would have been lost. Eventually with AOL and the listserv that was a tomato growers group, the online interaction began to occur and to grow and information/excitement about heirloom tomatoes began to spread. And, sometime in that time frame, along came Dr. Jeff McCormick, founding SESE to keep southern heirloom varieties alive and to make them available to more people. Heirlooms are so easy to find now---there's thousands of varieties of heirloom tomatoes available, for example. and it is easy to forget that just 20 years ago, they were hard to find and you had to really search for them.

    I remember a few off-types from my childhood that weren't red---Lemon Boy, Yellow Pear, Porter and a big pink that probably was Mortgage Lifter, though I don't know for sure as it could have been Brandywine. I was a kid and was not paying enough attention back then.

    When I started finding heirloom varieties available in nurseries in Texas in the 1990s, I was in hog heaven. It was fascinating to find so many varieties that weren't red and that had superb flavor and texture. When I began growing heirloom types in many colors, everyone thought I was crazy. I wasn't. I was just ahead of the heirloom tomato trend.

    wotanhl, I've always liked Fantastic and Super Fantastic and grow them every now and then, but there's so many thousands of tomato varieties out there and I like to explore the wide, wide world of tomatoes as much as I can every year. Both Fantastic and Super Fantastic always have done well for me, even in very hot years. Fantastic was one of my best performing tomatoes in the awful, insane drought year of 2011 when our high temps were above 100 for over 90 days straight and no rain fell. Any tomato that can produce (it produced as long as I kept it watered) in a year like that is one tough tomato variety.

    I grow Better Boy about every other year and it does well enough, but virtually every heirloom tomato I grow tastes better so it isn't as high on my list as it once was. I mostly grow BB to give away to people who are rigid and set in their ways and believe the only good tomato is a round, red tomato. When I was a kid my dad always grew Big Boy, and later on Better Boy, and first Fantastic, and then later on Super Fantastic when it came out, as well as a whole host of other hybrids that aren't commercially available any more. We also grew Spring Giant (now exceedingly rare) and Carmello (recently brought back to the USA commercial seed market) and Dona, as well as Roma and Rutgers. I think we grew Large Red Cherry until Sweet 100 came out, and then grew Sweet 100 until Sweet Million came along. I still occasionally grow some of these varieties but have branched out and found so many more that are well worth growing. If I could, I'd grow 600 plants a year just so I could grow 300 varieties---but that is not practical and is enormously time-consuming.

    I have found that with proper soil preparation, proper care and planting early enough to beat the heat, most varieties produce perfectly well here, with the exception of many of the oxheart shaped tomatoes, so I no longer think variety selection as important as I once thought it was. so, knowing that from experience, I am more willing to try new ones, except oxhearts, because the new ones almost always will perform well here for me and that means I can pick varieties to plant based purely on flavor or, for those I haven't grown before, based purely on what other folks say about their flavor. I've grown many hundreds of varieties---probably close to 1,000 varieties by now, and in all that time, I probably haven't had but maybe a dozen different varieties that aren't worth growing here, and most of them were oxhearts. I usually give each variety 3 different years (not necessarily consecutive years) to prove it is worth keeping and putting in the permanent rotation on the Grow List. There's not many varieties I've tried that have failed to impress for three years. Usually they manage at least one good year out of those three, but it largely depends on the weather.

    Dawn

  • Turbo Cat (7a)
    7 years ago

    Amy, I did keep the little 4x4 beds, and used them until they fell apart. I put peppers and such in them, which did fine. I even grew Okra on the west side of them which gave everything else some shade in the afternoon, but of course I didn't live here then, and I don't need anymore shade than I already have. I built a raised bed here for strawberries, which I grew for a couple of years but got tired of fighting slugs. I didn't make the true Mel's mix, though. It would have been expensive. I think I used a mix of composted peat humus (cheap), some cheap composted cow manure, and some peat. It was a 4X8 bed, so it took quite a bit to fill it up. I stuck mint and some basil in that bed, too, and everything took off and grew like crazy. The mint took over the bed, as I recall and I like to have never gotten that all out and killed. I tore it down and dragged what was left of the soil into the in-ground garden.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    For what it is worth, Mel's mix generally drains too well for our hot weather, so don't have regrets if you didn't make the true Mel's Mix. And, I agree that it is very pricey.

  • luvncannin
    7 years ago

    My name is Kim and I will grow whatever y'all suggest and then some.

  • jlhart76
    7 years ago

    For the great oracles of wisdom, is this a good deal? I have a coupon code (GC113)that knocks price down to $7.

    http://www.heirloomsolutions.com/product_p/ott.htm

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    When I click on the link, I see a Tomato Growers Kit that has a list price of $65.00. Are you saying you have a coupon that knocks down the price to $7.00? If so, why and what strings are attached? I've never heard of this company and would not be inclined to send them my money

  • jlhart76
    7 years ago

    Ya, you enter the code and it knocks it down to just shipping. Stumbled across it, but wasn't sure. Like you said, what are the strings?

  • elkwc
    7 years ago

    Dawn I had to look up what you were growing this year. Read a few of the posts. When I saw the one asking for 4-6 you would grow if that was all you could grow I knew your answer before I ever read it. Among the reasons I haven't started any seeds in the last 3-4 years is I know I can't limit myself. But finally convinced myself I could limit it to 6 tomato varieties I wanted to refresh seeds on and 3-4 chile varieties. I ended up with 22 tomato varieties. I have grown 70% of what you are. Have heard of some of the others but not any of the new ones you are growing. It still puzzles me why you have such different results there than I do here. I am growing JD's C Tex, Indian Stripe and JD's Pink again hoping to refresh seeds but CP has always out produced all 3. Randy's Brandy is by far the most productive Brandywine besides Brandy Boy I've grown. Have both growing this year. After reading your post about Burpee seeds I want to say I've had 100% germination on seeds out of an 8 y/o pack of Brandy Boy I had. Overall I've had very good germination on all and some seeds were as old as 11 y/o. Of course I'm growing KB and had some old seeds of KBX which I sowed also. KB is the most productive orange I've grown on a consistent basis. Have never had a failure with it. Trying to refresh all of the seeds I got several years ago from the Tulsa area. They all seemed to have better disease resistance here. Randy's Brandy, County Agent and Grandma Suzy's did as good as anything in my garden especially during the drought. I also planted Cowlick's Brandywine, Cody's Paste, Barlow Jap,Germaid Red, Texas Star and Texas Star cross small beefsteak, Cow's Tit, Josies Grandma, MOX 311S, Juane Flammee', Sungold, Jet Star and Goliath. The hybrids were all I had a few old seeds left and planted them to see what they would do. The one tray I planned on is now 3 and have decided to plant another. Will be a few tomatoes and several chiles. I have requests for them as you can't buy the good NM chiles anywhere.

    I was planning to change my lights from flourescents to LED's. We have been doing that at work. When I picked up the bulbs tonight that I ordered it dawned on me I must of had a senior moment when I ordered. I have 4 fixtures per shelf with 2 lights per fixture. For some reason I ordered 4 instead of 8. Changed over 2 tonight and will order the rest and they will be delivered next Wed. They sure make it brighter. Will be interested to see how the plants do under them.

    About the only seeds I didn't grow to refresh were from the dwarf project. They never have done well here. I had one variety sent to me by one of the growers in that project several years ago that I exchanged seeds with. I still have some seeds he sent and a few from growouts. They did so poorly overall I doubt if I ever grow any of them again. They seem to be magnets for diseases. I think the stress on a plant in this area causes a lot of the disease issues. And between the heat, wind and temp swings they are tested here.

    I started my first plants around Valentines which is considered early here. I still think we will likely have frosts into mid to late April. May try to sneak some out early in the raised bed on the south side of my garage. I can provide them cover if needed so hopefully that will help.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Jay, LOL. You know me and my tomato obsession so well that I probably cannot surprise you with anything on my lists any more. That's OK. It takes a tomato maniac like you to truly understand and read the mind of a tomato maniac like me. You and I have been on a long tomato-growing binge together, though separately, for so long now that it makes me smile to think back at our lists over the years and to think about all the great varieties we've tried...whether they succeeded for us or not.

    It is odd we get such different results from the same varieties. I am not sure if the difference is my heavier clay-based soil (which after almost two decades of amending is not quite perfect yet, but is starting to get kinda close to perfect) or the difference in our weather or what. I just think your location is so tremendously challenging compared to mine. Between the sandier soil, the wind that never stops blowing, etc., you face challenges that are different from ours here, and I never can guess what variety will thrive in those conditions.

    Over the past 2 or 3 years, I've developed a real affection for Vorlon. In my garden it even produces earlier than JD's Special C Tex and Gary O Sena and it has fine flavor and is a huge producer. I kinda went on a binge with oxheart tomatoes for a couple of years. They've never done well here, but I was happy with them in 2015, and a bit less so in 2016's tougher conditions. I know now that some of them can produce well here if we get a really early start on the season and plentiful moisture before the real heat sets in, but we aren't going to have many years with plentiful moisture. Some years we don't even come close to having adequate moisture.

    The tomatoes from The Dwarf Project vex me with their inconsistency. Also, I've noticed that no matter how well they start out the year, they hit a wall most years and are done....just like that. Usually is is grey mold or black mold that gets them, and it will hit them when nothing else gets it. Still, this year I picked out some to grow, and I really wanted some of the Wild Fred line, like BrandyFred to do well, in honor of my long-time gardening friend, Fred, who lives just down the street and is still ranching and gardening (albeit with a lot of help form his son) at the age of 94. Well, all the dwarf seedlings have been puny this year and look horrible and I tossed them on the compost pile yesterday and scratched them off my list. If they don't want to grow well enough to make it off the light shelf and out into the real world, then I'm through with them for Spring. I love the concept of plants that are a manageable size and produce full-sized fruit, but achieving those results here has been spotty at best. I won't say I'm giving up on them, but they're falling from favor really fast. I don't know if it is the high humidity here in May and June or what, but those dwarf varieties are not as disease-tolerant as I'd hoped---they just get some other disease instead of the usual early blight. I'm getting closer and closer every year to just moving on and forgetting about them. They sound so good on paper, but here in the real world, they underperform.

    I don't know if the LEDs on the second light shelf are the reason why, but the tomato plants on that shelf are really happy, sturdy and strong. I'll probably switch over to LEDs on the original light shelf next year. I have such a hard time keeping the spare room from getting too hot while raising plants in there. It has two huge east-facing windows and one that faces south and all those lights make it heat up so quickly that I have to shut off the HVAC vent in that room. I think switching to all LEDs will make a big difference next year.

    I'm glad you're off to an early start with your seedlings. I have a good feeling about this year, and I'll keep on having a good feeling about it until reality smacks me in the face and chases off all the good feelings. Ha! Hope springs eternal in a gardener's heart in March....and reality arrives in June or July (and hopefully no earlier than that). The hot winter worries me, so I'm striving to plant out as early as reasonably possible to beat the heat. Other than that, what else can we do? We remain at the mercy of our weather.

    Dawn

  • elkwc
    7 years ago

    Dawn,

    The first time I grew Vorlon it did good and I really the flavor. The next two years it didn't survive. They were tough years and I will likely grow it again. I know I have some seeds I haven't found.

    As for the dwarfs I have moved on. Not to say I might not try them again but I will need to hear reviews of a variety doing well here. They have been a waste of time, money and space.

    It takes me about ten minutes to change a fixture for the LED lights.

    I have to figure out now where I'm going to put at least part of what I started.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    7 years ago

    Do you have a source for Vorlon? Baker Creek has them, but any body else? (I went through my regular sources and did not come up with it.)

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Baker Creek was my source for Vorlon seeds. You also might check Tatiana's Tomatobase Seed List and see if she has it this year.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    7 years ago

    Yeah, and BC just posted Lemon Cilantro on their facebook page. Sigh, I know if I go look I will find more things I want to try.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Of course you will, Amy, it is part of that peculiar seed obsession from which we all suffer. Once I've ordered what I need for the upcoming year, I do my best to avoid all seed websites and catalogs, because I know exactly what will happen if I don't avoid them. I've never grown lemon cilantro and I'm not, not, not going to go to their website and read about it. Nope, I'm not. Not now. Maybe later. I'm not making any promises....but you know if I go read about it, I'll want it, and then you can't buy just one packet of anything. Well, maybe some people can. I can't.

  • elkwc
    7 years ago

    I did a search and found several sources. If I grow seeds next year I may have to order a few. Can't find some seeds I had last week. That frustrates me.

  • hazelinok
    7 years ago

    Just out of curiosity, how many tomato plants do each of you plant in your garden? Approx.

    Lemon cilantro sounds wonderful. I can't get cilantro to do well. I have several started and they are sad and stunted looking. What's y'all's method? I really love cilantro. I buy coriander seed at Natural Grocers and grind it with a mortar and pestle to add to soups and recipes because I can't get the cilantro to take off! And the coriander seed adds the flavor I enjoy.

  • chickencoupe
    7 years ago

    I have a bunch of cilantro growing in dixy cups. I started them and pretty much forgot about them because they take SO long and they can be so finicky. Then, one day they were all up and I watered. I know if I take them out to pot them up, I'll kill em.

    I'm not consistent with my maters, yet.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    7 years ago

    I have mixed results with cilantro. The year of the monsoon rains I had a great stand of cilantro. Last year the volunteer on the edge of the patio did pretty well. Cilantro is a cool season crop. If you want that flavor in hot weather, papalo or culantro grow in hot weather. But LEMON cilantro/coriander. It's supposed to be a dwarf plant. Good for containers. Yeah, there's a BC order in the near future.

    Supposedly I have room for 15 indeterminate tomatoes in beds. The dwarfs will be in containers. Usually my cherry tomatoes are in big containers. I'll end up sticking a couple of plants somewhere I didn't plan to. What kind of production will I get? Can I exclude the chickens and get them to bloom before the heat? That remains to be seen.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Hazel, I try nowadays to limit myself to 80-100 tomato plants in the ground in the Spring. After I've canned 200-300 jars of tomato stuff and have frozen/dehydrated enough tomatoes to last for the next year, I yank out most of the plants, compost them and just keep a handful of plants going for fresh eating. If I didn't can, freeze or dehydrate, I would think that even for someone who eats a lot of tomatoes, you'd only need 2-4 plants per family member. Much depends on how you use them. For only fresh eating, a family doesn't need all that many plants, but if you cook a lot of fresh pasta sauce, you'd likely need more. I plant a huge number of plants to get big, early harvests and get all or at least most of the tomato preserving done before it gets too hot. For what it is worth, here's what we normally use tomatoes for: pasta sauce, pizza sauce, tomato soup, sun-dried tomatoes, Annie's salsa, catsup, bar-b-q sauce, a ton and a half of Annie's Salsa (We give away about 200 jars at Christmas), canned tomatoes, canned tomato sauce and chili base. Depending on how much of those items you wish to make, you would need either more or less tomatoes. Often I just freeze gallon ziplock bags of whole, fresh tomatoes for winter cooking. So, figure out how you'll use the tomatoes, and work your way backwards from that. I like having tons of fresh tomatoes so I can share them with friends too.

    The easiest way to grow cilantro is to prepare the bed and sow the seed in late autumn. It sprouts at the appropriate time in spring, around the time that I am noticing chamomile sprouts....so usually sometime in March, but occasionally in February or, in very cold winters, maybe not until it is almost April. Our cilantro season is really short because heat causes it to bolt (even the slow-to-bolt types will bolt pretty quickly here). You also can sow it like radishes, sowing new seeds almost weekly so you always have new plants coming along, at least until it gets too hot. Or, just scatter seeds on the top or outer edges of your compost pile in fall or winter. If the chickens don't find and eat the seeds/seedlings and eat them, you'll get a great cilantro harvest from your compost pile. Growing it in shade can keep it cooler and keep it growing longer before it bolts. Just remember that cilantro is like dill---it loves the cool season and freaks out/flowers/sets seed when the heat arrives. I often grow papalo and culantro, but don't really like them as much as cilantro.

    Dawn

  • Rebecca (7a)
    7 years ago

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/geneticists-quest-return-tomatoes-full-flavored-glory-180961933/


    I thought this was a really interesting article for us tomato freaks, Dawn especially. There's info at the end to send for packets of the study's seeds to grow and document for the study as well. I like what they're doing here.

  • Rebecca (7a)
    7 years ago

    I have pretty good luck growing dill and cilantro in the shade, and I do get longer out of it doing it that way. Last year I had it into early July. I love cilantro and dill.


    Amy, if you ever make it into Tulsa, Stringers has tons of BC seeds.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    They've been trying to breed back flavor into tomatoes for quite some time now because they're tired of hearing all of us complain about the poor flavor of modern-day hybrid tomatoes. Almost a decade ago, one such breeding effort got a lot of media attention and some of us who grow a lot of tomatoes did grow some of these hybrid varieties that supposedly had been bred for better flavor (and which did, supposedly, have far superior flavor to other hybrids that existed at the time. I think that was around 2008. In my garden, those new flavorful varieties were duds, and I did try them for 2 or 3 years to give them a fair chance to impress me in different years with different growing conditions. They still had roughly the same size, shape and texture (i.e. mostly as hard as a rock) of commercial hybrid tomato fruit like you'd buy at the grocery store, and if the flavor was improved over that of standard commercial hybrids, I really couldn't even tell it. I was disappointed. I thought maybe they really were on to something, but my taste buds determined that these new improved and more flavorful tomatoes were little changed from the varieties that preceded them. To me, these hybrids still were far inferior to the quality of OP heirlooms, and not just in terms of flavor but also in terms of texture. At that point, I did have to ask myself why I cared what the hybrid breeders were producing---wasn't I already happy with the OPs I already grew?

    In one sense the researchers and breeders are on to something---they finally are acknowledging what we've been saying all along, and that is that flavor is missing from modern-day tomatoes. They say they want to breed the flavor back in, but they are not likely to change other aspects of the commercial industry that also contribute to poor flavor. For example, for shipping/shelf life purposes. commercial tomatoes are harvested and shipped green, and then they gas them with ethylene gas to artificially turn them red in order to trick the consumers into thinking they are ripe. But, they aren't ripe. They're just artificiall reddened. They still taste like unripened green tomatoes would taste and they taste bad because the fruit aren't left on the plants long enough for the flavor compounds to develop. Once you realize that store-bought tomatoes aren't even ripe, then it is easy to understand their poor flavor and texture. So, if the industry still is going to pick them green and gas them to turn them red, what's the point of improving the flavor? The commercial growers aren't going to let the fruit ripen on the vine and develop the improved flavor, so it is a pointless exercise if these tomatoes with flavor are meant to be grown in the commercial ag world.

    Will they produce new hybrid tomatoes with great flavor and great texture that consumers will grow? Maybe, maybe not. I'm already perfectly happy with the many OP varieties available---there are thousands of them. Do we really need hybrids that are intended to lure us away from well-established and much-beloved OP varieties? Why? So the seed companies can earn royalties off their new tasty hybrids? I suspect that is what this is all about. O-P varieties are freely available and no one is earning royalties off of them, so what the industry wants is to convince us to buy their hybrid seed varieties so they'll make money off of them. As far as I am concerned, they can breed for flavor all they want, but their new tomatoes never will replace Brandywine, Gary 'O Sena, Indian Stripe, Cherokee Purple, Sioux or Nebraska Wedding. We'll keep growing what we like and we'll do our best to keep the OP varieties out there available for everyone. American consumers know what they like, they know what they want, and they know what they do not want. The market failure of Calgene's FlvrSvr showed that the American people don't want GMO tomatoes, for example, and for more reasons than the fact that they were GMOs. I'm grateful that, in a world where so much food nowadays is fake food, we still have the real deal like genuine open-pollinated tomato varieties.

    I always grow a mix of OP and hybrid types, but what I've noticed is that the OPs end up being eaten fresh---sometimes eaten right in the garden like a peach--fresh off the vine, with warm tomato juice dripping down my chin and staining my shirt. When the tomatoes make it up to the house, we set aside as many OP tomatoes as we can eat fresh, and we either give away the rest, or throw them into canning batches of salsa, sauce, etc. If I pick 14 hybrid fruit one day, and 4 OP fruit, I guarantee you that we will eat the 4 OPs fresh and give away or can the 14 hybrids. Even if Tim is the one choosing tomatoes out of a bowl to eat at dinner time or to put on noon sandwiches, without even knowing which fruit is which either by variety name or by the fact that it is either OP or hybrid, he invariably picks the OPs. I will grow hybrids as a hedge against a disastrous disease year, but that's really the only reason I grow them. If I was growing purely for flavor and not worrying that one year we'll be hit with a disease disaster that wipes out the whole tomato garden, I'd only grow OPs. So, I guess I don't really care what the breeders do. They've failed the important flavor and texture tests for so long that they and their efforts don't matter much to me any more. Maybe I'll be forced to change my tune if TSWV ever becomes widespread here and I'm forced to grow hybrids bred with a tolerance of TSWV. I hope that never happens.

  • elkwc
    7 years ago

    Dawn I was going through seeds again tonight and found some old Vorlon seeds. I got mine from Suze Anderson in TX. I'm starting a few seeds this weekend and will put a few in to see if they will germinate so I can refresh them.


  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Yay! I'm glad you found them. I hope they germinate. I just love how early Vorlon produces here, though your area is certainly different from mine and I have no idea if they'll be as early for you. I don't know why it took me so long to try Vorlon since it is a cross of two of my favorite tomato varieties. I think that sometimes I just get stuck in a rut and keep planting the same great varieties here over and over because we like them so much.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    7 years ago

    Hmmm, my vorlon seeds should be here soon, along with my lemon cilantro ;)

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    That's all you ordered? Only two things? Amy!

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    7 years ago

    I ordered some safflower seeds. I really was disciplined. Most of the other things from my wishlist, like heirloom grains, I have no place to grow. Both my herb beds are in need of repair, so I resisted looking at herbs. I didn't need another flower, but safflower seed for the birds is really expensive, so that was my impulse buy.

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    I get safflower plants by using some of the safflower seeds from the bird seed mix. Sometimes I just scatter sow bird seed in a wet, muddy patch of clay in a pasture to see what comes up. All kinds of things grow that way. It is crazy.

    You were disciplined. I need to do some online seed shopping for flowers for the back garden, or at least I want to.....but Day 5 of the wildfire from hell continues, so I hate to start something I might not be able to finish and I hate to shop in a hurry. Maybe I'll do it later tonight.

    So far 9 FDs here are out on two different fires. Our VFD is at a small one, so we Rehab folks didn't take them drinks. If our guys get paged after the small fire is out to go out to the big fire out west, then we'll make coffee and load up the truck and go. We'd have to stop in town and buy stuff for another moonlight fireside picnic dinner, so I hope they get the big one out. I'm not real optimistic because no matter what they do, a few hours later it roars back to life and jumps the containment lines. I get the feeling this fire will keep meandering through the rugged hills beyond the roadways until it rains enough to put it out. Who knows when that will be?

    I went upstairs and watered all my tomato and pepper plants today. They whined and complained and wanted to know when they'll be allowed to go outside and play in the sunshine and in the dirt. I told them the story of the Big Bad Wolf huffing and puffing and blowing a wintery cold front our way this weekend. The plants are not thrilled about that.

  • AmyinOwasso/zone 6b
    7 years ago

    I have had one safflower volunteer. But these were pretty..,LOL.

  • elkwc
    7 years ago

    Dawn when I went to plant my last flat last night I planted a few Black cherry seeds I found with the Vorlon seeds. If memory serves me correctly you used to grow that didn't you. I also planted some more of the Texas Star cherry seeds I about had stabilized. They have been the best cherry for my climate and also have a nice flavor. Sungold usually does good early here. Then the plants in a hot dry year will struggle. The Texas Star seem to keep pumping them out.

    I saw you mentioned Burrell's came up with Super Sioux. Is their Burrell's Special kin to Sioux or do you know. I probably knew at one time.

  • Daniel Armer
    7 years ago

    wowee, That's a list.

    Please watch for white flies. I had them on my blackberries and then on tomatoes. They transmitted a disease that wilted all new growth on the tomatoes.
    None of my neighbors had a problem with them.

  • samanthajshep
    7 years ago

    Like you, I can't narrow it down...and it looks like I will have close to 90 varieties this year. Oops! I should add that I am the only one in the house that eats tomatoes! However, I should have plenty to sell and share, so I am sure they won't go to waste.

    After typing all of these...I think I understand why my husband thinks I've lost my mind!

    My 2017 list:

    Sungold

    Sun Sugar

    Sunrise Bumblebee

    Pink Bumblebee

    Hawaiian Currant

    Candyland Red

    Sunchocola

    Chocolate Cherry

    Green Grape

    Green Zebra

    Red Zebra

    Black Zebra

    Pink Vernissage

    Black Vernissage

    Brown Berry

    Rapunzel

    Blue Cream Berries

    Blondekopfchen

    Amish Gold

    Black Mauri

    Lucky Tiger

    Orange Russian

    Woodle Orange

    Copia

    Barnes Mountain Yellow

    Moonglow

    Golden Jubilee

    Paul Robeson

    Black Krim

    Stump Of The World

    Aunt Ruby's German Green

    Black Sea Man

    Fantome Du Laos

    Noire De Crimee

    Goose Creek

    Black From Tula

    Cherokee Purple

    Ozark Pink

    Black Plum

    Black Ethiopian

    Black Icicle

    Pink Tiger

    Sweet Carneros Pink

    Big Beef (dehybridized)

    Lucky Cross

    Big Yellow Zebra

    Black Prince

    True Black Brandywine

    Carbon

    Vintage Wine

    Southern Nights

    Purple Russian

    Hawaiian Pineapple

    Dad's Sunset

    Little Lucky

    Solar Flare

    Mary Robinson's German Bi-Color

    Gold Medal

    Gajo De Melon

    Green Sausage

    Orange Icicle

    Dwarf Tomato Project Varieties:

    Kangaroo Paw Brown

    Kangaroo Paw Yellow

    Kangaroo Paw Green

    Chocolate Lightning

    Dwarf Blazing Beauty

    Dwarf Golden Gypsy

    Rosella Purple

    Chocolate Champion

    Dwarf Orange Cream

    Dwarf Pink Passion

    Maralinga

    TastyWine

    Summertime Gold

    Sweet Scarlet

    Rosella Crimson

    Loxton Lass

    Dwarf Wild Fred

    Dwarf Purple Heart

    Dwarf Mr. Snow

    Dwarf Mahogany

    Dwarf Lemon Ice

    Dwarf Crimson Sockeye

    BrandyFred

    Adelaide Festival

    Boronia

    Uluru Ochre



  • luvncannin
    7 years ago

    Wow how many of each do you plant?

  • chickencoupe
    7 years ago

    What a gorgeous list. All ya'lls list. I'll get there one day. I managed to keep my down to a minimum and I'm less stressed. I'll keep building beds around this year's heat so I can get more in the following years.

  • samanthajshep
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I planted one of each except Black Krim, Sunrise Bumblebee, and Big Beef, there are 2 each of those. I should have kept my list to half of these, as I know I'm going to be overwhelmed! Lol.

  • samanthajshep
    7 years ago

    Those are 72 of the tomatoes...the work comes when I have to repot them in a couple weeks!

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    Jay, I do grow Black Cherry and really like it. It has a very unique flavor that I've never found in any other cherry tomato. It was released by Vince Sapp of Tomato Grower's Supply Company, and it seems like it hit the market just a few years before he passed away. The flavor is indescribably good.

    I don't know a lot about Burrell's Special and I'm not sure if they've ever released breeding info on it. I believe that it is a lot like Sioux because it is a good heat setter but may set fruit slightly larger than Sioux if there is good moisture.

    Daniel, Did you have the whiteflies this year? Last year? I've only had whiteflies twice in my life, with about 20 years in between, so I'm hoping my luck holds. All my tomato plants are outside to stay and the first two dozen plants are in the ground. With all this early heat, I hope to get more in the ground tomorrow. I'd be out there putting them in the ground now, but I just looked at the thermometer and it says 89.6 degrees, so it still is too hot for me to go back out to the garden and put anything in the ground. I am going to put the hot peppers in the ground sometime after 5 pm. I keep waiting for the temperature to start falling, and it hasn't started yet. This abnormal heat is making me crazy.

    Samantha, That's a great list. I used to plant a lot more than I do now, so I really really have scaled it back. In my best/worst year I had about 600 plants in the ground, representing about 150 varieties. I wanted to trial them all together so I could compare their performance in the same year. I believe that was either 2005 or 2006. Because the deer hadn't yet found our garden, many of those plants were not within the fenced garden. And then the deer found us. That was the end of growing anything that deer will eat outside the fenced garden, so I started cutting back and cutting back and now will have maybe 100 plants in the garden. Maybe less. I'm still workin on that whole 'cutting back to a manageable level' thing. Some years I'm more successful than others. In the years when we had 600 plants, and then about 400 the year after that, about all I did was harvest tomatoes all day every day and give them away. I don't regret it though because I found a lot of varieties that we loved and still like and grow and eat, and I ruled out bunches of others that just weren't for us for one reason or another. Needless to say, our friends all had all the tomatoes that they could eat and that they could give away too back in those days. Now we eat all we are able to eat fresh, and preserve the rest so we can eat tomatoes in many forms year-round.

    Bon, This early heat is going to drive us all bonkers. I'll be mad if the heat is here to stay because we need to stay cooler for a while to get good fruit set.

    Kim, Are you planting yet?

    Dawn

  • luvncannin
    7 years ago

    Yes soon. Maybe after Thursday. I don't want to stick them out there until I have enough mulch since we are getting rain Thursday. I have 25 ready to go and half of them are blooming.

    A friend of mine fellow vendor thinks I am nuts trying to put in 160 to 200 plants. He asked me what in the world are you ever going to do with that many. Uhhhhhh sell them at market. Crackin me up

  • Okiedawn OK Zone 7
    Original Author
    7 years ago

    You have to have a lot! What if the heat shuts down fruitset earlier than usual? At least with a lot of plants you still get a lot of fruit assuming they can set before the heat arrives. Visions of 2011 and having the heat arrive about the same time that most people were just putting tomato plants in the ground are dancing around in my head. I was watching people put tomato plants in the ground when the highs were already in the 90s most days and I was wondering what sort of fruit set they'd get.(Most of the folks here got none, as it turned out, because by the time those plants that were planted in April (at the appropriate time, based on the calendar) were large enough to bloom and set fruit, the temperatures were too warm. Those of us who planted early got some fruit, but not lots and lots.

    I'm hoping to get a lot more tomato plants in the ground today. I got one planted yesterday (because it was blooming and I wanted it in the ground ASAP), giving me a total of 24 tomato plants in the ground so far. I hope that by the end of today, that total is 50-60, and it would include the rest of the seedlings that already are blooming and setting fruit. More plants than that would be better, but I have to be sure to save enough room in the front garden for beans, corn and melons. I can put more tomato plants in the back garden next week. Or, in containers. We'll see how today goes. I got a lot done yesterday and hope to be as productive today.