Last year's tomato harvest

I just planted out my tomatoes Saturday so a little early for any harvest. Expectations are great and I thought I would show last year’s harvest in photos
Sungold cherry to start the harvest

Saving for sauce…

I prefer root pouches for tomatoes. The self watering systems are too small

I grew 11 plants last year, all from seed.

Ground cherries started producing too (in wooden bowl)

Sauce is on my mind…

To avoid cracking with a late summer rain, I harvested some not quite ripe yet. This day’s daily harvest was huge.

I’m growing all different tomatoes this year, Hope it’s a good year!

I’m glad you posted this now when its too late for me to start any more seeds, or I would be planting some more right now. I used to grow dozens of tomatoes but its one project I had to wean myself from to get more time for the fruits. This year I am only growing Brandywine, I don’t know the strain but its very reliable. My favorite tomato is Stump the World, but its hard to grow.

Drew, what sized root pouches did you use for the tomatoes? I’ve considered putting some of my extras in pouches just to see how they do, and to not feel like I totally wasted those plants. The person I started the seeds for didn’t use nearly as many as I anticipated. Now I’ve got a bunch getting stressed because they’ve outgrown their small pots.

Pictures of your tomato harvests always make me hungry or REAL tomatoes.

@scottfsmith If you are tempted enough, you could still start some seeds for a fall crop. Shouldn’t you be able to harvest at least until some time in October where you are?

Tomatoes need room, think 15 gallon is a minimum. I use 15, 20, and 30 gallon for tomatoes.
I have been experimenting, and feel 15 will give decent results,
I too have to cut down, but man so much is happening in the tomato world. The Dwarf Tomato Project has produced over 30 excellent varieties that grow only a few feet tall, but produce like crazy.
What a cool project as it was done with people like us. A bunch volunteered to grow out tomatoes, to see what works, and to isolate strains, all done over the internet and given free to tomato vendors. Next year Victory seeds will be offering all of them, but many seed companies sell some of them.
I have a list of the best ones to try. But so many tomatoes are out there it may be a year or two before I try any. I grow around 18 plants at the most a year.
Wild Boar Farms is creating new OP varieties that not only look fantastic, but taste great too, taste comes first, but wow, what cool tomatoes. I have a few strains of Brandywine, Suddths, Cowlicks, etc. I’m not growing any this year though. I need to try more before I decide what are my favorites.
I also grow tomatoes in ground, but only have a few spots each year.
With the fall of the iron curtain a flood of hundreds of heirlooms, of every vegetable one can imagine are making their way here. Some are just fantastic heirlooms never really heard of. The gardeners there are interested in trying our heirlooms too. I grow heirloom peppers and pole beans too.

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Very interesting post, Drew. I’d like to hear more about the Dwarf Tomato Project (DTP). You do realize you’re going to have to share that list here. Don’t you? :smile:

I think the only ones that have made it into the ground here this year are the not very exciting San Marzano Roma tomatoes, chocolate cherry, and maybe they grabbed a couple of Defiant. I have some Indigo Rose, which should be interesting to see how they look, but it hasn’t rated highly on taste in any reviews I’ve read. I planted a few seeds of Big Dena and Kakao. They look healthy, but slow growers. They were bred for greenhouse growing, but I might try them outside instead of running my grow tent for the summer and trying to keep that cooled down. I think I also have a few Sun Gold plants going. I never started my Yellow Mini or Sunrise Bumble Bee. I had run out of room on my heat mats and in my grow tent and had put them on hold. Then got too involved with other things and didn’t get more seeds started as I moved things to the outdoor tent. Maybe I’ll try a few of each later for fall.

Mid-summer it gets too hot, humid, and dry for the maters to set fruit here. They just mope through that part of the year. But later plantings should have time to be productive before frost here.

Anyway, I’d love to hear about the the tomatoes and other heirlooms from Eastern Europe. Maybe you’d be interested in starting a new thread about the non-tomatoes, so we don’t take this one too far off course.

Its a long way from here to harvest time.
Good to look back at past years.
But I can hear the Bugs, Diseases and Bad weather plotting against our dreams.

Last years harvest.

What is the best variety for spaghetti sauce? I’ve tried a lot of “sauce” types that i didn’t really care for… is there some secret to making a good sauce?

Looks good David! I had about that many jars. i do have a food mill, so removed the seeds.
The DTP is on hold for a year, the founder wrote a book, and needs to promote it.
I’ll write about the dwarfs later.
I like the Italian tomatoes for sauce, well Costoluto Genovese and other Costouto tomatoes. They are very bland fresh, excellent cooked.
I freeze my tomatoes, I remove the seeds by hand, once unfrozen most of the skin comes off. What doesn’t is removed by my food mill, and any seeds left. I reduce it for 4 or 5 hours on low heat. Until it thickens. I add basil only, and a little lime juice. Some pastes are very good. So many it’s hard to tell what one will like.
San Marzano is another favorite. I’m growing just one plant this year. I do it more for fun. The commercial sauces are good. I grow my own basil, oregano, and other spices so my sauce is very competitive. I add the other spices when I’m preparing a dish, only basil when I can it.
Once ready to be canned, i add fresh basil, and can. I don’t cook the basil at all.

I’m growing Opalka (roma type from Poland that is supposed to be great for fresh eating as well as cooking), Druzba (medium, from Bulgaria), Pruden’s Purple (Brandywinish, but not really related and is a week or so earlier), Saint Colombe (a bit smaller than Brandywine and sounds like an interesting heirloom from France), Matt’s Wild Cherry (close to currant sized, from Mexico) and one hybrid cherry, Sweet Million. I started them under lights and have given seedlings to about a half dozen of my neighbors so it will be interesting to see how they do for a variety of growers using differently amended soils, sites, etc. I like the idea of growing heirlooms from all over the world, so we’ll see what I like and what does well before planning next year’s tomato world tour.

Here’s what I’m growing.
Amos Coli
Berkeley Tie-Dye, Pink
Blue Berries
Costoluto Di Parma
Costoluto Fiorentino
Cow’s Tit
German Red Strawberry
Indian Stripe Potato leaf
Polish Linguisa
San Marzano Redorta Select
Snow White
Super Italian Paste

Also Goldie ground cherry and Ammon Martin ground Cherry

I have seeds to these, but have not grown them yet. A list of the coolest names
African Queen
Alyi Mustang
Aunt Lou’s Underground Railroad
Babushkin Sekret
Bloody Butcher
Dancing with Smurfs
Girl Girl’s Weird Thing
Rebel Yell
Seek-No-Further Love Apple

Ha ha ha ha! I don’t think I’ve ever heard of any of those. Those are some very interesting names.

Great looking wonky tomatoes Drew! I envy the ease at which you guys in the midwest grow tomatoes. Here in Phoenix its a black art. It took years and years of radical experimentation to pound out a reliable system. We begin harvesting late this week and our season only runs to Late June. It just gets too damn hot here in late June.

This is a picture I took tonight…


Wow, that’s awesome! Cool!

Those are healthy looking plants. You’ll never see any row of outdoor tomato plants around here that look that good in the summer.

What varieties are you growing?

I’ve grown Opalka before…tons of production out of those… Never tried San Marzano … i’ll have to try that next year. I like basil/garlic and olive oil in my sauces…very basic…

Nice tomatoes…wow…

I’m looking forward to see how Opalka does. The plants was slow to grow, but it’s early. San Marzano is a legendary tomato. At Italian stores you can buy San Marzano sauce. Some say it is the very best.
Lots of interesting Russian tomatoes have been made available from growers there recently.
Curious to try them. Here are some I have seed of, descriptions from sellers, or what i could find on the web.

Babushkin Sekret -
Maturity midseason
Growth habit indet.
Leaf type regular
Fruit color pink
Fruit shape beefsteak
Fruit size large
Fruit type slicer
Variety type commercial
Country Russia
Russian commercial variety, bred and selected for Siberian region.
The name means ‘Grandma’s Secret’ in Russian.
Obtained from: Free of charge from Starlight on Tomatoville

Gigantesque -
Maturity midseason
Days: 78
Growth habit indet.
Leaf type regular
Fruit color red
Fruit shape beefsteak
Fruit size large
Fruit type slicer
Variety type Heirloom
Country Russia
I obtained these rare Russian tomato seeds (originally from the Ukraine in
Russia) from Lisa Von Saunder from Amishland, who obtained Gigantesque
seeds from her Russian friend Sergey. Our TomatoFest organic heirloom
tomato seeds produce very bushy, indeterminate, regular-leaf tomato
plants that give a heavy yield of BIG, 1-2 lb., orange-red, beefsteak
tomatoes with a meaty, pink flesh inside that carries deliciously robust
flavors and very few seeds. Although my fruit never quite got to 5"
across, this was common for Sergey who claims this variety yields
largest tomatoes he has ever seen. To my knowledge, this heirloom tomato
is only available from 2 sources in the United States. If you slice a big
slice of the tomato for a sandwich you better have some BIG bread slices
to hold it. A good choice for cooler growing regions as well as moderate
to hot areas. Disease resistant.
Purchashed from TomatoFest

Hohloma-Khokhloma - Russian Heirloom Mid season variety (85-95 days). Indeterminate. Regular leaf plant with a high yield of red, banana shaped 100-150 g fruits, 10-14 cm long, 5-10 fruits per cluster, all-purpose use.
Purchased from Hobby_gardener on EBay

“PINK TRIFELE RUSSIAN TOMATO” - aka “Pink Truffle Tomato” AKA Rozovyi Trufel -
Pink Trifele like all 3 of the others, is a small, short, compact plant,
no more than 4-1/2 feet high. Maybe half of the fruits had very elegant
fluting and pleating while still maintaining that pretty pear shape.
The other half were smooth (see 2nd photo). They never cracked or got
spots or any other blemishes, every fruit was lovely. Good meaty taste
perfect for eating out of hand, in salads or for making your own Glasnost
Russian Spaghetti Sauce
Purchased from Amishland Seeds

RED TRIFELE RUSSIAN TOMATO" - aka " RED Truffle Tomato"-
The Red Trifele was early and just kept on pumping out nice, perfect
fruits all season long. This Red Trifele tomato like all 3 of the others,
is a small, short, compact plant, no more than 4-1/2 feet high. Pretty
pear shape, a bit smaller in size than the Pink Trifele with no Fluting,
all smooth fruit. They never cracked or got spots or any other blemishes,
every fruit was lovely. Good meaty taste perfect for eating out of hand,
in salads or for making your own Glasnost Russian Spaghetti Sauce
Purchased from Amishland Heirloom Seeds

Sakharnyi Pudovichok -
Maturity midseason
Growth habit indet.
Leaf type regular
Fruit color red
Fruit shape beefsteak
Fruit size large
Fruit type slicer
Compact indet. plants with dense regular foliage produce lots of medium to large beefsteaks up to 1 lb with
yellow epidermis, which makes the exterior of the fruit look red, but the flesh is certainly pink. Some fruits
are slightly ribbed and have some concentric cracking after rain. Excellent taste, not many seeds. Very early for
such a large fruited tomato. Our new favorite in 2010. I received the seed in the original commercial packet from
my Mom in South Urals Russia in 2006, and had trouble to grow it out in 2008 (which was a horrible year for
tomatoes), and in 2009 I got 0% germination. So I was not hoping for much when I planted the remaining 6 seeds in
2010. Only 1 seed sprouted… and then the plant got stem rot and I had to take a cutting and root it to save the
plant, which set it back quite a bit compared to other tomato seedlings I had in spring 2010. Anyway, the short
story is I had real trouble getting this variety going with my seed stock! Much to my surprise, this only
seedling grew very fast into a vigorous bushy plant in a 5 gal container, and was the first to set quite a few
fruit in the cool and wet spring 2010. It was also the first to produce 1 lb red fruits, which were simply
wonderful. Seed source: Alla Gavlovskaya of Chelyabinsk, South Urals, Russia, 06 / CV ‘Sibirskiy Sad’ (Russian)
Russian commercial variety introduced in 2006 by Russian commercial vendor ‘Sibirskiy Sad’.
Tatiana’s note: Some Russian non-commercial sources say it is a pink tomato with heart-shaped fruits, but it is
certainly not true, as I grew mine from the original commercial seed packet and got oblate red beefsteaks.
Obtained from: Free of charge from Starlight on Tomatoville

Sosulka Krasnaya-RED ICICLE Russian Heirloom -
Mid season variety(90-95 days). Indeterminate. Potato leaf plant. Medium sized,red, pointed salad/paste type. Sweet complex flavor, firm texture. Keeps well and ripens well off of the vine.
purchased from Hobby_gardener on EBay

Alyi Mustang-Red Mustang - The new variety of the Siberian breeders, characterized unusually long cigar-shaped fruits 20-25 cm long. The plant is indeterminate, height 1.5-1.8 m, designed for growing in greenhouses and outdoors. Fruits red, long, meaty and very tasty, weighing 150-200 gr, gorgeous in salads. High yielding variety, up to 5 kg per plant.
Purchased from Hobby_Gardener on EBay

Drew, thank you for the descriptions.

Some of the stories behind the tomatoes are very interesting. I have seed to all of these too.

Aunt Lou’s Underground Railroad -
Maturity midseason
Growth habit indet.
Leaf type regular
Fruit color red
Fruit shape round
Fruit size medium
Fruit type slicer
Variety type historic, heirloom, open-pollinated
Country USA
It is rare to find such an historically significant vegetable treasure
with this kind of provenence. A black man from Kentucky, traveling through
the Underground Railroad, arrived in Ripley, Ohio, with the seeds of this
tomato variety. Ripley, Ohio, where many slaves crossed the river to
freedom, is home to Rankin House, a well known stop on the Underground
Railroad and now a museum. The black man later shared seeds with a woman named Lou, who later shared seeds with her great nephew Francis Parker, who lives in Sardinia, Ohio. Sixty years later Francis shared seeds with Wilfred Ellis, owner of Ellis’ Feed Mill. Wilfred shared them with Susan Barber, who shared them with Kentucky tomato guru Gary Millwood and me. Susan said that Wilfred is now 79 years old, and Francis several years older than he.
This tomato is a 4- 12 ounce, round, dark pink, canner or cooking tomato, juicy and seedy with thin skin and an acidic flavor, some having green shoulders. Sparse regular leaf foliage. The seeds are irregular in size and shape. This is not a “New and Improved” variety but it has performed better each year over the last several growing seasons I’ve had it. In 2011 it grew well and produced well even in standing water through the spring.
Grown without the use of any chemicals here on the farm, and processed with fermentation, so there will be no seed-borne disease. All varieties are individually packaged and labeled. You will receive at least 24 seeds. THIS SEED WAS GROWN IN 2012, and is guaranteed to germinate.
purchased from Blue Ribbon Tomatoes

Amos Coli -
Growth habit
Leaf type
Fruit color red
Fruit shape elongated, plum, oval
Fruit size
Fruit type paste, canner, cooking
Variety type family heirloom
Country USA
Large Meaty Paste Heirloom. Very Good Production. Dense Meaty with Great
Well Balanced Flavor. Great for Fresh Eating, Canning and Sauce.
Given to me at the 2012 National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, CA.
While working my booth, I was approached by Mr. Amos Coli, 86 years young,
Italian born man with quite a tomato passion. He had brought with him
several of his prized tomatoes; a variety he had been keeping alive for
59 years. The tomatoes where a large, plump and dense paste shape.
The shiny red skin could not contain the rich tomato fragrance the
erupted from within. After a short chat in the crowded and loud Hall I
asked if I could have one of his prize fruits. The reply was more than I
expected. Not only would he give me one, but was hoping I would keep the
variety alive. He had been trying to do so for almost 6 decades and was
looking to pass the torch, as it would be a shame to loose this tomato.
A week later, I received a call from Amos; luckily I slipped him a card.
I was hoping to get more information and hopefully more tomatoes.
Arrangements were made to meet and I was soon talking with Amos in his
garden located in Forestville where he now lives.
Mr. Coli lived most of his day in the santa clara valley, once famous for
agriculture, now mostly subdivisions. It was there, almost 60 years ago
that Amos got from a man named John whom had developed the variety from a
cross he had made 40 to 50 years prior. That would put this variety at
100-110 years old.
Purchased from Wild Boar Farms

Butler Skinner -
Maturity midseason
Growth habit indet.
Leaf type regular
Fruit color pink
Fruit shape beefsteak
Fruit size large
Fruit type slicer
Variety type Open polinated
Country USA
Popular local tomato from Winchester, Ky. Butler Skinner first got this
seed in 1948. He gave away seedlings during his successful campaigns for
Clark county jailer in the 1960’s. The Skinner family are still growing
this tomato.Large deep pink beefsteaks, regular leaf. Each year at the
Clark county tomato tasting, the tomato voted “Best-tasting” wins the
prestigious Butler Skinner prize.
purchased from Blue Ribbon Tomatoes

George Detsikas Italian Red -
Maturity midseason
Growth habit indet.
Leaf type regular
Fruit color red
Fruit shape heart, beefsteak
Fruit size large
Fruit type slicer
Variety type open-pollinated, family heirloom
Country Italy
A family heirloom that originally came from Italy.
The seeds originally came to Tracy Mathesius of Illinois via Maureen Key-Del Duca of Colorado from Kathy Carella
in Ontario, Canada. Kathy’s father George Detsikas had saved seeds from these tomatoes each year for decades.
This seed was from the last batch that her father grew in 2013, as he passed away over the winter. George was originally given the seeds over 25 years ago by an old Italian man who had brought the seeds from Italy. The
family always referred to them simply as “George’s Tomatoes”. The family described them as “giant beautiful sweet
dark red tomatoes”. Tracy Mathesius grew out 3 plants in isolation in 2014, and shared the seed with many tomato gardeners via Tomatoville gardening forum.
Obtained free from tam91 on Tomatoville

Looks like you have an awesome system, Every photo you post makes Phoenix’s dry, bug & disease free air look appealing to me.
Those tomato plants look so pretty.
Here in the south we have every tomato disease known and when a new one comes it will be invented here.
I have to strip the lower leaves to increase air flow,
Removing all the lower leaves at the right time is also an organic control method for Caterpillar eggs.


I like to grow tomatoes too. I find for some reason when I pressure cook my tomatoes they taste better. I made some stewed tomatoes last year that were awesome in the chili and goulash. I have been getting lots of blight on my plants. I would get better crops if I could keep it at bay but it takes over by the end of the season. Scott I like the Brandy Wine too. They taste so good on any sandwich! Oh, man I could eat some BLT’s right now! I have to wait till August before mine get ripe.