Kellogg,nice big size, low acid, nice tomato flavor
Thanks @mrsg47, you're too kind. After yesterday's disappointments, today was much better, and I do still have more to sample. Heck, I tried a Stupice today, and tasted quite a bit better than the bad one I had last week, so maybe I'm just not letting them ripen enough. Like I mentioned to Drew, I went out this evening a picked a sample of ones we haven't tried yet, so I'm excited to see how those do.
Yes, in the canned tomatoes race, we are already ahead of last year's pace, I think we only canned maybe 9 pints then, and this year already 7 quarts. So, we're doing better there.
Plus, we have pole beans growing in the corn patch, and already have canned 7 qt of pickles. I have to mow down the tater/weed latch with the bush hog, and we'll need dig the tubers up soon. And our sweet taters are doing great as well.
Our neighbor called us tonight and said they have a new batch of pole beans to pick if we wanna come pick them. I think MrsD is going early in the morning to get another batch, and that's after we already canned 7qt from that same patch last week. It's nice to be out in the country and have so many generous neighbors.
So, not a total bust this year, and we still have a couple months before the season ends. This is my third full year growing veggies on this scale, and hope I've learned enough to have next year be even better. Now, if we can just get those fruit trees going faster! A couple years, and we'll be all set! Now, just need to get some chickens..
Well all before those pictured were small, and I used them for sauce. I'll report once those pictured ripen up. Probably by Saturday. I usually don't pull early, well I do actually. Rain, or leaving town. I have found little difference as long as tomato is almost ripe. I'll report back on them. Cowlicks is a strain that is supposed to be good, and more productive. Mine was not that productive, but I know Brandywine shuts down with heat, and we have been above 90 forever. So low production should be expected.I also have interest in Black Brandywine, not really new, developed in 1920. I also have seed for the Sudduth's Strain, but have not grown it out yet.
OK, not great, on the other hand the green when ripe Malakhitovaya Shkatulka is excellent! Mild taste, I prefer this green so far. Green Giant though is a producer and Malakhitovaya Shkatulka is not. Working good together, Malakhitovaya Shkatulka is early, Green Giant is late.
I have grown this one and it is a good one. I liked it a lot.
One of my favorites. I like Indian Stripe a little better. Both are keepers for me. You're in a different environment, so what works here, might not there. All gardening is local.
Yes, I just planted 4 different veggies today. The winter crops are just starting. I will plant more next week.
Orcharding too, right?
And every year is a new experiment.
So Drew, what do you grow there over the winter? Wait. If some folks here garden through the winter, maybe a thread with that topic would be of interest.
Well for me not really over the winter. Over the fall. I guess fall crops is a better term. Same as spring crops. I'm growing broccoli and cauliflower that do better as fall crops than spring crops. Some work well for either. Also carrots, lettuce, and radishes.
My favorite varieties of tomatoes this year.
Dina - early, productive, golden-orange, roma type, large to medium fruits, round to oval shape, meaty, do not crack, store well, almost no core, very good taste.
Mashenka - red tomato, early, large round to slightly oval fruits, very productive, meaty, no core, good taste, slow growing indeterminate with very thick stems. The only bad thing about it that it cracks easily.
Yablochniy lipetskiy - very large red tomatoes with very good mellow taste. Late, moderate cracking, good production.
Mushroom basket - very good looking pleated pink fruits, from very large to medium size. Meaty, stores well, no cracking, late ripening , moderate to good production. Taste is good, slightly chewy near the skin.
Korol Sibiri - yellow heart, large to medium size, can be very productive, no cracking. Meaty with very few seeds, but juicy and soft. Taste is mild, the best ones taste more like fruits than tomatoes.
Mexican - probably the same as Mexico tomato - large pink ablate, with moderate cracking, productive and good taste.
The others that I grew this year and liked: Texas Star, Black from Tula, Mama Alla, Black cherry, Nikola.
Did not like Caspian pink (low production), Lucid gem (too much of a green gel), Korean long (low production and horrible tomatoes), Maksimka (actually it is very productive tiny tomato, but there is no sense in growing it if I can grow large ones).
OK, well you saved me some time! Sorry i sent you such a dog!
A lot of tomatoes I really like have green gel, like Indian Stripe.Lucid Gem is rather an average tomato for taste, nothing that great. It sure is pretty though!
It is not your falt, Drew. I would just advised not to use the seeds from that vendor on eBay. The Auria tomato was not Auria, but some kind of a dwarf. I pulled the plant earlier because it had too much disease problems. Korean Long was supposed to be a large paste pink tomato. The plans were very vigorous growing with very weird extremely wispy foliage. Very low fruit set, small long Opalka-shaped fruits, light pink with plenty of green shoulders. But what set me off is that they could not ripen on the counter, they simply wilted and stayed unattractive greenish light pink instead of coloring up. They were soft and juicy, not like paste tomato is supposed to be. This staff happens often, so no offense to you.
I agree, nothing he sent was worthwhile, or mislabeled, another scammer! It sucks because a guy also in Croatia, another EBay seller sent me some very nice seeds! He sent me Elephant ears which is a bull horn type sweet pepper. I have yet to really evaluate this pepper. Moderate production. My wife used some, but I didn't get any feedback. He also sent a few other peppers I have yet to try. I didn't have room this year.
It looks really nice!
I'll give a better evaluation this weekend. Speaking of the EBayer who sent the tomatoes, he did send some tomatillos that appear OK. I'm going to roast some, make salsa. Also roast a green chili pepper, a scotch bonnet (only fresh/ripe hot pepper I have right now, I have 2 plants), add cilantro, maybe a shallot all from the garden except cilantro. I guess I have to grow that one day! After roasting the tomatillos, peppers. You could roast the garlic too, I prefer mine fresh, and strong. Using hardneck from the garden. I have 2 recipes from all recipes dot com. I may combine or make one or the other with alterations.
Over the last week, my tomatoes have really started coming in. I got a late start, 9 on 5/20 and two more on 5/27.
Unlike most people in this thread, I don't actually like tomatoes. I grow them for my wife, who likes them cooked (in water, with a touch of oil, then add eggs near the end and mix it all up). So, larger ones make for quicker processing, so I've focused on mostly beefsteaks.
As I don't eat them and my wife is happy enough if they are fresh and didn't cost anything, the most important qualities are ease of growth and productivity. With that in mind, here is my review of what I grew this year:
Big Beef has been my mainstay for years (3 of the 11 were this year) and it performed well again. Mt Fresh impressed me with how many tomatoes a small plant can carry. It probably has a few less tomatoes than Big Beef, but the plant is less than half the size. So in terms of productivity per space, it is a winner. And not having really tall leaning (or sprawling, if I don't keep up with it) plants is a nice bonus.
I could see throwing in a Black Krim in future years for the interesting color. After all, once they start coming in, I'm cooking TEV (my nickname for the recipe, based on what it looks like...Tomato, Egg Vomit) almost every day, so it is good to have a bit of variance.
But the way things stand now, I'll probably avoid planting the others in the future. But, that could change if one of them has good staying power and keeps pumping them out longer than the others. @alan's Countrytaste seems like such a plant, so I'll probably start it from seed next spring.
This year, I planted small plants ($1 each, I think) that my parents picked up from Viauso's in Branford, a large greenhouse which grows starts for nurseries around the area.
Hi Bob, thanks for your tomato evaluation. I only have experience with Black Krim's from your list. I grew them last year and this year. My batch from last year were pretty productive, but the flavor was so-so, mostly, I believe, because of all the rain we had, which ended up inducing a lot of disease in my plants. There were some varieties that did do very well for me, including Chocolate Cherry, Yellow Brandywine, and Orange KY Beefsteak. I tried about a dozen different varieties, but these three I believe had the best flavor, and seemed to have better disease resistance. I blame a lot of my disease issues due to not staking the plants properly, insufficient fertilizing, and no mulching.
This year I was more diligent about staking and mulching, and my plants have seemed to do better, over the first 6 weeks or so. But, again, I have been lax in fertilizing them, and they seem to be played out, plus disease has taken its toll. Add to that, we've had another wet summer, and the last month or so it's been very warm and humid. And, just the sheer number of plants (70 tomato and 25 pepper), has been a bit more than I can deal with by myself. We have other chores on the farm that need attention. I guess this year's task is to find our maybe 10 favorite varieties and do a couple of each next year. My pepper plants have been slow to produce, but I did weed and fertilize them this week, and hopefully they'll get into gear.
Our plants have been pretty productive, but the flavors have just been off for most varieties, like no sweetness, and little tartness, just blah taste. I think that has to do with lack of fertilizing, and the alternating heavy rain and scorching sun. This induces a lot of cracked fruit, and we've had a lot of blossom end rot. A lot of the plants are mostly devoid of foliage now, and I'm sure that is what the fruit needs to help sweeten up, and lack of leaves leads to a lot of sun scalded fruit. I have lots of fruit that has just rotted on the vines because of this. I did a sampling this morning of some, and they were frankly not fit to eat, it was very disappointing.
But, although this report sounds dismal, there have been some bright spots. There are some plants that seem to have produced well, had decent resistance, and made good tasting fruit. Those include: Jaune Flamme, Chocolate Cherry, Gordost Sibiri, Siberian Pink Honey, Dr Wyche Yellow and Yellow Pear. I have other varieties that I haven't had a sufficient sampling of to make a judgement. I did pick one Black Krim yesterday, and it was fair, prob could've ripened a bit more. I will post my reviews of my others soon.
A few minutes after saying that my wife didn't notice much difference, I told her about my post and she said "that green one was good- sweeter than the others". Of course, with only 3 tomatoes on the whole bush, I imagine that it can concentrate the sugars rather well. She agreed that she would rather have 20 Big Beefs
Does either of Yellow Brandywine or Orange KY Beefsteak stand out in terms of productivity? Maybe I should add one of them next year.
I've usually been good about mulching them, but this year I've been better about keeping them in their cages and staking the cages when needed. I used to use landscape fabric or black plastic, but recently I've had good results with straw. I don't normally fertilize much, if any- just turning everything back into the ground seems to keep it pretty organic rich, along with all the leaf mulch I put in when I first dug it. I'm sure at some point I'll have an issue with planting tomatoes in the same spot again and again (maybe 4-5 years in a row now).
The problem with buying starts is that most sources get their plants from corporate operations that don't supply based on local conditions and tend not to be up to date. I've grown Big Beef in the past and it is quite productive, especially on years like this one where early blight has not been a big issue with most varieties in our region. As you already know, I grow Country Taste now as my mainstay producer but we eat a lot more of the better tasting Brandywine hybrids that have become available, which taste similar to the heirloom but are much more productive. Burpee's Brandyboy is one of these.
Country Taste is similar in flavor to old fashioned beefsteak types but is twice as productive here as any tomato I've ever grown. Along with Sungold it is the last to succumb to blight and it is always twice the size of any other tomato plant by the beginning of harvest.
Here we've been harvesting since the third week of June (Sungold) and began picking the Brandy types and CT in the first week of July. Starting your own plants in February can almost double your harvest season, but I wouldn't bother if I was only growing tomatoes so my wife had them for a single dish- Unless, she was completely ga-ga for that dish, of course.
You have an unusual palate, Bob. I don't know anyone else who doesn't enjoy fresh handmade mozzarella, locally baked italian bread, chopped fresh basil drizzled with cold pressed olive oil and topped with vine ripe tomatoes- and that is just one of many tomato based joys of summer.
It's a bit of a cost-benefit analysis- if you are only growing 10 plants, the $10 for the starts is about the same cost as the seeds (if you want several varieties). And a whole lot less work. The place I've been getting them is pretty big and has a lot of varieties. Just not Country Taste. They had Sungold and Brandywine though, as my father is growing both.
I did a bit of checking and found that almost all tomatoes are vulnerable to early blight. The closest I'm coming to growing a resistant one is that there is a strain of Mt Fresh (Mt Fresh Plus F1) which is resistant. And most of the ones resistant to early blight are susceptible to late blight. According to the chart, CountryTaste is vulnerable to both. Which means that either the Cornell chart is wrong, or there is some other factor which extends it's productive life. Maybe it gets the disease, but is able to keep putting out new growth?
It's a bit daunting to look at this chart- it has 32 different diseases and 7 other maladies that tomatoes can get. Eyeballing it, I don't see any with more than about 10 resistances (Big Beef has 10 of 32), which means that 2/3 of the diseases can still affect it (it has none of the other 7 problems, like cracking, sunburn, heat susceptibility, etc, similar to CountryTaste).
Now, diseases aren't necessarily even in terms of their frequency, so if you have resistance to the 10 most common problems (or the 10 that you see in local conditions) that is probably most important. I guess this underscores the importance of growing several varieties with different resistances, to decrease the chances of a complete wipe-out season.
She is, and I cook it at least 5 times a week while the tomatoes are coming in. Hmm- maybe I shouldn't want a longer season, as that sounds like a lot more work
Undoubtedly true. Fruit is actually one area where I like a much wider range (just about everything, except a few of the tropicals). In terms of "normal" foods, I eat a much smaller range. I don't like the smell of tomato plants or basil, but the one time I grew cilantro for my wife, the smell was among the worst things I've encountered.
I'm confused about "the green one was good", was that a Black Krim? Obviously, a green BK is unripe, they turn a purpleish color when ripe. I should mention the one plant we have is pretty productive, it had about a dozen fruit on a plant about 4 feet tall. But they're still too green to eat right now.
Last year the Yellow Brandywine was somewhat productive, but not as much the Orange Beefsteak. Both had very good flavor, sweeter than tart. But, this year the YBW has been very stingy while the OKB has produced more fruit per plant. None of the YBW are ready yet, I've had one OKB, and it was decent. I planted three Pink Brandywine's and they're put out more than the yellow version, but so far the taste has been bleccch. I don't know if I'm picking them too early, but they've been spitters. They looked dark pink on the bottom, but maybe they're just need to stay on the plant a bit longer.
I have read a lot of BW varieties can be notorious for low production, so if you want a lot of 'mater's, keep that in mind. Some folks have tried different strains of BW that have been more productive, though. I think @Drew51 had mentioned something about such strains.
I used tack straw for mulch that I bought from Tractor Supply, a farm chain store. It's got more " stickiness " than regular straw, which keeps it from blowing away as much. It's been very good so far, has held up well and stayed in place.
I start all my plants from seed that I bought online from ohioheirloomseeds.com . I have done this the last couple years and usually start them in mid-March in peat pods. After they germinate, I grow them under lights for about a month, then transfer them to cups. Last year I planted out the first of May, this year first of June.
Our first year we planted mostly starts from Lowe's or some other store. They did well, but deer devastated them, before we got a lot of fruit, but they were tasty. I think they were Mr Stripey and Pink Lady. I can't say I wouldn't try store/nursery plants again, but I just prefer to grow my own. It's kind of satisfying to see them grow from a little one inch seedling into a six foot monster. But, I can understand why people buy the plants, it's certainly more convenient.
The green one was Evergreen. Evidently they are completely green when ripe. I had forgotten which one was which and thought it was strange that animals kept taking bites out of the green ones. When I realized, I trimmed off the bites and cooked them together with some red ones.
But, there were only 3 large tomatoes on the bush- far, far less than the Big Beef. I see a couple more tiny ones, so maybe it will have a second round in September. I've grown Mr Stripey and some others (maybe Pineapple) which were very shy producers as well.
Sounds like I should give Orange Beefsteak a try.
Cornell is not really useful for this kind of thing IME because they are talking about one thing and not basing it on actual field conditions, probably. Otherwise it would be obvious in their guidance that vigor and high yield is a big part of how a tomato is effected by early blight. I have tried varieties that were bred for immunity but whatever I grew was worthless for my purposes due to flavor and the fact that it was probably a determinate variety, which might be good for you but not very useful to those of us who eat lots of tomatoes raw, off the vine. They are more for the industry, IMO, because they can be mechanically harvested as most of their fruit ripens at the same time.
Country Taste is exceptionally vigorous and when I give it copper sprays through spring it has produced perfect looking and nice tasting tomatoes until the weather gets too cool for several consecutive seasons. Like Carmine in the realm of red peppers, it is in a class of its own as far as productivity here. This is out of a field of probably 50 varieties I've tried over the years. With Carmine, I didn't even bother growing any other varieties for the last 2 seasons because it is both the sweetest AND the most productive sweet pepper I've ever grown. CTaste only wins the production category.
Carmine Sweet Bell Seed
Never heard of Evergreen, I'll have to check into it. We growing a green when ripe version, Aunt Ruby's German Green. Picked a 20oz fruit last week but had little flavor as well, and was quite pithy. Waiting on the others to ripen.
I grew Mr Stripey and Pineapple last year, all I got was puny little fruit, although the MS plants were 7' monsters.
I was out earlier and picked some more ripe fruit, including a beautiful Striped Roman. It looks like a San Marzano, long small fruit, prob a paste tomato. Except this one was red and had orange tiger-like stripes. Very attractive, and the taste was very good. I have two of these plants and they've been hit by BER and apparently some deer browsing. But there are still some fruit left. That one tom almost makes me want to try it again next year.