Such a difference - two Opalka tomatoes


Two plants, three feet apart. Same variety, Opalka. Why? What can I do?

First plant


Second plant


One is a bit yellowish and feeble, the other very dense.


How many years have you been planting tomatoes in that area?


Save seed from the dense one only. I hate that growth that is typical of paste tomatoes. Opalka is an extreme example of the “wispy” foliage.Those leaves look thick too, Both plants look decent to me… I’m growing Romeo and Cow’s Tit and they both have the wispy foliage too. Good growers though. Here I need to keep the leaves out of the soil Septoria spot fungi is all over here. So all that bottom growth is removed on mine.


First year in this spot.


Are you sure that the seed is not crossed? If one is a cross between Opalka and something else it may explain why they look different.


I bought the seeds from Tomato Grower’s Supply.


Maybe it’s just a crappy patch of soil.


I’ve not grown Opalka, but how are you going to get the fruit out of the cages?

The one Romeo I have going in the garden from your seeds Drew seems to be doing as well as the other toms in the rotation, but that wispy foliage has caused me to pause more than once to see if there was an issue. Just a whole different breed for me. I’m chomping at the bit in anticipation of this one!!!


Yeah well it is what it is. I found that as far as eating raw, nothing special, but found the sauce really good. I’m going to make small batches of sauce with Romeo and CT so I can compare them directly. Yes the foliage makes them look sick, I hate that! As you can’t tell when they are in trouble!


Yeah, the San Marzano that we grow a ton of are the same way - out of hand they’re not all that, but in cooking they’re the bees knees! I’m hoping these Romeo are half as big as the ones in your picture and that it makes enough to have a side-by-side comparison in whatever the bride decides to cook up :slightly_smiling_face:


Some Russian varieties, and others like Cream Sausage, I’ve grown have that frail wispy look to them, but hasn’t detracted from their production.


I made the cages from 6’ welded wire fencing. The holes are only 2 X 4”. Once I have something to harvest, I will cut larger holes with bolt cutters and bend back the cut wire so I don’t have sharp edges.

I just haven’t done it yet - not a priority until some fruits start ripening.


As fast as paste tomatoes, I also have San Marzano Redorta (much larger fruit and supposedly better out-of-hand flavor than standard San marzano, more like an Opalka). They are very similar looking plants.


I have seeds to that and only tried it one year. It didn’t grow well at all. I will try again sometime.
I like Opalka, I think it makes a decent sauce. I want to compare SM, Opalka, Romeo, and Polish Polish Linguisa.

I must admit my first batch i was kinda biased, as the plant was so prolific besides those few big ones, all off one plant btw. They are very light for the size, have little water and were so easy to make sauce out of. This made me very biased to like this one. This year I’ll let my wife choose the jar and strip the label off, so I don’t know what I’m using. My wife is a great cook, but I’m the sauce guy! Kinda the same bias with Opalka and Polish Linguisa as I’m also a Polish cultivar! :slight_smile:


I see. I hadn’t thought of that, but it makes sense. I use the concrete re-mesh stuff with 6x6 openings. I don’t like the space they take up at the end of the season in storage (not really a huge deal to stack 'em along the edge of the timber/field but still…) but I do like the access I have all season long to get in close for ground watering, to prune things up as needed, and the harvest.

Your Opalka’s look to be bushing up pretty good in there, I’d probably wanna cut some of them wires out before the toms get there just so I could get in there to make some judicial thinning cuts for air flow. But then we’re pretty humid a lot of the summer here.


This is the fruit on one of the smaller/weaker Opalkas


These are from the San Marzano Redorta


One of my San Marzano Redorta plants have already cleared the top of my 6’ homemade cage! I still have yet to pick a ripe tomato

Plenty of green ones, though.