I don't grow many tomatoes anymore but when I was really into it I would plant about four Early Girl (indeterminate) and several Celebrity's (determinate). The Early Girl wasn't as good as Celebrity but with it ripening a few weeks earlier was nice. There are so many good tomato varieties now I would probably just refer to the forum members choice.
I forgot to mention I'm trying Bear Creak another dark tomato. Sounds like a winner, my seeds were getting very old, but germinated fine, I have 2 plants going. Slow to start, now picking up!
A truly special black tomato, from a truly special place: Bear Creek Farms. This tomato is one of the best fresh
slicers we know of, producing loads of 8-12 ounce fruit. Regular leaf, indeterminate
Keith Mueller's cross of heirloom varieties, developed at Bear Creek Farms and released in 2009.
First offered commercially by Gourmet Seed International in 2009.
First introduced in Seed Savers 2009 Yearbook by Robbins Hail of Osceola, Missouri (MO HA R2).
Obtained free from barefootgardener on Growing Fruit.org
I'm also growing a couple pastes
Growth habit indet.
Leaf type regular
Fruit color red
Fruit shape elongated, banana
Fruit size medium
Fruit type paste, cooking
Variety type open-pollinated
Introduced to SSE in 1991 by R. W. Richardson of New York. Original seed
obtained through a swap with a West Virginia gardener. Productive plants
loaded with 7" long red paste tomatoes. Rich full flavor and few seeds.
Excellent for processing, especially good for salsa. Indeterminate, 85
days from transplant.
Purchased From Seed Savers Exchange
I'm also trying striped Roman. I know some have had some problems with BER with these. Here I usually don't have much of a problem with BER. Although these are also susceptible to Septoria Spot, and that is a huge problem here. So this may not be a keeper for me. Depends how well i battle it. thick mulch for sure! Stop that splashing!
Well I like to grow mostly heirlooms, so often the ones I grow are not trouble free. But the heirlooms are used to make the hybrids, so somebody has to keep them going.
Many here though know the good hybrids. I wanted to try Brandy Boy. I heard it was excellent and a lot more productive then Brandywine. Brandy Boy though would not be here if Ben Quisinberry didn't grow and save Brandywine seeds year after year. All originate from him
Drew, I don't see Brad's Dark Heart in the list of dark tomatoes you've tested, so you better keep going.
I like hearts too! Hearts are usually good to eat fresh and make a good sauce too as they are meaty like pastes. Thanks for the tip!
I grow six black varieties (among 16 total varieties) this year: Black Giant, Paul Robeson, Arbuznyi, Black Krim, Black from Tula and Black Prince (two plants of each variety). All my tomatoes are in the ground since March 8, but we had a cold and late spring (by California standards), so tomatoes didn't grow as fast as usual. Black Krim seems like it will be the first to ripen, it's pretty close. Paul Robeson and Black Giant will probably be next. Last year, I grew Black Prince, it was not super tasty, but produced well through our summer heat when most other tomatoes didn't. I need tomatoes that can produce when it's scorching hot during the summer (our summer days can be consistently 95+ F, with occasional heat waves of 100+ F), this is why I'm trialing 16 varieties this year.
Yes most stop at about 85F so yeah what works for you probably will hate my environment and vice versa. Last year we had 2 days in the 90's/ It's usually mid 70's. It can go over 100F, but it has been awhile. Last year was very cold here. I would try some of the Italian tomatoes they seem to work well in heat. Give us a report on them when the season is over!
I'm growing about 16 varieties too, well a little less this year. I grow about 16 usually and 16 peppers too.
They were under 82F grow light.
I had difficulty germinating hot pepper seeds until I started using heat mat two years ago. Because the room temperature in my home is usually below 68 degrees indoor when I start them around end of December, I would put the pots inside sealed ziplock bags (and with bags of pots sitting on heat mat) to keep the heat trapped. Only then, I would be able to feel the pots warmed up.
Usually viable seeds will germinate between 7-14 days under these conditions. As soon as the seedlings emerge (before the leaves even open up), I would unzip the bags to let the seedling acclimatize to the dry indoor condition. That also helps make the later hardening-off process easier.
I find that once germinated, the pepper seedlings do not need as high a temperature to continue growing. Since I don't use grow light, I move them to south facing window sills during the day and move them back to heat mat in the evening. It seems like a lot of work but the satisfaction I gain from watching them grow while most plants outside are almost stagnant is more than worth it.
Bottom heat! You have to have a heat mat, and a thermostat is nice to have too.
Z9gardener mentions humidity too, that helps. I use a seed tray with heat mat, thermostat to keep it at about 80F. And I have a dome that fits on the seed tray with vents to keep it humid. As Z9 stated once germinated both humidity and bottom heat are not needed, but don't hurt either.
Old refrigerators can get hot on top. And putting seed tray on top of the fridge works too! What I did before I had a heat mat.
@Z9gardener and Drew. I asked my right hand man aka hubby. He said he used a heat mat but it still was not very successful. Sprouted but not that strong growth.
Are they still under grow light? If so, maybe a few hours of sunlight a day will strengthen them up.
Also, the soil must not be too wet. I'd let the top surface of the soil to dry up before watering.
No, they are out in the garage getting some light (if we have any). The soil wetness could be an issue they were more wet than dry.
If the weather is still cool with day time in mid 60's or below and cloudy, I'd put them back on heat mat, Let the heat drive off some moisture. Otherwise, the seedlings are just sitting in cold wet soil, not a condition conducive to growing pepper. If there's not much sunlight, then grow light will have to do then.
My plants are planted out in this wetness, and yes, it's not helping! It's slowly slowing down with rain every other day, that helps.
When you plant out you can bury stems on both peppers and tomatoes. But not too much on peppers. Unlike tomatoes, they don't grow roots on stems, but it doesn't hurt them either if a little buried. On tomatoes you could bury the whole plant and it sprout up and grow.
My experience is that they do root from the stem, although maybe not as quickly as tomatoes? When I keep my pepper seedlings in small cells (I start them in 72 cell trays) for too long, they all start pushing roots from the stems the base of their stems above the soil line just like my tomatoes. When I go from the small cell trays to pots, I use 12 oz plastic cups with cuts in the bottom for drainage. Since they're fairly tall, I can put the plant at the bottom and top fill the cup. And when I transplant I can see they've rooted out from the stems giving me a larger root mass, so I plant them deep enough to be able to cover another inch or two more of the stem. By the time they're planted out, I've basically moved the soil line up the stem 3-5 inches.
I'm not sure if it is as helpful as it is with tomatoes, but I do this in part since we have such hot summers and have lately had very little rain in July and August, so I think this gets their roots down further in the soil when planted out. Of course I might not really be doing anything beneficial for them, but they certainly seem to grow well. I guess the only real way to see if it is helpful is to grow some keeping them just as first sown and others planted so they can root from the stems.
I do think when they're really small, you might risk damping off or some type of fungus/rot on the stems before they root, since they don't seem to root out from the stems quite as quickly as the toms.
When I think about it, at the end of the year, the peppers have roots on anything underground. I do pretty much what you do. I found it works well too. I read something about them not rooting on the stem, I never really looked.
I have one grafted tomato which survived the torture (just one out of 15 that I tried). It looked very small and unhappy comparing to the regular plants. Now it recovered and it quickly catches up. It is almost the same size as the original plant it was grafted from.
And this is its parent.
The variety is Yablochniy lipetskiy. It makes large red and very delicious tomatoes, but it is not very disease resistant.
Also the tomatoes on Red Pear Franchi are growing. The other tomatoes had flowers but none set any fruits. If only I can figure out how to make them all to set fruits early, I'll have tomatoes before the fourth of July.
I put all my toms in the ground yesterday and got the cages in and staked. That is a first for me to get them staked so early, usually I have a few get blown over in the wind . these are the ones I am growing.
Fred's Tie Dye
Palmiras Northern Italian Beefsteak
Middle Tennessee Low Acid
Brandywine Landis Valley