I love growing and eating orange cherry tomatoes. The Sun Sugar and Sun Gold varieties have been by far the sweetest I’ve tried so far. I grow these in my greenhouse and my “unfinished” greenhouse. I also grow San Marino roma tomatoes and MoneyMakers. I don’t usually like the big beefeater types and have been unimpressed with the flavour of grape tomatoes. So grow SunSugar/Sun Gold for fresh snacking and Romas for my pasta sauces and MoneyMakers for salads and sandwiches.
I see chicken wire, is that for rabbit protection? Or rodents in general? I guess you don’t have to worry about deer?
I never have heard of Djena Lee, or Golden Jubilee, for that matter. Are those ones you’ve been growing a while?
I suppose you have to get your mater’s out earlier, because when the summer heat really sets in, tom season is over?
Hi Anthony, and welcome to the forum. If you like cherry type tomatoes, I highly recommend Chocolate Cherry, we’ve grown it for the last couple years here, and it is very productive, somewhat disease resistant, and the flavor is very tasty. A little bit smoky, and some sweet/tart as well.
They have always grown into 6ft monsters for us, so it might be a tight fit in your greenhouse, unless you have high roofs. But, you could prune them if necessary.
Yellow Pear is also a very prolific and large plant, producing little pear shaped fruit. They’re a bit sweet, but not too flavorful otherwise.
The chicken wire (around all the beds) is to protect from general animal traffic…neighborhood dogs/cats digging for moles/voles, dogs/foxes chasing rabbits, squirrels planting/harvesting their food - all these can damage new plantings out. I’ve seen deer but haven’t seen damage from them yet.
Djena Lee I found at Southern Exposure Seed Exchange when looking for an early yellow. I only grow 3-4 plants as DH loves tomatoes on his sandwiches so I try to get them as early as I can. Golden Jubilee was highly recommended by one of my garden gurus Steve Solomon who wrote Gardening when it Counts. He started Territorial Seed Co. and was into trialing varieties. This was his favorite and it is good and meaty. (I’ve learned to take more seriously advice from gardeners with grey hair as they are usually the more reliable sources of info - taking into account that all gardening is local.) Both varieties work good for my purposes as I don’t have interest/room for trialing others at this time. Yes, I’ve been growing them several years now and saving seed.
Heat here isn’t the problem for tomatoes, it is blight. Our warm wet summers that bring such lush growth is favorable to fungal problems so we have to keep up with it. I might cover peppers to shade them some from getting sunburn but tomatoes don’t seem to have a problem with it.
I planted quite a few tomatoes this year, but compared to many in here my varieties are very plain. I don’t start my own from seed, but rely on Lowe’s/Home Depot places–though they have a better selection than they used to. My Cherokee Purple is doing ok, already set a few tomatoes, one tennis-ball size already, and the Super Sweet Million and the Sungold have cherry tomatoes that should be turning color any day.
I saw one called Lemon Boy this year–I picked it up out of curiosity, and it’s already setting tomatoes like mad. Anyone grow that one?
I was debating picking up a Mr Stripey, though the reviews on that seem wildly mixed. My mom grew them in PA last year, in-ground in heavy clay soil (so not ideal conditions) and raved about how prolific it was, and how it was among the best tasting she ever had. (And it looked like the characteristic Mr Stripey tomato so I don’t think it was a case of mistaken identity.). So many other people have terrible reviews on it, though. I dunno.
I custom built my main greenhouse for growing Fuyu persimmon trees inside so its 10’ tall. Most of my tomato plants grow into 6’ monsters cause I grow them in 2’ cedar planter boxes fed with rabbit compost, fish guts, and watered with dirty koi pond water. When most of my neighbours are nursing 6" seedlings, my tomatoes in the greenhouse are usually 3 or 4’ tall already.
I’ll see if they sell Chocolate Cherry but I’ve never seen one in the local nurseries. May have to look for seeds in the specialty nurseries.
I went with Al’s 5-1-1 because here in Richmond there often is a spring rainy period that could keep the soil wet for weeks. I decided it was much easier to water more than it was to make it rain less.
I’ve been using it for basically everything, and I haven’t been disappointed yet even though I might have had better results from something with less pine bark.
I bought two cherry tomatoes last weekend and planted them in pots outdoors. They are doing very well and are now in bloom. I’d never seen these tomatoes before so I will be surprised. One is Purple Bumble Bee and the other is Pink Tiger!
Hey Anthony, I’ve never seen Chocolate Cherry plants at any nursery or other place that sells plants. But, I’ve been growing my tom’s from seeds for the last few years, so I don’t pay too much attention.
I got my CC seeds from a seller in Ohio, the site is ohioheirloomseeds.com. They have very reasonable prices on a good variety of tomatoes. Just about all my seeds I have came from them, and I’ve had good luck with them. They sell CC for $1.69 for about 30 seeds.
Sounds like you have a fertile mix to grow yer tom’s in. Bet that smells “interesting”!
Good luck with yer gardening endeavours.
We grew Mr Stripey the first year we got here, bought them from a local nursery. They grew into nice plants and the fruit was very tasty. Unfortunately, deer liked them more, and we were pretty much done with them after a month of them bearing.
We tried them again the next year, but we grew them from seed. After planting them in the garden, they grew into monsters, almost 7ft tall. But, lots of rain and poor mulching meant early diseases, and we didn’t get a lot of fruit off them, and those weren’t that good. We tried them one last time last year, and they disappointed again, so no go for this year.
I’ve read good and bad reviews of MS, but like folks say in here, it just depends on your location. You could just try a couple plants and find out.
Thanks, I’ll keep Golden Jubilee in mind, I noticed that Baker Creek sells them. I like the gold/yellow varieties prob a bit more than red/pink ones.
We tried Dr Wyche’s Yellow last year, and it was good and productive, but we decided not to grow it this year. Yellow Brandywine is another very tasty variety, but for the size it gets, it was a very stingy producer. We wanted good producers of mostly large-ish tom’s, with decent disease resistance. Looking to can a lot and make a bunch of salsa this year.
All gardening is local. I don’t use it but it would be helpful for the first up potting of seedlings. I use plastic pots, and often they just don’t dry well. Root systems are small and delicate. I plant out mostly in fabric.
I started out using it, and it just was not working at all for me. Even in traditional containers. It’s very dry here in the summer. I went to 4-1-1 and that still was too dry. I switched to 3-1-1 and also started using DE as I have used that since the 70’s when mineral mixes were popular for cacti.
If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. It works well in Oregon too.
I fight this same battle every year. Spring in Richmond tends to bring significant rainfall while late July and August bakes everything. My strategy has been to use cloth pots (30 gallon for indeterminates and 10 gallon for dwarf) with more peat and compost to keep things from drying out in the summer time. So far I have had a lot of success.
The humidity here does keep me from trying too many finicky heirlooms. Although, I did have a bumper crop of Brandywine last year. I stick to varieties that have fairly good yield and disease resistance. I tend to have good luck with mortgage lifter and better boy.
Feel free to let me know what works well for you.
This is the first year I’m taking tomatoes reasonably seriously. Last year I was dumb and didn’t replant out of the pots/soil that they came in from a big box store. I bought tomatoes from the Great Big Greenhouse store here this year, who I believe get their supply from a VA nursery, so the varieties should be at least somewhat suitable.
I had no idea what I was doing when I started out 2 years back. After some online research I found Al’s posts and they seemed to make sense, especially considering the central VA rainy time.
I thought about using cloth or terracotta back when I started, but terracotta of sufficient size for big bushes seemed extremely expensive and cloth difficult to move. I ended up using a line of Newbury plastic planters since the top end was 20 by 20 for $15.
I bury the rabbit compost under a thin layer of potting soil or triple mix (combined with vermiculite, perlite & peat moss). Virtually no smell.
Just saw this. Yes it and two more have ripened. Number four is turning red.
Very funny. Saw some rabbit compost in my rose garden today.
I used to grow that one, but I stopped because it was too productive!! No joke. I have a couple other yellows that I really like (Aunt Gertie’s Gold, Lillian’s Yellow and Yellow Brandywine) and they are all must-grows for me. With the addition of Lemon Boy, I found myself being over run with yellow tomatoes, so I haven’t grown it lately.
Lillian’s Yellow and Yellow Brandywine both have specific and unique tastes to me, but I’m honestly not sure if Aunt Gertie’s Gold and Lemon Boy were all that unique taste-wise. Both were very good, but I can’t recall if one tasted better than the other. I probably could have dropped or kept either one and have been happy, but I like the heirloom aspect of Aunt Gertie’s Gold and I like the name better than Lemon Boy so I kept that one.
I think you’ll be pleased with Lemon Boy.