2010 Tomato Roundup

comments (75) September 10th, 2010

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Ruth Ruth Dobsevage, Web producer
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For salads, sauces, soups, and snacks, homegrown tomatoes cant be beat. What varieties did you grow this year, and what did you think of them?
Hot, dry weather made for a bountiful, blight-free harvest. The tomato gods smiled on New England in 2010.
Why limit yourself to round tomatoes? This is Amish Paste, and it will ripen to a nice red in a week or so.
For salads, sauces, soups, and snacks, homegrown tomatoes cant be beat. What varieties did you grow this year, and what did you think of them?Click To Enlarge

For salads, sauces, soups, and snacks, homegrown tomatoes can't be beat. What varieties did you grow this year, and what did you think of them?

Photo: Ruth Dobsevage

It's been a banner season for tomatoes in southwestern New England. With temps in the 90s much of the time and not much rain, the plants have flourished and the fruit seems exceptionally tasty.

As the produce piles up on the kitchen table, gardeners take stock of the season. Now, while everything is fresh in your mind, is the best time to evaluate what crops did well, what failed miserably, what tasted great, and so on. Even as the growing season draws to a close, we start to make our plans for next year. 

Cornell's Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners lists an astonishing 775 tomato varieties, and you can sort through taste, yield, and reliability ratings on that site. Or, for a less exhaustive experience, you can read about the 16 varieties I grew this year, and post comments on your tomato favorites below. 

Of the 16 I grew, Sun Gold, Juliet, Jet Star, and Celebrity are hybrids. Most are indeterminate, but Jet Star is described as "compact indeterminate" and grows less rampantly than the others. Just for the record, my tomato patch this year is on a west-facing slope. It's shaded until mid-morning, but gets good sun after that.

Juliet tomato and Sun Gold tomato
Juliet (left) looks just like a store-bought grape tomato. The plants are sturdy and highly productive, and the fruit is red, oval, and very consistent in size and shape. These are meaty and are good for drying and sauce, as well as in salads. If you grow Juliets, clean up fallen fruit after frost, or you'll be faced with volunteer plants everywhere next season.   Sun Gold, an orange cherry tomato, is always the first to fruit in my garden and one of the most productive varieties. With its bright, tangy flavor, it's perfect for snacking, and also nice in salads. In wet years, the fruit tends to split easily. Like Juliets, Sun Golds reseed readily, so clean up well in the fall.
     
 Principe Borghese tomato    Riesentraube tomato
Principe Borghese is small, roundish, and red, with a little point at the end. It's grown primarily for drying. I've had good luck with these, but may not grow them next year.   Riesentraube impresses with its prolific clusters of small, red fruit. It's new to my garden this season, and will probably be back for several years to come. I'll be dehydrating some soon.


Red Pear tomato
  Red Pear
Red pear
... the name pretty much says it all. For some reason I'm not so crazy about this type. Not that it's bad, but the fruit is small and I don't think the flavor quite measures up. You do get a huge yield, though, so if you like them, you're in luck.

Celebrity
, Carmelo, and Jet Star are three "normal" tomatoes (i.e., red and round). The fruit is medium to large in size, firm fleshed (good for slicing), and ripens to a deep, satisfying red. These are all fine for sandwiches. If I had to pick a favorite here, it would be Carmelo, for its flavor, though the hybrids tend to be somewhat more productive.

Carmelo, Jet Star, Celebrity tomatoes
Carmelo, Celebrity, and Jet Star tomatoes look pretty much the same. All are good choices for the home gardener.

The mottled, bruised look of black tomatoes takes some getting used to, but trust me, their flavor is exceptional. This year I passed on Black Krim, which hasn't grown well for me, and planted Paul Robeson and Black Prince. Both have been exceptionally productive and very tasty. Black tomatoes look very exotic in salads, especially when mixed with yellow and orange tomatoes (and garnished with nasturtium flowers).

 Paul Robeson tomato   Black Prince tomato
Paul Robeson fruit is large and not perfectly round. Touch them lightly to check for ripeness, as they may not look ripe, but they are.   Black Prince is mid-size and has an oval shape.

Opalka, Linguisa, Amish Paste tomatoes   Speckled Roman tomato
I grew four paste tomatoes this year: Opalka, Linguisa, Amish Paste (left) and Speckled Roman (right). All are good-sized, oddly shaped, meaty, and delicious. Of these, Amish Paste has been the most productive in my garden. Only Speckled Roman, with its streaky orange/red pattern, would win a beauty contest; the others are homely, and for that reason, maybe appealing. Paste tomatoes are the mainstay of sauce, but can be eaten fresh as well.

 Jaune Flammee tomato   Wapsipinicon Peach tomato
Last but not least, two light-colored favorites, especially when mixed in salads: Jaune Flammée and Wapsipinicon PeachJaune Flammée (photo, left, by Seed Savers Eschange) is a small tomato that ripens to a velvety orange color; it's very attractive and very good to eat. Wapsipinicon Peach (right) looks a little anemic and weird. It's a very pale yellow with a bumpy, slightly fuzzy skin. It's ripe before it looks ripe, so squeeze the fruit from time to time to check. The flavor? Outstanding.

For information on planting, pruning, trellising, and cooking with tomatoes, see All About Tomatoes.


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Comments (75)

nevasgarden writes: This is the first year I tried the tomato/potato plant. Just looking for something new. The tomatoes are just starting to ripen. There is quite an abundance of tomatoes.

I also did the Early Girl. More tomatoes than I could use. Had to give some away. But now I'm ready to start canning. Good crop so far this year.
Posted: 7:34 pm on July 31st
Ossining writes: Thanks for showing me what "Sun Gold" cherry tomatoes look like. I bought/planted "Sun Gold" this year and I got cherry tomatoes as large as baseballs!! They were a bright yellow and consistently large. Does anyone know this tomato??

Also grew "Old German" and "Rutgers". Still looking for the perfect tomato for Zone 6. Thanks for the Green tomato recipies too.
Posted: 7:29 pm on October 31st
CarmCarter writes: I live in Zone 5, Kansas City, MO. I gre:
Juliet
Park's Whopper
Big Beef
Celebrity

All of my tomatoes plants were doing well until a three week period of hot and dry weather hit. The Park Whopper was the only one that withstood the heat wave. The Juliet plant also hung on but did not produce as heavily as the previous year.

Juliet is usually an outstanding performer and I like to cut it's tomatoes in half, drizzle them with balsamic vinegar and dry them in the oven. I then put the dried tomatoes on a cookie sheet and pop it in the freezer. Once they are frozen solid they go into a freezer bag to be enjoyed throughout the winter. Yum!
Posted: 8:24 pm on October 14th
Lynsue writes: I live in Lockport, NY compared to the loss of all my plants to blight last year, this was a great year. We had the right amount of rain and heat this summer. Planted about 4doz. plants including Early Girl (didn't produce to good this year)- Better Boy - Beef Steak - Beef Master (always been my fav) also Sweet 100's & Grape, my grandkids love to stand in the garden and eat those right away when they help me pick. I freeze and can the tomatoes, made up for the lack of them last year. Have never done them from seeds always buy the plants, am thinking about doing it different for next season (try anyways - maybe save alittle?)
Posted: 11:17 am on October 14th
myseasons writes: As a lot of you know, this was a very strange year for summer gardens in parts of California. Where I live it was the 16th coldest year in the last 107.
Of the varieties I grew the KELLOGGS BREAKFAST, when it finally produced, did extremely well. Some of the tomatoes might not have been as large as usual but they were all in the "beefsteak" range in size. Very worth while.
The SAN MARZANO, a roma type, also did well and is still producing. (at this moment we are having summer... it is (90 degrees plus all this week and most of last)
The GREEN ZEBRA, also late, but developed nicely, but perhaps a tad smaller than usual.
The most interesting is the OXHEART. It was not as "gigantic"
as one expects. If left to fully ripen on the vine it became very soft. I had read that tomatoes ripening when the night temperatures were too low would soften. It had never happened to mine before, but I never had summer night temperatures so low. Many mornings the plants woke up to 47 degree temperatures. My solution to the problem was to pick them when they were really red with green shoulders and ripen them on the counter top. Perhaps not as good as we expect from home grown, but passable.
Hear in Northern California is was a year to learn new things.
Posted: 11:05 am on October 14th
Cityfarmer writes: Not a great tomato year in central North Carolina - early heat wave affected setting of fruit. We really liked the Cherokee variety which had won the "tomato of the year award" the previous year at the local county fair. It had a great flavor and not much pulp.
Posted: 7:45 am on October 14th
TNFarmerLady writes: I am located in middle TN,at the bottom edge of Zone 6 or the top edge of Zone 7, depending on which map you use.
Two favorite heirlooms I have are MR. STRIPEY and CHEROKEE PURPLE. My mother grew Mr. Stripey for years and years, and I continue the practice. Both Mr. Stripey, a large, beautiful yellow and pink striped fruit, and Cherokee Purple, a medium-sized dark, purplish red fruit, have awesome flavor for fresh eating.
Posted: 8:28 pm on October 13th
KE1 writes: I grew some "jellybean hybrid" tomatoes from seed this year. As of today, Oct.13, we still haven't had a freeze and all my tomatoes have been doing great as the season closes down, but have been extremely happy with the flavor and production of these small bite-size tomatoes.
Posted: 12:11 pm on October 13th
emfdvm writes: I had 5 tomato plants this year, all new-to-me varieties. It was also the first year in many that I was gardening in MN, just outside Minneapolis.
Roma - fruits rather tasteless, and severely affected by fungal disease late in season. Prolific.
Green Zebra - VERY prolific, good tart taste and firm texture, pretty good disease resistance.
Red Brandywine - disappointing - fruit lacked flavor and was mealy, lots of cracking/cat-facing on stem end. Disease resistance was good until end of season and then everything, including fruit badly affected.
Pink German Johnson - surprising. Had very late start, but good finish. Fruits were best of the garden, sweet and juicy with firmness - only slightly affected by disease, and were the least affected fruit-wise.
Jaune Flammee - very early and productive. First affected by fungal disease. flavor was good - sweet and juicy.
Posted: 10:19 am on October 13th
Samd9999 writes: I'm from North-East TN. I love growing Brandywines. You can't match the flavor of heirlooms. But around here for the last 2 yrs. everyone in the area has had trouble with some sort of virus or fungus. The plants start wilting and dying from the ground up. Have and idea what it is but not sure how to stop it.

Posted: 2:06 pm on October 10th
Daylily1940 writes: I had a very good year for tomatoes here in central NY. Enough rain and warm weather. I no longer raise my own plants but buy one of each variety that I want. Tried Big Beef this year for the first time and was very pleased. Not real prolific but is a great tomato for sandwiches. Very meaty and flavorful. Also had scads of Juliet and sweet 100's! I dry the Juliets, they're wonderful that way. Had several heirloom tomatoes which were also good just not as sweet as most of the hybrids. I don't plan to have Jet Star next year as they weren't big producers.
Posted: 8:36 pm on October 7th
fusako writes: My tomatoes here in Northern Virginia grew well this year with hardy plants, no sign of blight, and good yields. The problem I had was widespread "cracking" around the stem end of the tomatoes. I planted several varieties and all of them suffered from this unattactive problem. We had periods of drought followed by several days of drenching rain throughout the summer, so I attribute this cracking to these conditions. If any else has a better explanation, I would appreciate your comments.
Posted: 3:05 pm on October 7th
abcornwell writes: From Gastonia, NC, near Charlotte ... this was a sad year for tomatoes. A number succumbed to some kind of wilt, suddenly, in late June ... and it was so hot and rainless here that I couldn't keep the remaining few adequately watered. It was almost too hot and humid to go out and garden, even at 7 am. So sad, sucky weather. Finally am able to get back to gardening these cooler October days - 60 to 70 degrees and sunny and I don't have to bathe in DEET to keep the biting insects away.
Posted: 4:36 pm on October 6th
Tengrain writes: I started my tomato plants from seed as always (Paul Robson, Carnival, and Elfie - all heirlooms I've grown before, all beefsteak size) and set out sturdy seedlings in late April as per usual here in the SF South Bay (San Jose, Sunset zone 15).

As of this writing I have had exactly 4 tomatoes, all of them very small. We did have an unusually mild summer, so I am blaming the weather. Everyone in my neighborhood that grows tomatoes has had a similar yield. My friends who live father south (Gilroy and Morgan Hill areas) tell me that they had a best-ever season.


Posted: 12:14 pm on October 6th
sneezepac writes: I grew my plants from seed, variety "Endless Summer", indeter. NONE of these ever ripened. It was very hot and dry in Aug. and Sept. and I could not keep them watered. I will not try this one again. Neighbors of mine grew Better Boy, and had tons of fruit.
Posted: 10:04 am on October 6th
Thryth writes: I live in the Pacific Northwest, in Washington state, half way between Seattle and Tacoma in a small town called Auburn. As said in a previous comment, summers often don't happen here in the Pacific Northwest. Even when we do have what can be called summer, they can be rather unspectacular. This summer was one of those less than spectacular summers. Actually, if truth be told, it was a disaster. It started out with some unseasonably warm temperatures and dry skies very early on - the sort of thing that lures even the most seasoned of gardeners out to work the soil. Unfortunately, after planting my raised beds with my carefully selected plants: tomatoes, green bell peppers, broccoli, eggplants, mini watermelon, shallots, and garlic, the weather failed us in a big way. The skies went from blue to gray, the temperatures fell and the rain turned my beautiful little garden back to mud. The watermelon plants simply disappeared, the green bell peppers and the eggplants never even flowered, and everything else just sort of stopped growing. Throughout the summer warm sunny days were almost non existent, and very few gardeners, including the professionals, had much luck growing much of anything. I'd planted just one gorgeous specimen of Sun Gold cherry tomato this year, because I had more tomatoes than I knew what to do with from the two cherry tomato plants in my garden last year. My neighbors started refusing my offers of tomatoes by the middle of July last year, but not so this year! I've only gotten a few handfuls of ripe fruit, definitely not enough to give any away. And now that fall is here with its rain and colder temperatures, I'm not expecting much more than another handful of tomatoes before it freezes. I have hundreds of marble-sized green tomatoes and not much else. Maybe next year will be better . . .
Posted: 10:02 pm on October 5th
Dinksgirl writes: I live in teh St. Louis area - zone 6b. Very hot humid summer this year following last year's cool and rainy one. I start my own seeds and planted Park's Whopper, Ildi, Jelly Bean, Red Alert, and Super Marzanos this year. I had high hopes for the Marzanos but will never plant them again - huge problems with blossom end rot all through the growing season. None of the other varieties showed any signs of BER. Many of the Marzanos cracked at the shoulders and some would turn to mush on the vine. The flavor isn't so great for general eating, but they do make a good sauce. I bought 2 Amish Paste plants as back up and just picked the first ones this week - they taste wonderful and had no BER problems at all. My Park's Whoppers produced reliably all summer even with he heat. The Ildi is a great yellow pear tomato and the Jelly Bean lived up to it's name - very sweet and great flavor.

Posted: 11:09 am on October 5th
garcengranny writes: This was my worst tomato crop ever. I supported the FFA group where my son-in-law teaches. Bought big beautiful plants. Had a late freeze, they were all destroyed. Scrounged the countryside for more plants could only find a few left-overs. One variety was stupice, which I renamed stupid. Not as big as golf balls. Extremely rainy spring had to put umbrellas over my plants to keep them from drowning. Plants finally started ripening in mid August. Tomatoes seemed mushy with tough skins. My favorite tomato is Goliath but couldn't find any at the late date. On a sunnier note it is October 4 and we are still picking tomatoes Better luck next year. Zone 4.
Posted: 4:22 am on October 5th
Nanamadre writes: I had so many different types of tomatoes this year, I'm not even sure what they were all called. They all took off like crazy, grew and grew and bloomed and we still have a ton of green tomatoes out there because we had a mild summer, and hardly ever was hot enough, long enough to ripen anything. The only ones we did have a consistent supply of was our cherry tomatoes. Great for salads, but I had so many plans that I'll have to put off until next year. Maybe I should see about making some fried green tomatoes....
Posted: 1:15 am on October 5th
mtomato writes: I live in Southern California and have awesome weather for
growing tomatoes. I had grown over 100 varities over the past
20 years. Outstanding ones have been Momotaro, Druzba,
Black from Tula, Sungold cherry, Sweet Baby Girl and Carmello.

The Carmello has produced better and longer in our area than
any other tomato. I start these plants from seed and have continued harvesting tomatoes until as late as the following January.

Sweet Baby girl and Sungold cherry have also been awesome
producers.

mtomato, Arcadia, California
Posted: 11:04 pm on October 4th
bishop70 writes: Planted Box Car Willie,Early Wonder, Jet Star, Early Girl, Beefmastwe, Rutgers, Brandywine, Marianna's Peace, Better Boy, Bull's Heart, Church (New for Me)and Mt. Spring (New for Me). 27 plants, still coming in. Church 2 pounders, Bull's heart 2 pounders, loved Brandywine. Best year I ever had.
Posted: 8:26 pm on October 4th
drx writes: Prudence Purple heirloom...prolific producer in mid Atlantic southern MD...4th year in a row....big, almost seedless, sooooo meaty....many many meals of lettuce leaf basil, mozzerella, and Prudence, and a freezer full of dehydrated seasoned Prudence tomatoe "chips" as well....indeterminate so, the 24 strong, 6 ft cages were a a good investment for these babies
Posted: 7:55 pm on October 4th
COsprout writes: Hi there,

I'm near Denver CO, zone 5. This year my seeds didn't do so well, so I picked up a few Big Boy plants at a home store. I was disappointed: they taste OK, but were mostly juice & seeds with not much meat.

I plan to go back to Brandywines next year. The only problem I've ever had with them is when the plants get so huge they're hard to reach through at harvest.
Posted: 6:51 pm on October 4th
hazelmac writes: I am in a Zone 2b, Regina, Saskatchewan Canada.
My favorite tomato this year was the Yellow Fargo Pear. It is a Heritage variety, and yielded beautifully.

My least favorite was the Valentine. Poor yield and tall stringy plants.

Sorry but the rest of my crop got late blight as did our whole area.....miles and miles of Saskatchewan gardens were hit.
Posted: 4:22 pm on October 4th
soilcreener writes: I planted two plants, one "german Heirloom" and the other a "grape" tomato, both from Lowes. We had the hottest summer ever recorded here in Raleigh NC with over 100 days above 90 and many of those days in the very high 90's. It was also an extremely dry summer, and although I supplemented water regularly and kept the plants mulched, they just sat there and suffered in the heat and dry soil. I wish that we had had the success that other NC report, but it was not to be for us.

Got many flowers, but no tomatoes on the large plant until a few green ones appeared in late July. The cherry type produced a mere handful of tiny but tasty tomatoes.

I returned from a three week trip to find 3 gorgeous looking tomatoes on the "heirloo," plant, picked them only to find that each was half eaten away. The cherry tomato had been attacked by a tomato hornworm, which was visible, but already parasitized by the wasp that controls it, so I left it there. The leaves grew back and some new flowers appeared and there are now little green tomatoes on the plant. The" German Heirloom" plant is beautiful and bushy now with some green tomatoes I hope for some tomatoes from it, even at this late date!
Posted: 3:11 pm on October 4th
island_thyme writes: Seattle summers...often don't happen and this was one of those. My small cherry and yellow pears did well but my San Marzano's were a flop and my heart was broken. It's a good thing I have lot's of "green tomato" recipes handy.
But we always have next year I am starting my plan of attack already. With hopes of lot's of sunshine (and a green house for back-up)Enjoy

Posted: 12:36 pm on October 4th
aruwe writes: I am in zone 4/5 Omaha, NE.
This was my first vegetable garden and I grew four tomato plants:
Pink Lady
Cherry 100
Lemon Boy
Cherokee Purple

All of my plants have produced well and continue to grow. I didn't prune the plants at all and none of my supports were adequate to the task of containg and supporting the full plant. I will know better next year.
My Pink Ladies grew and ripened pretty much all at once and then had a revival and are now ripening here and there again to keep me in stock. Love this tomato.
My cherry 100 took over the world - literally engulfed a quarter of my 375 sp ft garden this year. The first growth of tomatoes tasted much better than the newer tomatoes, but I liked that these were ready before my larger tomatoes were ripened.
My lemon boy was a sprawl of vines and fruit and more a novelty of color for me than a spectacular tomato.
My cherokee tomato was AWESOME. It is an heirloom and i love the taste and the look of the fruit. I have never seen a more beautiful tomato in my life. However, it takes diligence in picking to get this fruit at its optimum. It is not a hardy tomato and I would say at least half went straight to my compost pile because they were overripe by the time i got to them. However, I will definately plant again next year if I can find a transplant and look forward to branching out into more heirloom varieties.
Posted: 12:32 pm on October 4th
cgrow writes: I tried these varieties this season:
Yellow Pear
Celebrity
Lemon Boy
Roma
Amish Paste

Bonus: A rogue from my table scraps from last year that turned up too late to turn red/yellow.

We had an unusually cool and wet spring and early summer in Taylorsville, UT Zone 5 this year. The Romas experienced blossom end rot and the only two that did well were the Amish Paste and the Yellow Pear. I couldn't keep up with the Yellow Pear. I'm still undecided if my garden gets too much shade. Same space produced fairly well last year.
Posted: 11:47 am on October 4th
cplbutch writes: South of Seattle WA. wet, dreary summer makes for Tomatoes rotting on vine. Got the Green house finished this soummer so im gone try winter and early spring plantings, after I read all about Tomatoes.
Posted: 10:28 am on October 4th
IhateBugs writes: I live south of Houston, TX in zone 9b. I've been gardening more than 40 years and love it (except when it gets unbearably hot like it did this summer!
I planted tomatoes from seed I sowed indoors on heat mats back in January...set them out at the end of March and used row covers for protection.
The past few years, since I have a backyard garden, I just plant Determinate tomatoes...the Indeterminates take too much room, but some of the ones that grow well are Big Boy, Better Boy, & Money Maker.
I always order seed that are Hybrids with good disease resistance and heat tolerance: Celebrity, Carnival and SunMaster. Next year I plan to add FloriDade, SolarSet or Merced.
I don't can the tomatoes anymore; just cut up and freeze - you don't have to blanch them either.
By the end of July it is so hot the stinging bugs take over, so I pull all the tomato plants up and plant okra, corn, purple hull peas and peanuts.
Happy Gardening!

Posted: 2:07 am on September 30th
Cleodana writes: Tomatoes from last year seeded themselves and I had several nice plants of mini yellow pear tomatoes. I took a sturdy seedling and planted it in one of the highly touted "as seen on TV" hanging tomato bags. Here on Long Island we suffered this past summer with day after day of 90-plus degree heat and almost no rainfall. In order to keep the bagged tomato plant from wilting, I had to water it at least twice a day. Some days the plant nearly got cooked by the heat and sun, and at times I felt that I was becoming a slave to it's seemingly insatiable thirst. Meanwhile, the other tomato plants in the ground or in self-watering grow boxes did not require the same level of vigilant attention. However, as compensation for my efforts,that one hanging, bagged plant, is still producing oodles of little yellow pear tomatoes. But I will NEVER, EVER use one of those growing bags again -- at least not for tomatoes!
Posted: 9:40 pm on September 29th
Parkay24 writes: I’m in Frederick County Maryland in zone 6

Chelsea – a large, sturdy cherry tomato with a great yield and good flavor.

Hillbilly – a yellow and red striped heritage tomato with great flavor and moderate yield, but many of the tomatoes split

Cherokee Purple – small yield, many split

Posted: 1:14 pm on September 29th
growing writes: Although Victoria, BC had temperatures below normal all season (La Nina blamed) and most gardeners did not harvest many ripe tomatoes before the blight came mid-september because of early rains, I managed to get quite a few. I started them inside mid-March and kept them in an unheated greenhouse from late April until the end of May, then out into the garden. Rocket was ripe, small but delicious from early July to mid-Sept, but then the foliage turned black and they were no longer sweet. Lots of splits due to the rain, but not with Ardwyna Paste, which is still producing now.
Posted: 11:34 am on September 29th
Piadora writes: I live in Ontario, zone 5B, and due to a poor tomato crop last year (cool and rainy) I selected only a couple of varieties of tomatoes to grow in our "square foot" raised bed organic garden this year. We live two blocks from the heart of our downtown in an older area with lots of mature trees so siting the garden left only the front yard which gets the sunlight required for growing vegetables (this year, my garden included two kinds of cucumbers on trellises, beans, peas, kale, 25 potato plants, peppers, beets and carrots, and two kinds of summer squash in addition to the tomatoes, all of which did fairly well except the beets and carrots which got shaded out by the tomato plants. Will not plant squash next year but everything else will be a repeat, just sited differently.)

For the second year in a row a friend had saved seeds from store-bought Campari tomatoes, a small apricot-sized tomato that is deep red and delicious. Last year they were the only tomato that produced anything at all, in spite of the weather. These little gems are grown either hydroponically or in green houses in southern Ontario. My friend started the seeds and brought me about 25 seedlings in April. I planted 6 and gave the rest away. These little gems were the most profilic of producers and taste great! We have eaten them as snacks, in salads, roasted for soup, and in quick little-cook tomato sauces, and I am still picking them even in the cool fall weather we've had lately.

I also planted a couple of heritage Brandywine and had good luck with those as well especially during the hottest part of the summer. Huge tomatoes that were sweet, low-acid and perfect for sandwiches and slicing just to eat as a side dish.

Some yellow pears tomatoes and some "sweetie" cherry tomatoes did very well in containers on the patio. Sorry, but have forgotten the specific variety.

On the Fine Gardening site, I took the recommendation of one of your tomato videos that encouraged gardeners to snip the new growth between the stalk and mature leaves. I did this for all my plants and had a significant improvement in quantity of fruit over the whole summer for all the tomatoes I planted.
Posted: 9:28 am on September 29th
mmarston writes: I live near Albany, NY and after the disaster of last years blight this season was great. I'm still getting good tomatoes at the end of September.
I have grown various heirlooms for six years.
My current favorites are:
Chocolate Stripes, lovely, large, dark and luscious.
If I could only grow one tomato this is the one!
Brandywines of course.
Goldman's Italian American, a great sauce and eating tomato from Amy Goldman.
Matt's Wild Cherry in pots on the deck for snacking.

Posted: 8:33 am on September 29th
saladgoddess writes: I'm in Minnesota, about Zone 4a.

This year I grew 4 kinds of tomatoes, about 20 plants, most in pots, a few in the ground.

SUPER SWEET 100 -- great producer, not as sweet as I recall from years past. Oven dried hundreds of these

FOURTH OF JULY -- Good yield, tough skin, very firm fruit, Excellent oven-drier for intense tomato sauce

SUMMER'S CHOICE -- O.K. yield, slightly tough skin, but nice eater.

CHEROKEE PURPLE -- Terrible yield, lots of blossom-end rot. But the 3 or 4 good tomatoes I got were fantastic in a sandwich or on their own with salt and pepper.

(I tried BLACK KRIM last summer, and had similar results.)
Posted: 2:39 am on September 27th
jtarrant writes: Well, I live in Montgomery Co., MD. We keep a strictly organic garden: only compost and raised beds. The tomato plants did well until initially predated by the deer which have now been neutralized by extra fencing. However, frankly I suspect squirrels and birds but have no proof. We also had erratic rainfall.

All our tomatoes re-seeded from last year and actually came back stronger, more vigorous. Anyway, a Russian variety we had bought at the local farmer's market the year before, Moskvitch, did reasonably well and is very flavorful on the acid side. The others that resurrected are the very productive cherry tomatoes that fruit endlessly; they also seem very resistant to diseases.

But I would appreciate a guide on how to prune tomato plants in the garden to maximize fruit; it seems we get a lot of bushy plants and not so much fruit per plant.
Posted: 8:59 pm on September 23rd
StevenFJL writes: SuperSweet 100, WOW! - This is the first year I've grown this one. It won't be the last. Easily produced were 1500, plus, cherry sized, very sweet and tasty, round red tomatoes per plant. They are excellent quality and have held up well in refrigeration.

This variety does require staking as it will take up a lot of space if allowed to creep along the ground. It's a very viney indeterminate variety that will overgrow other nearby tomato plants if given the opportunity. Keep them growing vertically and your in good shape.

They're steady producers with only a brief slowdown in midsummer. Stacks of tomatoes. If you only grow one small muncher, I gotta recommend this one.

As a bonus, they're supposed to contain more Vitamin C than any other tomato variety.
Posted: 10:34 pm on September 21st
Celastrus writes: I garden in Nanaimo, BC, Canada.
We had a wet spring and hot, dry summer. I go organic all the way, mulch, feed wtih compost tea and alfalfa pellets. Tomatoes produced less than usual due to the weather but a good crop none the less.
Black Prince-loved
Pink Plum Rosa-great producer, nice flavour. Great for salsa. Will grow again.
Still waiting for Sheboygan Paste and Russian Rose to ripen so will not grow them again.
Galine, Yellow Wonder, Silvery Fir, Clear Pink(best producer) -just okay, will not re-grow these guys next year.
I love to grow tomatoes and so always grow lots of them, trying many new varieties each year, along with the old faves.

Posted: 10:42 am on September 20th
yasin writes: I am living in Pakistan
Please send me easy way to grow vegi starting from soil preparation to protection......i tried several times but found no fruit at the end though plants are always healthy.

thanks
Yasin
Posted: 8:09 am on September 20th
catnip3 writes: I live in Las Cruces, NM. Zone 8 or Sunset zone 10. I grow all my tomato plants in Earthboxes and started the season with Brandywine, Tiny Tim, Sungold, Totem, Viva Italia, Stupice and Red Alert. They were all doing well until the triple digit heat hit us and I lost Totem and Viva Italia. I replanted with Mr. Stripey and an unknown variety that my dad got from his family in Kentucky. The heat is finally over with and Mr. Stripey is producing and so is Red Alert. I took Stupice out because it was putting out enormous amounts of flowers but only tiny tomatoes. Brandywine had a few tomatoes earlier but not much lately. Tiny Tim is beautiful, could be an ornamental but I don't like the tomatoes at all. Next year I'll definitely grow my favorite Sungold but will probably go back to Early Girl and Celebrity. I'm moving the Earthboxes to a spot that gets earlier sun also.
Posted: 11:13 am on September 19th
VirginiaGardner writes: No matter what the weather, I can count On JULIET! We had the hottest summer that I can remember here in western Virginia but Juliet never fails. I grow this every year and it stays sweet and incredibly productive the whole season with minimal cracking. It is bigger than a grape tomato but smaller than a roma. I prefer it for fresh salsa because it is less juicy that other types so you don't get a watery salsa. I also use it for sauce, salads, and freezing for winter soup recipes, skins and all.
I also planted Brandywine, Amish Paste, and Big Boy. None of these did as well as the Juliet this year.
Posted: 11:05 am on September 18th
jtarrant writes: Our garden has tomatoes, chili peppers, herbs, flowers, asparagus. It is organic. It is in Silver Spring, MD and this year a lot of very hot, dry temps. We mitigated with adequate water. Results have been disappointing. The cherry tomatoes have barely survived the squirrels (?). The larger tomatoes, various types, simply didn't fruit though they had lots of sun and lots of leaf.

Leaving aside birds and squirrels, is there a way to ensure better fruiting w/o artificial fertilizers? Our soil is good, rich manure, mineral soil with a neutral pH on raised beds since we tend to have lots of rain then no rain.

Thanks
Posted: 11:16 pm on September 17th
greencorner writes: Here in Provo, UT (zone 5) we had a very cold and wet spring. Though 2 weeks later than normal my Brandywine (have one 16 cm across) and Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes have bee large and tasty. This makes ten years in a row they have done well. My Furry Yellow Hogs were not as tasty and my Cherokee Purples didn't set well. Purchased Jet was tasteless just like mid winter store bought. Tiny Tiger in a pot, three years old. and set outside has been prolific and tasty. Couldn't find any Campbells or Utah VHF plants.
Posted: 2:20 pm on September 17th
lacopeland writes: I had a better crop of tomatoes than I did last year. All my tomatoes had various diseases, and I also discovered that I have nematodes. I planted disease resistant varieties this year and had much better luck. I planted Celebrity, Big Beef, and Viva Italia. They are still bearing. Also sungold has done great for me and I love its taste. I will plant of these varieties next year. I am in zone 8a.
Posted: 4:29 pm on September 16th
MaryMD writes: Despite an early forecast that the summer would be warm and sunny, June and August were both cool and wet. Here in Zone 5 at 1600 feet in the North Cascade Mountains of Washington, that is a receipe for tomato disaster. This was the first summer I had a greenhouse, but even that was not enough to produce tomatoes. Oddly I had two Oregon Spring plants and the one I put outside with a wall-o-water did better than the one in the greehouse. My Sungold produced very small fruit. Sweetie Pie has very few small, green fruits.

When it was over 70, the vents opened and that should have allowed pollinators to do their work. I shook the plants daily when in bloom to help with pollination, but I am wondering if there simply was not sufficient pollination in the greenhouse.

Green peppers have done poorly, too, as have the eggplants. Twinkle had tons of flowers, but no fruit has set as of Sept. 16. Green beans were also a bust. Cucumbers are just setting fruit and even the zucchini has produced little.

Let's hope next summer is warmer and drier.
Posted: 2:10 pm on September 16th
chisafin writes: I live in Michigan, zone 5B and we had hot and humid weather with a LOT of rain. My tomatoes grew so fast that a lot of them cracked and spoiled before I could get to them. The cracked tomatoes seemed to draw small sparrows and house finches to them and they also enhanced the spoilage by pecking the tomatoes! Never had that happen before. But then came the rainbow..."Big Rainbow" that is. This is by far the best tomato I have ever tasted! It is sweet beyond all imagination. I love this tomato and will definitely buy it again next year! Also for canning/paste tomatoes, I love the "Big Mama" they are absolutely huge! If you want a lot of tomatoes, plant "Health Kick" they are great for canning also and EXTREMELY prolific!








Posted: 10:21 pm on September 15th
eneska writes: I live in Minnesota, and our summer was hot and wet at the same time, which was perfect for growing tomatoes. All of the varieties did awesome. I canned about 15 jars of tomato products( sauce, salsa, pasta sauce...) I was very pleased with this year's crop, especially because this was my first year not growing tomatoes in a pot.:)
Posted: 9:45 pm on September 15th
hazelmac writes: I live in zone 2b (Central Canada) and we experienced a very wet summer. My tomatoes were subjected to late blight in one of my patches, so I lost most of them, but my other patch did fairly well. My favorite is the Yellow Fargo Pear Heritage tomato. I also had fairly good luck with Siberian Heritage Tomato. The biggest problem was too much moisture causing them to split. I made several batches of Roasted Tomato Pasta Sauce (my own recipe) from the Prairie Pride variety, and it is absolutely "gourmet"!! Another lovely tomato was Yellow Boy. What lovely flavor. I have saved seed from the Fargo Yellow Pear and plan to save seed from the Yellow Boy.
I planted Valentine Heritage, but will never plant them again. They didn't have nice flavor, took too long to ripen in our short season and didn't produce much fruit. I will try some other varieties next year along with my Yellow Fargo Pear.
Posted: 8:27 pm on September 15th
LeslieinRedding writes: This year was disappointing. The weather was cool for a long time and the tomatoes never got a good start. The Rutgers usually produce far more than I can use, but this year I got less than a dozen so far on my four plants. The Golden Jubilee are doing pretty well, but again, are not producing as much as usual. The Roma tomatoes usually produce extremely well in early to mid summer, enough to can quite a few quarts, then they practically quit. This year they were the last to start setting fruit and have not done as much as usual. I love all my tomatoes but am not happy with production this summer.
Posted: 3:48 pm on September 15th
softball16chicago writes: Zone 5, 15 miles west of Chicago. Was a hot, very rainy summer and the tomatoes were not s flavorful as past years.

I grow about 20 varieties, almost all heirlooms. Three, which I have grown for a few years and highly recommend are PING PONG, BLACK PLUM and GARDEN PEACH. They are incredibly productive and hardly ever develop any problems.

I also grow Sungold, and for the record that variety finished 1st and 2nd (not mine)in the Cafe Ba Ba Reba tomato tasting contest.
Posted: 3:43 pm on September 15th
mommitta writes: Addition to previous post.
I garden in Central Maine. Zone 4
Posted: 2:43 pm on September 15th
mommitta writes: Best year yet for sun gold's, my favorite on the planet. Also planted Juliet, which turned out very large and made great tasting sauce, Big Girl, which did okay, and red cherry, alway delicious. Everyone in my area had a tomato blight last year, so it's been two years since we've had tasty tomatoes.
Posted: 2:42 pm on September 15th
ploppyc writes: I'm in zone 3, so short growing season.
Disappointment: Sun Sugar; I'll stick with Sun Gold next year.
Excellent: Kimberley; this is an heirloom that was given to me; it's a very small plant but very prolific and the tomatoes are excellent, especially when picked with just a little green still showing on top; remind of the amazing green/orange tomatoes I had in the Sorrento region.
Good: Jet Star
And the other kinds are just beginning to ripen!! Sigh.
Posted: 2:27 pm on September 15th
alethor writes: Thanks for all your comments.
Please write where you live and your gardening zone.
Posted: 2:26 pm on September 15th
LeslieinPayson writes: I'm in. I live in Arizona, in the mountains (5,000 ft elevation). We had a long, cool Spring, then a hot Summer with a cool spell in the middle. My tomatoes have not done real well.
The best has been Early Girl- small fruit but tasty, and very productive- first to ripen.
After that- Lemon Boy and a hybrid called First Light- both great taste, fair sized, fairly productive. I always grow these three.

I planted 3 Aunt Ruby's German Green plants- I've got 2 tomatoes only, but they were huge and very good, so I'll try them again next year.

I tried Black Russian, and a cherry called Chocolate Cherry- both have produced well, but in our heat they turned an ugly brick red color, and I don't care for the taste at all. I made cooked salsa with them- not bad, but I don't like to eat them.

Another cherry called Snow White has been very productive. In the heat they turn bright yellow, not white. But they are pretty, taste good in salads, and I will grow them again.
Posted: 1:35 pm on September 15th
Mad_Nil writes: I'm in zone 5b/6a, Pittsburgh, PA

Sun Gold was fantastic -- started the earliest and is still producing bountifully

Early Girl was second-best: good flavor, medium yield. Got some kind of mildewy-looky fungus (not late blight) in mid August.

Stupice: OK. Reasonable flavor, bountiful at first and then really slowed down.

Black Krim: terrible. Fruit grew and then decomposed before it fully ripened.

Amish Paste: Not very flavorful in my garden.

Goldie: a large orange tomato. Not pretty unless you like lots of protrusions, but pretty tasty.

Wow, KathyWid -- planting tomatoes in the fall! It's almost worth putting up with Carolina heat -- but not quite. :-)


Posted: 1:09 pm on September 15th
scenic_roots writes: I grew:

Black Krim- fabulous flavor, tons of tomatoes (can't keep up with them) But now I see a recipe for tomato infuse vodka!

Rose- another fabulous flavor tomato. there are barely any seeds. this tomato is a monster in size (like Brandywine) with all flesh and no seeds

Striped German- another juicy, flavorful tomato. smaller than I anticipateed, but many fruits
Posted: 12:34 pm on September 15th
kindman writes: Zone 6a, RI:

Lemon Boy: beautiful baseball size golden fruit STILL PRODUCING in mid September

SuperSweet100: delish cherries, still producing, plants are in excess of NINE FEET tall.

Juliete: My first year with this variety. EXCELLENT quantity and quality. This will become a regular.

Roma: good year, larger than normal quantity.

SanMarzano: My first year with this variety. Most fruit fell off the plant prior to ripening...

Overall a very good year.

Kindman crops still coming in... :{D
Posted: 12:11 pm on September 15th
DaisyPatch writes: We're in Coastal, NH and had an excellent tomato season (despite the early blight due to the hot, humid weather at the beginning of July and my own ineptitude.) We had excellent luck with:
Reistomate - cluster cherry tomato - they have GOT to be over 8 feet tall and producing quite a bit.

Sweet Baby Girl - these super-big cherry tomato were like candy growing with about 7 hanging off each stem

You called them Speckled Roma, we called them Striped Roma - either name -they were awesome!

Yellow and Red Pear - I'm not a big fan of the taste, but they kept coming!

Brandywine - We froze them one night so we didn't get to enjoy.




Posted: 11:59 am on September 15th
ruthmodisette writes: My Sun Gold were and still are producing like made. One taste convinced my son's girl friend that, contrary to her earlier views, she did loke at least one type of cherry tomato. My Brandywine are just ripening - - - admittedly not the most handsome of tomatoes, but still one of the best in terms of taste.
Posted: 10:36 am on September 15th
Qbee writes: The weather has been wonderful for tomatoes here in Hamilton,Ontario,Canada this year.I grow several heirloom varieties from seed in zone 5.Production is slowing down now as the cooler nights have moved in.My favourites this year have been Purple Cherokee,Red Brandywine,Paul Robeson and Black Cherry.
Posted: 9:55 am on September 15th
MidAR writes: Forgot to mention in my previous post that we are in Central Arkansas as my screen name implies. Best producers this season: Sweet 100 and Better Boy
Worst Producer: German Heirloom
Posted: 9:48 am on September 15th
antiquejunkie writes:

I am in zone 5 and we had record heat here in the north.
This was my first time trying Heirloom tomato's.
The sucessful ones were:

Golden Nugget - yellow cheery produced over 300 tomato's
Red Velvet - very small cherry- very flavorful.

The rest only produced 1-2 tomatos but they went into the ground late.

Black Krim- 2 tomato's
Earls Faux- 1 tomato
Stupice - 3 tomato's
Persimon - 1 blush tomato
Mystery tomato- 1 blush specimen

I had one plant that produced nothing I believe it was
a rube dirak- That may needed more sun than was available in its spot.

So now I am on to harvesting seeds and trying again next year !!!

PS My Black Krim leaves curled but not until the end of the season.
Posted: 9:48 am on September 15th
MidAR writes: Our best producers all season long were the Sweet 100s and Better Boy. Celebrity and Husky Cherry also gave great tomatoes, but since they are determinate varieties production stopped before the others. We tried the German Heirloom and it was a disappointment. BTW, we always plant basil with our tomatoes, yum!
Posted: 9:43 am on September 15th
duckyfufu writes: So Cal was also chilly this summer, it barely got up to 70 degrees F at the coast where I live. Even the cherry tomatoes suffered, I had very low yields of yellow pear, black cherry, and 'camp joy' cherry. The 2 varieties that did pull through were 'Better Boy' (always reliable!) and 'Brandy Boy'. The 'persimmon' orange heirloom also did pretty well. The others that suffered were 'Big mama', 'black krim', and even 'Early Girl'.

Besides the unusually cold summer, I was also battling a raccoon that seemed to have a knack for knowing exactly when a tomato was ripe -- I found several half-eaten Brandy Boys on the vine! At least the raccoon had good taste!
Posted: 9:40 am on September 15th
myseasons writes: The summer in No. California was very strange this year. My tomatoes woke up to 48 degree temperatures more often than not. Sun frequently showed up at noon. The days we had normal warm weather came in 2 to 4 day spurts and then back to cold. In spite of all, my Kellogs Breakfast came through beautifully giving many 8 to 14 ounce meaty tomatoes. It has always been a great tasting tomato, and this year is no exception.
Posted: 9:28 am on September 15th
Kiyomi125 writes: We had the hottest summer on record here in the Piedmont section of NC (zone 7), but we still had some good standouts in our tomato varieties. The ones we really liked were: Brandy Boy, Mamataro, Black Cherry, and 4th of July. The 4th of July produced the earliest tomatoes, and we were eating them by June 1. Now in mid Sept, they are still producing strong. The Black Cherry tomatoes had a great heirloom tomato flavor and kept producing even through the heat, and they too, are still producing. The Brandy Boy gave us an early crop of very large, over 1 lb tomatoes that tasted wonderful. This was our first year to try the Mamataro tomatoes, and we were very pleased. They were medium sized, very firm, perfectly round and smooth, red all the way to the stem, and very tasty. They didn't even crack when the other tomatoes were cracking due to the uneven watering due to lack of rain. We would definitely plant all of these varieties again. One disappointment this year was the Italian Ice, a white cherry variety. It produced a large quantity of very bland tomatoes....nice to look at but lacked the tomato flavor.
Posted: 9:22 am on September 15th
adykt writes: With our high temperatures and little rain in zone 7b outside Atlanta, GA, the smaller tomatoes seemed to do much better than the larger ones. Most prolific were:
Yellow Pear
Sweet 100
Juliette

Cherokee Purple produced few fruit this year.
Posted: 9:07 am on September 15th
tatwood writes: This summer was phenomenal for growing tomatoes, except for a real lack of rain and mandatory water restrictions since June 22. That said, after the huge losses of last year due to late blight, I'll take a drought. We started 12 varieties from seed this year, and put 4 plants out under plastic in a raised bed in mid-April. This is about 2 months early for my area (Zone 5), but we did not have any late frosts so we got lucky. Our favorites were 'Carbon' (juicy and one of the 'black' group of tomatoes; flavor reminiscent of Brandywine, and nice large fruit. We loved 'Mountain Magic' which we grew from a few sample seeds sent by the introducers. It's blight resistant, but also fabulously productive and delicious with small, perfect fruit. 'Amish Paste' was excellent, as was 'Opalka' and 'Jersey Devil'. We found 'Reisentraube' to be very productive, but quite bland. 'Early Wonder' was a complete washout. 'Japanese Black Trifele' was an arresting amber/brown color, nice size and quite delicious, but had a huge amount of seeds so small they went right through the holes of the food mill when I was trying to make sauce! All in all, a very good growing season with some very interesting tomato finds.
Posted: 8:40 am on September 15th
KathyWid writes: Here in the Carolinas, we planted our second crop in early August. Got small tomatoes formed on our fall tomato Better Boy. My Early Girl Hybrid Bush is still going strong, full of blooms and fruit.
One tip -- I cut back Tumbling Tom (in baskets and containers) and they now have a fresh flush of growth and blooms. Looking forward to a pile of cherry tomatoes in early October.

Here's some more info on growing fall tomatoes.
http://www.tomatodirt.com/fall-tomatoes.html
Kathy at Tomato Dirt
www.tomatodirt.com

Posted: 4:35 pm on September 14th
alethor writes: This is a question for: yourownvictorygarden
HAave you planted your second crop of tomatoes this year yet?
I did. This will be my second time.
Last year I planted my second crop in mid July and we got all that rain in October - so no good tomatoes.
This year I left in the ground a few of my indeterminate tomatoes and planted new ones at the end of June. They are HUGE now.
Lots of flowers and some green tomatoes. I harvested just a few.
How is your experience with the second crop of tomatoes in the DFW area? Is it worth? Do you have a big harvest?
I am just wondering because I am giving my tomatoes a lot of space that I could have dedicated to my brassicas and greens.
Thanks in advance
Posted: 1:56 pm on September 14th
yourownvictorygarden writes: Also in Zone 8a (Plano, Texas)

My "starting lineup" was:

Jetsetter
Celebrity
Keepsake
Bush Early Girl
Big Beef
& Rutgers

Of those, Celebrity, Bush Early Girl & Rutgers made it to full transplant size (I'm growing my own transplants again), and continued on to become full size and produce.

I grew a "backup" crop (glad I did) from 2009 seeds which included:

Celebrity
Jubilee
& Roma

All did pretty well except for Roma and Jubilee. You can't go wrong with Celebrity, which is why it owns a permanent place in my Victory Garden.

Posted: 4:04 pm on September 13th
Angela_White writes: I am in Zone 10a in Southern California. My favorites were:

Sun Gold (best cherry tomato for flavor)
Black Cherry (best cherry tomato producer by pound and number and great flavor and color)
Pineapple -- a beautiful yellow and red striped heirloom tomato of 1-1.5 pounds each

I also grew Riesentraube and will grow them again -- very productive and delicious!

I was also happy with:

Marianna's Peace -- not a great producer but beautiful, uniform, pest-resistant
Chalk's Early Jewel -- large and a great slicer
Sioux -- a little inconsistent in shape (both round and oblong) and not very pest-resistant but I learned to pick them at first blush and let them ripen indoors

Least happy with:

German Giant -- perhaps this would have performed better with more sun than my garden location gave it but it was not very prolific or consistent in shape or size
Sweet Pea Currant -- quite prolific but tough skins made these tiny tiny tomatoes unappealing
Posted: 12:12 am on September 11th
alethor writes: I am in zone 8a, Dallas, TX.
My favorite tomatoes this season were:
SWEET 100
SAPHO
SUN GOLD
GOLD NUDGET
YELLOW PEAR
BHN 444
CELEBRITY
JUBILEE GOLDEN
GOLDEN MAMA

My least favorite were:
BLACK KRIM: I love the flavor of this tomatoes very much, but it is my second year with this plant. It doesn't produce many fruits and the leave curl. No more next year.
EARLY GIRL: not many tomatoes produced
Posted: 6:50 pm on September 10th
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