Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > April 2017 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--Got Tomatoes?

BONNIE'S GARDEN--Got Tomatoes?

Tomatoes are native to the Americas, like peppers, and were grown by the Aztecs who called the fruits “tomatl”—meaning “plump thing with navel.”  Tomatoes are botanically berries, believe it or not!
I get a lot of questions about different tomato varieties so here is a brief description of the ones we are carrying this year.
Beefmaster:  Meaty and flavorful fruits can weigh up to 2 lbs.
Better Boy:  Well-known for its disease-resistance and reliable harvests. 
Big Beef:  ¾ lb. fruits on disease-resistant vines.
Big Boy:  Large smooth red fruits with good flavor.  Bears heaviest in mid-summer but will continue to bear until frost. 
Black Cherry:  Sweet cherry tomatoes with pretty burgundy fruits. 
Black Krim:  10 to 12 oz. fruits, sets well even in heat.  It has a rich flavor with an almost salted undernote.  Heirloom.
Brandywine:  Exceptionally sweet and rich—a consistent winner at taste trials.  Large beefsteak-type fruits.  An Amish heirloom. 
Celebrity:  A favorite for canning and freezing, Celebrity produces a large crop over a short period of time.  Good flavor and disease-resistance.  Determinate.
Chef’s Choice Orange:  ½ lb. vivid orange fruits.  Vigorous disease-resistant plants.
Cherokee Carbon:  A cross between 2 heirlooms—Cherokee Purple and Carbon.  Has rich flavor and high yields of 12 oz. fruits.  Heirloom cross.
Cherokee Purple (my favorite):  An heirloom from Tennessee with a rich, complex almost smoky flavor.  Large nearly one pound burgundy fruits.  Heirloom.
Early Girl:  A reliable early tomato with 4 to 6 oz. fruits. 
German Johnson:  An heirloom from North Carolina and Virginia.  Meaty one pound pinkish-red fruits with few seeds. 
Grape:  Long productive vines with clusters of meaty bright red fruits.
Hillbilly:  1 to 2 lb. fruits are golden orange with red streaks.  A West Virginia heirloom. 
Juliet:  Vigorous vines with clusters of 1 inch bright red grape tomatoes.  Resistant to late blight.  
Lemon Boy:  Bright yellow ½ lb. fruits are mild and sweet. 
Mortgage Lifter:  Large meaty red fruits, reaching up to 2 lbs.  Heirloom.
Mr. Stripey:  Red fruit with yellow/orange streaks.  Rich tangy flavor.  Heirloom.
Patio:  Small 2 ft. tall plants bear 3 to 4 oz. bright red fruits.  Determinate.
Roma:  A popular variety for canning and sauces because of the flavorful meaty fruits.  Determinate.
Rutgers:  Rutgers has been around since the 1920’s and is popular for productivity and good flavor.  Determinate.  Heirloom.
San Marzano:  A mild meaty Roma-type tomato, particularly good for sauces. Heirloom.
Sun Sugar:  Delicious golden-orange cherry tomatoes on very productive, disease resistant vines. 
Super Fantastic:  Smooth, meaty flavorful fruits on productive vines. 
Supersonic:  ½ lb. fruits are meaty and flavorful on vigorous vines offering some disease resistance
SuperSteak:  Large 1 to 2 lb. fruits on vigorous disease-resistant vines.
Super Sweet 100:  Clusters of sweet red cherry tomato on very vigorous disease-resistant vines. 
Whopper:  Productive disease-resistant vines with ½ lb. fruit. 
Yellow Pear:  A sweet pear-shaped 1 to 2 inch fruit.  Heirloom.
A few things to keep in mind—if you had a disease on your tomatoes last year, DO NOT plant another tomato family member in that spot for at least three years—or they’ll get it again.  You can plant cukes, squash, etc., just not tomatoes or tomato relatives.
Tomatoes love full sun.  Anything less than that and your fruit production will diminish.  A good tomato fertilizer will help with productivity.  I like Tomato-tone because it has a little extra calcium (and, yes, you can use it on ALL your veggies.) 
There are determinate and indeterminate tomatoes.  An indeterminate tomato is a vine that will continue growing and producing all the way until frost. A majority of tomatoes are indeterminate.   A determinate tomato produces a larger crop at once so is a good choice for canning, freezing or saucing, but generally will not produce all the way to frost.  They are usually smaller bush-type plants.  I have marked the determinate varieties above.
Whichever variety you pick, you’re growing the quintessential American fruit—well, berry!
Posted: 4/24/2017 by Bonnie Pega | with 1 comment(s)
Susan Gaskill
Excellent information!
Will you arcade this info in your site?? It would be wonderful.
5/4/2017 11:30:11 AM

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