It’s harvest time for tomatoes, whether they be determinate or indeterminate. These orbs of delight are the quintessential summer fruit and we’re picking them daily. We planted early this year (quite possibly a mistake since we now have blight…but then again, we get blight every year, so I give up).
We grew 18 different varieties this year, all heirlooms, all gorgeous. Here’s a little tomato parade for 2014:
Our first time growing these successfully. Can’t wait to make sauce.
Jaune Flamme – always a favorite. These sweet orange salad-sized tomatoes are the best!
They may look funny, but they taste great. Prolific fruiting habits too.
These never get old to me. There will always be room in my garden for Green stripy tomatoes.
Okay, so they didn’t turn black. I picked them early, I guess, but they taste ripe. Big, juicy and luscious tomatoes.
This is grown from seed we saved last year from a volunteer. Reliable globes with a sweet flavor.
Stupice (pronounced Stu-peech-ka) is one of my favorites I’ve grown since the beginning. This year they came out a little pleated and flat, rather than the usual round salad-sized globes I usually get. Can’t explain it. Still delicious and always early.
SO EXCITED about this one. The Striped Roman is a new tomato for me this year and is hands-down the most beautiful tomato I’ve seen in years. I just want to stare at it.
Some of the tomatoes are still ripening, but here’s a preview:
Azoychka is a coastal tomato that turns bright yellow with green shoulders. It’s a beautiful, big beefsteak tomato that’s great on sandwiches.
Almost there, this Missouri Pink beefsteak is one I’ve looked forward to for a couple years. Last year it died before ever setting fruit, but this year we’re in business!
This Kellogg’s Breakfast is on its way to ripening (looks kind of like a ripe Azoychka right now) but it will be big and colorful – the kind of tomato you think of when you hear “heirloom.”
Gold Nugget is a new one for the Gardenerd Test Garden this year. It completely died, but before it did, it gave us plenty of cherry tomatoes to make it seem worth it.
Others that are still green: Berkeley Tie-Dye, Henderson’s Pink Ponderosa, Ispolen, Great White and Marvel Stripe
We also had an Isis Candy, but it lead the way with blight infestation, so we lost it early. We did get a few tasty tomatoes from it, but this is the second year it hasn’t done well in our coastal climate, so it’s being taken off the favorites list.
Hey Gardenerds, so these are our favorites. What’s your favorite tomato that you’re growing this year? Post your comments here.
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My favorite cherry tomato is sun sugar – perfect combination of sweet and tart. Another favorite is Snow White. Grew Black Cherry a few years ago and it was tasty and plentiful but too much cracking when picked. My all time favorite is now Momotaro Gold which I tried for the first time this year and it was amazing – large sweet juicy golden globes and very prolific. Also grew Stupice for the 2nd time and for me the tomatoes are small and not very tasty so that’s off my list. My Purple Cherokees have wonderful flavor but very low yield and are misshapen. Next year I’ll try some that you mention here. Thanks!
Hi Susan,Is there any way i could buy a few Momotaro Gold tomato seeds from you?
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I had such a good season this summer with large Brandywines, pink Momataros and great Delicious heirlooms. (Not much luck with Giant Belgiums though.) Flush with this success, I am planning to start some winter heirlooms. I have several questions. If I am able to locate small plants, should I start them now? Can I plant them in the same area I had summer tomatoes? Which varieties do you recommend for shorter days and less sun? (Not interested in cherry tomatoes.) Also, I lost a few battles with the gophers this summer so I think I probably will spend $$ on cages for the plants. Any suggestions along this line?
Sorry Fran, I’m not a believer in “winter tomatoes”, so I can’t recommend any particular varieties for you. If your tomatoes grew without disease then you can plant the next crop in the same place. But if there was any sign of disease or stunted growth, rotate the location where you plant tomatoes every year (spring or whenever). Most tomato varieties will list “days to maturity” and you’ll want to look for varieties that mature in around 70 days or so if possible. As for gophers, I know some gardeners have great success with gopher cages (sold flat at places like Orchard Hardware Supply), so give that a go. Report back on your progress when you’re done!
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On your picture of Japanese black trifle is not that type. JBT look like big brown pear. On your picture is some ox hart varieties probably. And Azoychka in my garden is bright yellow/orange fruit, not green. I have fruits from seeds directly from Russia and Ukraine, so i guess this is the right color of that varieties.
Thanks for your feedback. Our JBTs have looked “proper” in previous years. It’s odd, because we’re growing them all from the same seed packet. Nature is a funny thing. Our Azoychkas usually are yellow with kisses of green on the shoulders. It’s one of my favorite tomatoes that grows well in coastal climates.
I grew several varieties this year myself, including the green zebra (the leader for white powdery mildew in my garden) and Brandywine. But I’m having a problem with both of those types splitting open and attracting bugs, then going bad before I get a chance to pick them. I don’t want to pick them before they’re ripe, but I can’t think of any other way to protect them from this process. Do you have any ideas?
Apparently when tomatoes are left on the vine too long, they can crack in a circular pattern around the tomato. If they are cracking lengthwise, it’s generally an inconsistent watering issue. So pick often and water deeply and regularly. Here is some more info that might help: http://pender.ces.ncsu.edu/2013/06/what-causes-tomatoes-to-crack/
Just came across your wonderful website and tips while reading the “Heirloom Gardener”. About five years ago we replaced an ugly front lawn with raised beds in coastal San Pedro. My tomatoes look great right now, slowly turning color. I love getting most of my seeds from Baker Creek, a wonderful company with a fine catalog. My favorites are Golden King of Siberia, Kelloggs Breakfast, Black Krim, Black Cherry, Paul Robeson, Ananas Noire, Gypsy, Cherokee Purple and Gold Medal. Year after year, I grow a red, fleshy, not too many seeds tomato that I call “Croatian”. Neighbors imported the seeds from Croatia and shared. Best tomato ever!
I have also grown and like very much Tigerella, Speckled Roman, Millionaire, Green Zebra.
We love your tomato choices! Thanks so much for sharing. I’ll have to try Gypsy. Sounds delightful!
Glad you found us through Heirloom Gardener Magazine. Welcome to Gardenerd. You clearly belong here. 🙂
I am taking your class Gardening 101 and when that is finished what other classes or workshops can I take with you? I want to learn as much as I can from you.
Glad you’re enjoying the class. I have other classes offered at different times throughout the year. Spring and Fall Garden planning workshops, and Composting Workshops. All classes will be listed on the Classes page on Gardenerd.com, under Services. Stay tuned!
Never knew there were soooo many different tomatoes. Thanks for sharing yours. Gives me ideas!
Oh, Sherry, this is just the tip of the iceberg! There are over 400 varieties of heirloom tomatoes alone, not counting hybrids. Just flip through the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed catalog some time and you’ll get lost in there. It’s a drool-factor 5 catalog!
Thanks for all the great information on different kinds of tomatoes to grow. I want to try some of these! I have moderate success a little south of you near LAX. I am interested in how you stake your tomatores – one of my early girls is growing so lush that it’s way taller than the largest standard tomato cage and taking over the garden.
You can prune the tomato back if you want. It will be better able to focus on fruit production and giving you great tasting tomatoes. Prune suckers off and tip long ends. The sacrifice of some fruit will be worth it later on. That said, if you wanted to let it ramble, nature has a way of pruning itself one way or another. We use welded wire mesh to make our tomato cages. You can find out when you sign up for the newsletter on Gardenerd (it comes in Christy’s Top Tips) or in Gardening for Geeks. It’s pretty easy and inexpensive and they last for years.