Wednesday, November 10, 2010

2010 Tomato Review

This year was a very good year for tomatoes Blight!! The total of the tomatoes that were wieghed came in at over 221 pounds! We are very pleased, especially since the total gardening space we have is only 230 square feet. This year I planted 19 tomato plants, which consisted  of 14 different varieties. All of the plants (except for 2) were grown from seed and all are heirlooms. I started 11 varieties of the seeds inside on 2/17/10 and the remaining 2 on 4/28/10 (these were the seeds my in-laws brought back from Italy). Next year I will start some of them a little later, probably sometime in March. They got so big and were quite a bit to tend to in the greenhouse.

"The Italian" bought me a portable greenhouse for Christmas a couple of years ago. It's like a tent!!  We usually put it up late in the winter over the one 4' x 5' bed. Four tomato plants were put in the ground inside the greenhouse on 4/9/10. We live in zone 6b, so our last frost date is not until May 15th. Due to the size of the plants, my lack of patience and a credit I had at a on-line garden garden supply company, I purchased some Kozy Koats (water cloche). 13 plants were put in to the ground on 4/30/10 in the Kozy Koats. The last 2 plants weren't ready to put in to the ground until June.

Tomatoes in Kozy Koats & Portable Greenhouse

Red Tomatoes:

Early Pack 7 - Determinant (I think) - These seeds were brought back from my in-law's trip to Italy this year. They look like a beefsteak type with some green at the top. I couldn't find any information on them. This tomato was planted in a pot and I think it really needed to be planted in the ground. The plant was very short & stocky. We didn't get many fruits and we really don't remember exactly what they tasted like. I will plant this variety in the ground next year to get a better overview on it.

Howard's German Red - Indeterminate - A very good tomato and one of our favorites! This is a Pennsylvania Heirloom. It is long with a pointed end , great tasting, meaty, extremely prolific and disease tolerant tomato with few seeds. They are pretty large for a long tomato, many weighing up to a pound. This is supposed to be a canning tomoto....but it's great for eating too.

Italian variety - Semi-Determinant - This is a variety that my in-laws gave to me about 4 years ago from a trip to Italy. They look like a small San Marzano. They produce well. However, they seem to be the first plants to be affected by disease. They are good for cooking and canning.

Lancaster County Italian Paste  - Indeterminate - The fruits are a medium size and square shaped with ridges. They are very prolific and very disease tolerant. This is the tomato that I use to make my salsa.

Matt's Wild Cherry - Indeterminate - This tomato was the best producer, biggest plant and very sweet in taste! It's my "Little Garden Helper's" favorite. He eats them right off the plant and can hardly wait until they are ripe! I can't really estimate how many fruits this one plant produced. However, I can tell you that I would pick a basket of 100, 2-4 times a week! Origin of seed; friends of U.of Maine AG faculty members, Dr. Laura Merrick and Dr. Matt Liebman, brought seeds to Maine from her family's home state of Hidalgo in Eastern Mexico it's the region of domestication of tomatoes The original seeds were picked from plants growing wild. Therefore, this is a species of wild tomato.

Paulina - Indeterminate - I saved the seeds from some tomatoes that were purchased in 2009. They came from an Amish organic heirloom farm here in Pennsylvania. We purchased a couple of boxes for canning due to the blight that year. They are an oval shaped, medium size, very meaty fruit and had a decent yield. This is a good variety for canning and sauces.

San Marzano - Semi-Determinant - These seeds also came from Italy this year. This plant did not seem to get going very well either. It may have been due to our extreme heat and the time it was planted. So, the verdict is still out on this one. I will also plant this one again next year to get a better overview on it.

Winter Long Storage - Semi-Determinant - This tomato is a round medium size fruit with very good yield. They have yet to turn red and are in storage in the basement. I did learn that they have to be harvested without any marks on them or they will rot. I will post on their taste when they are ready to be eaten.

Pink Tomatoes:

Glick's Brandywine - Indeterminate - Of course it is a wonderful tasting tomato... it's a Brandywine! Although it is supposed to be a pink variety, I think it is more purple. This was the largest variety of my tomatoes this year weighing 1 lb. 7 oz. It was also the ugliest. It produced very well and kept going late in to the season. Seed Origin; The history is that the seed came via Glen Brendle, whose family obtained it from Isaac N. Glick, an early seedsman from Lancaster, PA, who distributed seed for Johnson and Stokes Seeds of Philadelphia. Brandywine Tomato was first introduced by them in 1889. This is supposed to be the most original of the many Brandywine strains.

Tiffen's Mennonite - Indeterminate - This is a Mennonite heirloom potato leaf variety very similar to a Brandywine. The fruits were large with a wonderful flavor. The plant was also a good producer.

Purple Tomatoes:

Cherokee Purple - As always, this is our favorite eating tomato. These two plants I purchased from an on-line company. I was not happy with the flavor of the seeds I purchased two years in a row. I would greatly appreciate in-put as to where I could purchase good seeds for this variety.

Eva's  Purple Ball - Indeterminate - Another great producer! It's a smaller very round fruit ranging on the average 5-8 oz. each, just the right size for lunch. This is a wonderful tasting tomato, extremely prolific and disease tolerant. Seed origin; This is a late 1800's heirloom tomato from The Black Forest Region of Germany via Joe Bratka's grandfather who kept this lovely heirloom tomato from dying out. Joe donated seed to a seed saving organization in 1992.

Other Colors:

Pineapple Bi-Color - Indeterminate - I was not happy with this tomato. It has always been one of my favorite eating tomatoes. This year, it only produced a few very late fruits. I would greatly appreciate in-put as to where I could purchase good seeds for this variety as well.

White Tomesol - Indeterminate - We were extremely pleased with this tomato! It's very pretty and has a very nice flavor. The taste is light, not acidy at all, not too sweet or rich, just light. It was a pretty good producer and the fruits were medium to large in size.

I hope that you all enjoyed my tomato review for 2010.
Also, if anyone has a good source for Cherokee Purple and/or Pineapple tomato seeds. Please let me know..thanks.


  1. Botanical Interests has Cherokee Purple seeds (and INCREDIBLE SERVICE!!!). I ordered online and had them in 3 days. My order came well packaged. I was really happy with them.

    I grew Matt's Wild Cherry for the first time this year--I LOVED them. So sweet....and prolific.

    I enjoyed your review of the different toms you grew. Always neat to see what folks are growing (and some honest opinions--not just what a company tells you!!)

  2. Great post! I love it when people do this, really helps when I start whittling down my choices for next year :)

  3. You were very lucky with no blight this year. I had 40 tomato plants and harvested the same amount of tomatoes because they all had blight.
    Thanks for the review, I will be trying Cherokee Purple next year - I have read so many good reviews about it. I will also try one of the Brandywine varieties.
    I had the same problem with sowing tomato seeds too early. Now I say that will wait mid March next time, but I am not sure if I will have the patience to wait that long.

  4. I really need to plant Matt's wild cherry next year. Thanks for the review!

  5. Nice review, Robin. Your seeds are in the mail, and Cherokee Purple is one of the varieties. I hope they do well for you!

  6. So? How did the Kozy Koats and the portable greenhouse compare? Did you notice a difference between using one and the other? I think the picture of all of them in their kozy koats looks cool!

  7. Sue, I glad that you enjoyed my tomato review. Thanks for the seed tip. I forgot to delete the need for the CP seeds since EG is sending me some.

    Erin, I was hoping that this would be helpful.

    MojVrt, Hopefully we will both have a little patience and wait to sow the seeds!

    The Mom, You will really love the Matt's Wild Cherry!

    EG, I guess those blonde hi-lights kicked in. I totally forgot to delete the CP request!! Your present is also in the mail!

    Shawn Ann, I was really pleased with the Kozy Koats. The plants in the cloches grew at the same pace as the plants in the greenhouse bed. I really need the greenhouse though. It's bigger then the bed and I set up shelfs in there for all of the plants that I germinate for us and others.

  8. And I thought I planted a lot of tomatoes. ;) Robin, great review of the tomatoes. I just sent you an email of all the seeds I have and Pineapple is one of them; I saved plenty and only from the best tomatoes... so don't buy any.

  9. Di, I am planning to plant more tomatoes next year!! We need to be able to can enough for these "Italian's"!! Thanks so much for your e-mail :)

  10. Robin, I enjoyed reading your tomato review. Good information. Next year I hope to expand my varieties and include CP, Brandywine, and maybe the Matt's Wild Cherry. I saved seed from my ENERGIZER BUNNY Cherry Tomato but since it was the first time, I have ZERO confidence in my technique.

  11. From your pictures I can say that you are dedicated to your work and as you have make Kozy Koats & Portable Greenhouse for tomatoes.


Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment!