Better late than never, right?
In 2017, I planted ten tomato varieties. Five were varieties I had planted before, and five were new to me. Seven were planted in my usual raised beds, and three were dwarf varieties that I planted in five gallon containers. This year was the first time I tried growing vegetables in containers.
Before I continue, here are some previous posts that contain related information:
- 2016 Tomato Report (includes ‘nectar’, ‘garden gem’, ‘garden treasure’, ‘Corleone’, and ‘Polish linguisa’ as well as varieties that I didn’t plant in 2017)
- Two New (to me) Tomato Varieties (about ‘Anna Russian’ and ‘Cherokee green’)
- More Tomatoes (about ‘garden gem’, ‘Corleone’, ‘garden treasure’, ‘Anna Russian’, and ‘Cherokee green’)
- Container Vegetables (includes the three dwarf tomato varieties that I grew in 2017)
- 2017 Seeds Orders (sources of some of these varieties and more about dwarf tomatoes)
To avoid the problem I had with blossom end rot in 2016, I tried adding (clean) crushed chicken eggshells to the hole when I transplanted my tomatoes. I decided to do this for the eggplant and peppers as well since they are tomato relatives. I tried this because calcium deficiency is one cause of blossom end rot (cycles of too little and too much water is another) and eggshells contain calcium. I still had blossom end rot problems early in the season, but they disappeared after a week or two. When I dumped out the soil from the containers at the end of the season, I noticed that the eggshells had disappeared from the tomato containers but not from the eggplant containers, so I think the plants did eventually absorb calcium from the eggshells. I didn’t have any serious problems growing tomatoes in 2017.
‘Anna Russian’ is an heirloom variety that I hadn’t planted before. This is classified as a ‘pink’ (red flesh with clear skin) tomato. The fruit is sweet and mild. The plants grew vigorously and produced a lot of large fruit.
‘Cherokee green’ is another open-pollinated variety, but it was selected too recently to be considered an heirloom variety. These plants also were quite vigorous and probably produced the most fruit of any variety that I planted in 2017. Initially they seemed a bit bland, but later in the season the fruit had a lot of flavor. The flesh of ‘Cherokee green’ is indeed green, but the skin turns yellow when they ripen, which makes picking them easier. I also check that the fruit are a little soft when I pick them just to be sure.
‘Nectar’ produces red cherry tomatoes that are sweet and flavorful. It produced well again in 2017.
‘Garden gem’ and ‘garden treasure’ are two hybrids that have been recently developed; see How to Get Garden Gem Tomato Seeds. ‘Garden gem’ is semi-determinate, meaning it produces tomatoes for about five weeks, stops for a few weeks, then produces a smaller, second crop. The fruits are small, flavorful, and start to ripen relatively early. ‘Garden treasure’ produces flavorful, medium-sized fruit starting mid-season and has become one of my favorites.
I planted two paste tomato varieties in 2017, ‘Corleone’ and ‘Polish linguisa’. The latter is an heirloom variety that produces relatively large fruit, while ‘Corleone’ is a hybrid that holds the record for being the most expensive vegetable seeds that I ever bought; however I got a very dependable producer in return. I found neither variety to be particularly flavorful but that is typical with paste tomatoes.
Now we come to the dwarf varieties that I grew in containers in 2017. None of these produced a lot of fruit, which is to be expected, but they all did well enough that I decided to continue planting dwarf types in containers.
The fruits from ‘dwarf sleeping lady’ are described as brown, but I would say the ones that I grew were mostly red with green shoulders. Flavor of these small-medium sized fruit was good but not outstanding.
True to its name, ‘dwarf sweet Sue’ produced sweet fruit with good flavor. These were medium sized.
Unlike the other dwarf tomatoes I planted, ‘Polish dwarf’ wasn’t recently developed by the Dwarf Tomato Project but has been around since at least 1965. The small fruits are tart and flavorful, what I now realize is my idea of “real tomato flavor”; they were my favorite tomato of 2017.