I’ve got an exciting one for you today for #tomatotuesday! Come take a walk with me through our garden, I take you on a tour of the tomato varieties we are growing. We have over 40 heirloom varieties this year, and you’ll get to see most of them in action. Check out how our early summer tomatoes are progressing – some are well ahead of the pack, and find out which are the laggers. I’ll talk about early and late producing varieties, and the cherry and beefstake varieties we are most excited about. I also touch on tomato staking, determinate (bush) / indeterminate varieties and some tomato diseases.
It’s a jam-packed tour and I show you the following varieties:
❥ Variegated tomatoes: Painted Lady and Splash of Cream
❥ Kellogg’s Breakfast
❥ Goldman’s Italian American
❥ Purple Cherokee
❥ Pineapple Pig
❥ Big Rainbow
❥ Striped Roma
❥ Brad’s Atomic Grape
❥ Red Pear
❥ Black Zebra Roma
❥ Indigo pear
❥ Dark Galaxy
❥ Sart Roloise
❥ Big Pear
❥ Eight Ball
❥ Rouge de Marmande
❥ Barry’s Crazy Cherry
❥ Yellow Tigerella
❥ Tommy Toe
❥ Wapsipinicon Peach
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How are our early summer tomatoes going?
You’ll see first up in our tomato garden tour, that this year our earliest ripening tomato is a Sweetie yet again! This was from a plant I sowed last autumn and deliberately over-wintered as an experiment. Sweetie is one of the most cold tolerant varieties so I thought I’d give it a go. It did look quite sad over winter as our yard is extremely shady and cold. Even in our greenhouse temperatures, go down to 1 to 2 degrees Celsius overnight, which is very cold. However, I managed to keep it alive, and it has had a huge head-start. It has been producing ripe tomatoes for us since November, which is a record in our shady garden! It is the first tomato to reach the roof of the greenhouse, and Summer has only just started!
The early varieties are really showing their strength, and already have huge trusses of tomatoes and many more than one truss. The ones that are way ahead of the pack so far are: Sweetie, Costoluto, Tigerella, Striped Roma, Yellow Tigerella, Red Pear, Barry’s Crazy Cherry, Rouge de Marmande and Brad’s Atomic Grape. These tend to be the smaller varieties (other than Costoluto which is way out-performing its beefstake peers!).
Rouge de Marmande gets a special mention as a bush (determinate) variety, that is a superstar every year. Being a bush or determinate variety, it’s a tiny plant but is loaded with fruit already and well on it’s way to being as productive as last year’s!
Not surprisingly, the ones in the greenhouse tend to be taller and further along than the equivalent variety in our garden, due to the warmer microclimate.
I’m starting to notice some pests on our tomatoes – due to the cooler and wetter start to summer, white flies are beginning to build up in number. I am going to keep watch and see if any predators step in through an integrated pest management technique. If not then it’s important to act quickly with organic sprays as they can suck the life out of your plants.
It’s so important to stay on top of tomato pruning, tying and staking, and I show you some tricks we employ in the video. I’ll also have a separate article and video out later on the differences between Indeterminate and Determinate (bush) varieties of tomatoes, and my Dummies guide to tomato pruning!
What varieties are we most excited about?
I am excited about all our new varieties, which is most of the tomatoes on that list! If I had to pick some faovurite it would be the variegated tomatoes and the dark-coloured tomatoes.
It’s our first time growing variegated tomatoes and I am beyond excited!!! There’s something about variegation that’s irresistible, and when I heard that variegated tomatoes existed, I had to try them. We are growing Painted lady – a tomato with green and white painterly leaves, and Splash of cream – creamy green and white leaves, with a candy-cane striped stem. The splash of cream tomato tends to throw out entirely white leaves, and unlike indoor plants these leaves seem to survive even though they can’t photo-synthesise. I think these variegated tomatoes are worth growing just for their foliage, but their fruit are equally pretty! I can’t wait to show you.
I am also lusting after some of our dark, broody tomatoes like Dark Galaxy, Black Beauty, Black Cherry and Eight Ball. I can’t wait to see them colour up and to share with you.
We are also growing the following varieties which I can’t wait to show you in another VLOG in the next few weeks. I will also update you on how our ‘Wall of tomatoes’ and ‘Tomatoes in shade’ experiment is going:
❥ Orange fleshed purple smudge
❥ Thai pink egg
❥ Jaune Flamme
❥ Black Beauty
❥ Black Krim
❥ Black Russian
❥ Black Beefstake
❥ Green Zebra
❥ Black Cherry
❥ Yellow Pear
❥ Tomato red ‘must-grow’ unnamed
❥ Grosse Lisse
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