Plant the Tastiest Homegrown Tomatoes Varieties


Plant the Tastiest Homegrown Tomatoes

Discovering New Tomatoes Varieties

My winter seed order always includes a collection of tomato varieties different from, and more wondrous than, and I’ve grown before in my small vegetable patch. Even while they’re still in seed packets, I’m counting down the days to summer’s first luscious tomato. The devotion to homegrown tomatoes seems to encompass all cultures. The tangy, sweet-sour flavor and melting texture of sun-warmed, vine-ripened tomatoes are simply unequaled.

I grew up feasting on my grandfather’s tried-and-true ‘Rutgers’ tomatoes. But in my own garden, I embrace a carpe diem philosophy and explore new tomato frontiers. They adapt so easily to hybridizing techniques that seed catalogs can only list a fraction of the hundreds of different sizes, shapes, colors, and plant characteristics available.

An early fascination with large fruit led me to the super-sized producers such as ‘Ultra Magnum’ and ‘Mortgage Lifter’ (one kilogram or more), ‘Bragger’ (up to 1.5 kilograms), and ‘T & T Monster’ (two-plus kilograms). Not only is the fruit gargantuan, but the plants need 2×4 lumber to keep them upright.

Big tomatoes with less demanding support systems followed, and I was happy with scaled-down but still large tomatoes such as ‘Red Sun’, ‘Celebrity’ (V, F2, N, T), ‘Ultra Boy’ (V, F, N) and ‘Big Beef’ (V, F, N, T). Each fruit (up to 500 grams) is enough to fill my hand but doesn’t require a hoisting device to lift.

As an appreciator of Italian food, it was, of course, necessary to include a sampling of plum-shaped tomatoes, bred for their meaty interiors with minimal seeds. These are just the ticket for thick sauces or preserving for winter use.

Read More: Best Types of Vegetable and Tomato Cage

True Italian ‘San Marzano’ (V, F2) seed produced thin, sprawling plants with slender fruit; their elongated shape was ideal for packing tightly in jars. But North American-bred ‘Viva Italia’ and ‘Plum Dandy’ produced stout, husky vines with chunky, plum-shaped tomatoes of impressive uniformity.

Another year I planted small cherry and cluster tomatoes, running them up fences, through railings, and draping them from a wire grape trellis. ‘Early Cascade’ (C, V, F, L, A) produced generous clusters of five-centimeter, bigger than cherry-sized, fruit over a long season.

‘Matt’s Wild Cherry’ and ‘Red Currant’ were nearly true to wild form, making irrepressible, scrambling vines with small, intense, berry-like tomatoes to eat immediately or throw the whole into salads. ‘Tami-G’ was in an entirely different class-an an expensive hybrid princess, purchased for the breathtaking price of $1 a seed.

Her sleek and regal demeanor reflected years of hybridizing, and the investment paid off in elegant, dripping clusters of grape-like red orbs. As though by divine matchmaking, a century-old ‘Yellow Pear’ heirloom tomato mingled its dangling luminescent yellow fruits with the ultra-modern ‘Tami-G’, and I almost felt as if I shouldn’t be looking.

A Rainbow of Tomates Cultivars

Cherry Tomatoes

‘Gardeners Delight’ and ‘Sweet Chelsea’ were my staple cherry tomatoes for several years, never disappointing and always ready to provide at least a pint or two of round, red fruit to pop into the mouth.

However, my cherry-sized favorite is ‘Sungold’ (F, T), a vine of manageable height and girth that produces round, tangerine-orange fruit with an intensely sweet, rich taste with hints of apricot.

The dwarf, 45-centimetre-tall ‘Orange Pixie’ also has these qualities and can be grown in a container. ‘Sungold’ has 11 to 14 Brix units (sweetness in fruits and vegetables is measured by sugar Brix units) in each fruit.

Most sweet cherry-type tomatoes measure 8 to 10 Brix, keeping them slightly ahead of full-sized tomatoes, which are in the range of 6 to 8.

Read More: Growing Hanging Tomatoes Method

Tomatoes Plant the Rainbow

It’s no wonder tomatoes were grown as ornamental plants long before their fruits were considered edible. Well-tended tomato plants are beautiful specimens in a mixed border and can surprise you with unpredictable colors in the ripening season.

Standard market tomatoes have yellow skin over red flesh, making a deep shade of scarlet comparable only to fire engines.

Heirloom varieties offer a rainbow of colors, such as the pastel pink ‘Watermelon Beefsteak’ and ‘Arkansas Traveler’, the result of clear skin over red flesh. When yellow-skinned, red-fleshed tomatoes retain green pigment, the ripe fruit takes on maroon-purple and brown tones as seen in ‘Black Krim’ and ‘Cherokee Purple’.

Garden visitors find it hard to ignore ‘Taxi’ (C), an amazing, caution-sign yellow, and striped beauties such as tangy ‘Green Zebra’ (green streaked with yellow) and tropical-flavored ‘Mr. Stripey’ (red streaked with yellow).

Next summer I might try some of the white tomatoes-‘White Wonder’ (with fruit weighing up to one kilogram), ‘Great White’ (with pineapple, melon, and guava flavors), and the adorable cherry types, ‘Snow White’ and ‘Ghost Cherry’.

Tomatoes Plants Caring

You have only to slice into a ripe tomato to understand its dependence on abundant soil moisture. Tomatoes are water storehouses, relying on moisture to manufacture their unique balance of acid and sugar. (Inadequate moisture stunts vine growth and make the fruit dry and flavorless.) Tomatoes grow best in sandy loam with a pH between 6 and 6.8. Their most important requirement is the liberal addition of organic material (such as peat moss and shredded leaves), with coarse sand mixed in for efficient drainage.

Mulch is necessary to prevent water evaporation. Shredded bark is a good choice for tomatoes (applied five to eight centimeters deep over the roots), but production increases dramatically in short, northern growing seasons with plastic film over the soil.

If you can tolerate the intrusion of agricultural plastic in your garden, black or dark green film boosts fruit production by up to 40 percent. Red plastic (sold as SRM-Red) induces early fruiting by reflecting infrared rays into the plants.

Tomatoes need at least six hours of sun daily; while we think of them as heat-loving plants, they’re more comfortable in moderate temperatures. They grow and blossom best at daytime temperatures between 21 and 24°C and nights between 10 and 13°C. The ideal “tomato summer” is found on the Russian Riviera of the Crimean peninsula (ancestral home of ‘Black Krim’ and other excellent cultivars), where the high of 24°C occurs in July. Actually, I would be very comfortable there myself. Perhaps there’s a little tomato patch on the Black Sea in my future.

Gardening Growing tips

  • Soak seeds overnight to remove any germination inhibitors. The gel surrounding tomato seeds contains potent chemicals that prevent seeds from sprouting inside the fruit.
  • Start seeds indoors five to six weeks before setting them out in the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Small plants adapt better to windy spring conditions outdoors, growing roots while the air is cool and producing strong growth when it warms up.
  • Remove the first set of branches from each plant; bury the plants on a horizontal slant if they’re tall, all the way up to the top flush of leaves. The buried stem will grow additional roots to strengthen the plant all season.
  • If cutworms sever young plants at soil level, salvage the cut stems and put them in a jar of water. They’ll sprout roots and be ready for transplanting in two weeks.
  • For stronger root and leaf development, redirect energy into early growth by removing the first sets of flowers until plants are 30 centimeters tall.

Tomato Growing Tricks

  • In cold regions with fewer growing days, select early varieties of tomatoes that mature in 50 to 65 days from planting, such as ‘Early Girl’, ‘Early Pick’, ‘Moskvich’, ‘Daybreak’, ‘Oregon Spring’ and ‘First Lady’.
  • Tomatoes hate competition. Give each plant enough space to extend its leaves without touching another plant.
  • Always irrigate tomatoes from below. If frequent late-summer rain causes cracking of fruit, grow split-resistant varieties: ‘Basket Vee’, ‘Bellestar’, ‘Duchess’, ‘Heinz 1350′, ‘Juliet’ or ‘Juliet Hybrid’, ‘Marion’, ‘Park’s Whopper’, ‘Pilgrim’, ‘Spitfire’, ‘Summer Sweet’, ‘Sunbrite’, ‘Sunmaster Hybrid’, ‘Sweet Million’, ‘Sweet Gold’ and ‘Sweet Orange’.
  • Mix homemade garden compost or composted manure in the soil and supplement with liquid fish or kelp emulsion every third week. Avoid high amounts of nitrogen, as it will encourage leaf growth at the expense of flowers and fruit.

Planting Tomatoes in Containers

  • Provide a container at least 30 to 60 centimeters wide, depending on the potential size of your plant.
  • Select a dwarf variety, with heights from 45 to 75 centimeters; determinate varieties, which stop growing when they reach a specified height of 90 to 100 centimeters, also do well in containers.
  • Use a growing medium composed of two parts soilless mix, one part garden compost or composted manure and one part coarse builder’s sand.

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