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View Full Version : Gardeners - What's your favorite tomato?



Burl Source
05-23-2013, 09:14 PM
It is just finally getting warm enough here to get things going for the vegetable garden this year.
So far all I have planted are cherry tomatoes.
Where I live there are a lot of trees so there is not an area with enough sun for a regular veggie garden.
So I am growing everything in large pots that I can place in sunny locations.

I love tomatoes. So I was hoping some of you who share my affection for tomatoes might tell which varieties you like to grow and eat.
The reason I grow cherry tomatoes are to give me something to snack on when I am doing yard work and gardening.
I use roma tomatoes a lot because I like the fact that they don't turn into a mushy mess.
But the store bought ones are usually without flavor.
If there is such a thing as a variety of flavorful roma, I would love to know the name so maybe I can grow some.
My favorite slice and eat tomato is Brandywine (a local farm grows them) but there is about a 2 or 3 day window to eat them.

Our season seems too short for beefsteak and other large tomatoes.

So........
Are you growing tomatoes this year?
What is your favorite for eating? cooking? growing?

mhlee
05-23-2013, 09:56 PM
Cherokee Purple is my hands down favorite red/black/beefsteak tomato. It has the best balance of sweetness, acidity, flavor and texture of any red/black tomato in my opinion. (Brandywine used to be my favorite before growing a super Purple Cherokee tomato.) It's even awesome in sauce, except for the fact that when cooking it down, the sauce becomes a little watery. I would honestly rather eat one of these raw than any summer fruit because you can eat them with so many things and they're so good.

For yellow tomatoes, I really like Pineapple tomatoes. They're more sweet than Cherokee Purples, and are stunning when served because they're bright yellow/orange with a touch of red. Still, they have good acidity, strong tomato flavor and a meaty texture.

For roma-type plum tomatoes, the Costoluto Genovese tomato is excellent for cooking, although it doesn't have quite the sweetness of other tomatoes. It is, however, very meaty and cooks down to a rich sauce.

Burl Source
05-23-2013, 10:01 PM
Thank You Michael.
I am heading to the plant nursery this weekend and will see if I can find any of these.

Mingooch
05-23-2013, 10:16 PM
This years garden consists of:
CHILIPENO HYBRID --great flavor, little heat, wonderful in salsa--flavorful, but hard to find
HABANERO RED SAVINA whole lotta heat, love'm
JALAPENO JUMBO nice for stuffing/poppers etc
JALAPENO PURPLE more heat than a reg jalapeno, nice dark purple looks great in salsa too
BEEFMASTER VFN HYBRID good eating tomato
BIG BEEF VFFNTA HYBRID another nice to slice tomato
SAN MARZANO
SAN MARZANO REDORTA
SUPER ITALIAN PASTE
SUPER MARZANO VFNT HYBRID
SWEET MILLION FNT HYBRID great in salads, grilled, very sweet.
All of the san marzano's, & super Italians are great for gravy/sauce very little liquid or seeds, very meaty, and makes for great all year round leftovers(canned or frozen)

mkmk
05-23-2013, 10:50 PM
My favorite roma style is the San Marzano -- meatier, denser, and better flavor than standard romas. The Cherokee Purple is truly amazing -- one of my favorite slicers, too. Black Krim is very similar. I also really like Brandywines.

mhlee
05-23-2013, 11:06 PM
If you do happen to buy a Cherokee Purple or Pineapple, I've noticed that careful watering (only until the ground is just damp, and never on the fruit itself) really helps them grow and be flavorful, and helps keep the delicate skin from cracking which can lead to mold or insects. (This is based on my personal experience from growing Cherokee Purples for three years straight.)

I also have used an organic fertilizer to help get the plants going when they're small, and then occasionally, once they grow tall. Because the fruit can become large and heavy, I try to get the plants to get to a height of about 4 feet and supported by a strong stake, before letting them flower and produce; I pull off all flowers until about 3 feet so that the main stalk grows strong and tall first, and so that any branches won't bend to the ground when they start bearing fruit.

cnochef
05-24-2013, 12:54 AM
I love the Oxheart heirloom tomatoes. They have very little liquid or seeds and are as dense and meaty plus a whole lot more flavorful than San Marzanos or Romas.

Because of their greater size, they are also awesome sliced for tomato or BLT sandwiches.

Lucretia
05-24-2013, 12:56 AM
For cherry tomatoes, I love Sungold. We've tried some other yellow cherry tomatoes, and they aren't nearly as good. Cherry Roma is also a good cherry tomato. Still trying to figure out what is best for a slicing tomato. We've had a couple tomato-unfriendly summers and are still trying to figure out what grows well in the PNW. Some of the cooler weather tomatoes like Stupice and Legend don't taste that great, IMO. Had some decent success with Brandy Boy, a brandywine-style hybrid. Last year I tried several different types to try and find THE tomato--they were carefully labeled with a Sharpie, which promptly faded away to nothing so I have no idea which tomato was what. :curse: Really aggravating, because some were good and some were mealy. I HAAAATE mealy tomatoes. Did find out I don't like black tomatoes, tho. Earl's Faux and Marianna's Peace are supposed to be really good ones. They were among some that I grew, but don't know if they were good ones or bad ones due to the faded labels. Also got the tomatoes started late last year, so there wasn't much of a crop.

Trying again this year with several different types, and they're looking really good so far. We've gone from planting in the ground to pots on the driveway trying to get the ground warm enough for them. Last fall we picked up a little pop-up greenhouse at a hardware store clearance sale, and it's making a HUGE difference. They've been out there for several weeks, and I'm getting nice chubby little plants instead of pale, leggy ones. Some plants have with buds on them already! :bliss:

So maybe we'll find the "perfect" tomato to grow this year. (We're told not to put tomatoes out until July 4 due to possible low temperatures and frost.)

sachem allison
05-24-2013, 02:14 AM
principe borghese for plum tomatoes and I do believe there may also be a yellow variety. very tasty and they make a very flavorful dry tomato .

Duckfat
05-24-2013, 11:43 AM
Black from Tula
Brandywine
Striped German

kiefer
05-24-2013, 05:24 PM
Not the easiest to grow, or the most productive, but it is hard to beat the taste of a Brandywine.

Burl Source
05-24-2013, 06:59 PM
I agree with the Scary Looking Lady about the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes. Sweet like eating fruit.
I have not been successful with the beefsteak varieties and a local farm grows the Brandywine so I will get those there.
Several local people have also mentioned the San Marzano so I will try growing them.

Plus, I will look for the pineapple tomatoes Michael mentioned.

mhlee
05-24-2013, 07:55 PM
Mark:

Here's some info about the Pineapple. It's a beefsteak variety as well, and, to be honest, I've had trouble growing them. But, they're totally worth it, IMHO, if you can grow them.

http://parkseed.com/tomato-pineapple/p/05420-PK-P1/

eaglerock
05-25-2013, 03:03 AM
Sungold and principe borghese are my favorites. This year i'm trying pear and garden's delight :)

Lucretia
05-25-2013, 11:37 AM
Hmmm....our grocery store had some nice looking Pineapple plants the other day. Might have to go back and grab one. Although there are already too many little plants in our "tomato hut" to handle:

Sungold
Cherry Brandywine
Cherry Roma
Babywine
Brandy Boy
Better Boy
Best Boy
San Marzano
Ella's Pink Plum
Gregori's Altai
Brandywine
Earl's Faux
Purple Passion
Pruden's Purple
Marmande
Rutgers
Neves Azorean Red

Salty dog
05-25-2013, 02:52 PM
I have 48 Beefmasters and just added Mr. Stripey, Old German, Hillbilly and Lemon Boy.

SpikeC
05-25-2013, 11:01 PM
I've been a bit too depressed to feel like growing sh!t, butt I found a double grafted tom yesterday that I'm going to try, it has Marzano on one side and Brandywine on the other. On one plant.

boomchakabowwow
05-26-2013, 02:08 AM
Cherokee Purple is my hands down favorite red/black/beefsteak tomato. It has the best balance of sweetness, acidity, flavor and texture of any red/black tomato in my opinion. (Brandywine used to be my favorite before growing a super Purple Cherokee tomato.) It's even awesome in sauce, except for the fact that when cooking it down, the sauce becomes a little watery. I would honestly rather eat one of these raw than any summer fruit because you can eat them with so many things and they're so good.

For yellow tomatoes, I really like Pineapple tomatoes. They're more sweet than Cherokee Purples, and are stunning when served because they're bright yellow/orange with a touch of red. Still, they have good acidity, strong tomato flavor and a meaty texture.

For roma-type plum tomatoes, the Costoluto Genovese tomato is excellent for cooking, although it doesn't have quite the sweetness of other tomatoes. It is, however, very meaty and cooks down to a rich sauce.

cool!! i planted a cherokee purple for the first time this year!! cant wait.

i do alot of romas. we like to jar them. fun and good.

i have some random ones. this thread reminds me to make a list or take notes or something.

panda
05-26-2013, 03:16 AM
i don't garden, but try to get campari tomatoes, they are absolutely delicious on its own. size is in between cherry and roma, perfect for snacking. very sweet, smooth not grainy, super juicy!

Duckfat
05-27-2013, 08:57 AM
I have 48 Beefmasters and just added Mr. Stripey, Old German, Hillbilly and Lemon Boy.

Mr. Stripey and Old German are both awesome. They are potato leaf varieties so they a freakin huge plants and more susceptible to disease but well worth the effort.

Dave

Lucretia
05-27-2013, 10:24 AM
i don't garden, but try to get campari tomatoes, they are absolutely delicious on its own. size is in between cherry and roma, perfect for snacking. very sweet, smooth not grainy, super juicy!

I love Campari tomatoes! The other nasty things they call tomatoes at the grocery aren't edible, but campari's are pretty darn good when you can't have homegrown.

Burl Source
05-27-2013, 01:53 PM
I just got some pineapple plants yesterday.
and....I found out about where to get the Cherokee Purple.
My wife asked "are we going to live off tomatoes?", I said "maybe".
Going to be a lot of tomatoes this year.

Burl Source
05-28-2013, 12:17 PM
I planted 2 Cherokee Purple and 4 Pineapple plants yesterday.
Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

boomchakabowwow
05-29-2013, 03:55 PM
yesterday while watering, i peeked under my cherokee's skirt. there is a mutant runaway tomato under there. it is about the size of a tennis ball!! the rest of the fruit are tiny..i guess that one got an early start.

i only have 10 plants. my romas took the recent good weather and blasted out some fruit. all about the size of my thumb. this is the first year of fortifying my gardens with my own compost. my plants are about 5 feet tall..should be good if this cold front moves along.

with 10 plants i am gonna have a tomato problem. you big garden guys..that is a commitment!

Lucretia
05-29-2013, 04:01 PM
Just picked up a nice looking pineapple tomato plant at the grocery store!

bprescot
05-29-2013, 04:05 PM
Every year we've got a few standbys we always plant, and then we mess around with the remaining space in the bed.

Standbys:
Juliet Hybrid
Cherokee Purple
Sungold
Verna Orange

We've also tried and liked:
San Marzano Redorata
Zapoteca Pink Ribbed

mkmk
05-29-2013, 06:53 PM
Just ate my first homegrown Cherokee Purple, basil, and mozz sandwich.

Summer is here.

Mucho Bocho
05-29-2013, 06:57 PM
Where do you live the South west or do you have a hot house. Its legal in some states you know?

mkmk
05-29-2013, 07:12 PM
I'm in Austin, so I had plants in the ground by the first of March. Early Girls are at their peak, and the good stuff is just now starting to come in. It's easy to gloat about being able to eat homegrown tomatoes by Memorial Day, but by July 4 my garden will be a wasteland, except for the heat-hardy peppers.

At least by then, I'll have a freezer full of tomatoes (some blanched with basil, some roasted).

I'm getting ready to move to the Midwest, though, so I'm already starting to think about a greenhouse. I like having my own greens and herbs as close to year-round as I can get.

mkmk
05-29-2013, 09:05 PM
Here's from yesterday, with some Early Girl and Green Zebra -- but honestly the Cherokee Purple is so much better....

http://www.phobject.com/img/s4/v65/p1784443617-4.jpg

Mucho Bocho
05-30-2013, 10:33 AM
MK how do you support the tomatos? I've got a pretty nifty trick. This is from last year, I wind the plants around a single string supported by a treils.

http://i1051.photobucket.com/albums/s426/dennismpintoii/photo-2.png (http://s1051.photobucket.com/user/dennismpintoii/media/photo-2.png.html)

mkmk
05-30-2013, 03:10 PM
That's a great system!

I started by using basic cheap tomato cages, but they're pretty weak. I then built my own using cattle panel -- heavy steel fencing sections cut down with bolt cutters, and shaped into cylinders with the liberal application of obscenities.

You can see them here, in the background:

http://www.phobject.com/img/s4/v10/p3517480-4.jpg

Mucho Bocho
05-30-2013, 03:37 PM
MK, Nice density. You must have great sun exposure. You beans look amazing too. My father used to use those wire baskets. its cheap and simple but not the most attractive ;-) Plus, I'd always catch my wrist on the exposed metal stubbs when pulling fruit out.

I love your stone raised beds with the stone border. If you get a chance, take a shot of the whole garden.

Do you gardent organically or are you a miracle-gro grower?

mkmk
05-30-2013, 10:46 PM
A bit wider shot of the beds below -- I ripped out the grass along our driveway, and stepped them into the hill.

Definitely no Miracle Gro here -- organic compost, sometimes a little TomatoTone, and compost tea. I've got massive sun exposure in this spot -- makes for a fantastic start to the growing season, but it also contributes to the overall misery by July, when everything takes a two-month siesta. The midsummer heat here is just brutal. With the tomatoes and beans, it's a sprint to get as much growth and fruit production in as possible before the heat really sets in, which both shuts down the plants and exacerbates pests and disease.

My biggest problems are funguses (leaf spot, etc.) and leaf-footed bugs, which go by a much more expressive name in my yard. I don't mind sharing, but any tomato they feed on goes sour and refuses to ripen. Once past the nymph stage, they have no predators, other than me. I keep a spray bottle handy with an oil/soap mix in it that kills them on contact, but they still take a toll.

http://www.phobject.com/img/s9/v91/p1605034878-4.jpg

Mucho Bocho
05-31-2013, 09:51 AM
MK I feel your frustrations believe me. I have vine borers that have broken my heart too many times with summer squash.

Regarding your heat problem, have you seen this Shade cloth? 40% reduction in light trnasmission. Claims to drop the tempatire as much as 20% Not sure how you'd rig it though?

For general pests I've had great success with neem?

http://www.greenhousemegastore.com/product/40-percent-aluminet-shade-curtain/shade-cloth

Mucho Bocho
05-31-2013, 10:51 AM
Also, I love Plant Tone. Do you really think their specialised blends (roses, tomaotes...) really work are a gimic?

mkmk
06-01-2013, 02:39 PM
Squash borers are truly the devil's own -- it took me a while to figure out what was even causing the damage, since it looks like the stems get some kind of weird rot. I've had decent luck using BT on other kinds of worms, but I've given up on growing summer squash here.

I've used shade cloth a bit, but to do it right I'd really need to put up a structure. If I were staying here, I'd probably do a shade sail, with posts set in concrete -- but that will have to be someone else's project.

Honestly, I don't have any idea about Plant Tone -- the tomato version is the only one I buy, and I use it on all kinds of things. ;)

Today I gave all the tomatoes a foliar feed of this stuff, which I love:

http://www.ladybugbrand.com/products/Johns-Recipe.asp

Then more mixed with extra Alaska fish fertilizer and seaweed on the ground.

Mucho Bocho
04-03-2014, 01:19 PM
Mark, I think the most important consideration for choosing varieties is to find out what grows best in your area of the world. What works in Southern California might not work for someone that lives very much to the north (you).

What I've found the best is to go to the farmers market and find out they are growing and have success with.

Buy those. I've had delusions of grandeur trying to grow Cherokee Purple, and many other varieties that have not turned out so well.

Burl Source
04-03-2014, 08:50 PM
Last year I didn't do too well with the bigger tomatoes (pineapple and cherokee purple). My wife still teases me about my $100 tomatoes.
This year I am going to try San Marzano and probably Sun Gold because I like to munch on cherry tomatoes while working in the garden.
I am also going to try out making a couple raised beds.
Not warm enough here yet to put out the plants, but soon.

orangehero
04-04-2014, 12:40 AM
I really enjoy orange tomatoes. KBX, Kellogg's Breakfast, and Persimmon grow well for me and taste great. It's hard to make recommendations because different varieties will peform differently in your garden. Half the fun is trying all the varieties. Keep good notes and after several seasons you can have a list of top toms for your garden.

I have to difagree about Cherokee Purple, for me it is far down on the list for black tomatoes. They taste pretty good, but for me they get too large, the plants don't produce all that many fruit, and the have a very short window of peak ripeness...they will spoil rather fast if you have more than you can eat. Same story with Brandywine, overrated IMO.

It's also a good idea to try and get early, mid, and late season ripening toms so you get a steady flow and aren't inundated all at once. Stupice is a good early tom.

I find Sun Golds too sweet, but Black Cherry is awesome for snacking and they produce boatloads.

Good luck on your season!

Burl Source
04-04-2014, 10:00 PM
For me the sun golds are like sweet fruit which I like.
But I will look for the black cherry.
There are a couple small organic farms nearby that do well with the pineapples.
I try to get ones that are just right and eat them same day.
They have a farmers market near me but you have to be early as the tomatoes and salad greens tend to sell out within a couple hours.

Sam Cro
04-05-2014, 02:41 PM
Rutgers easy to grow, short day, and tons of flavor . among several others I grow .

Namaxy
04-10-2014, 08:08 PM
Caspian Pink...my all time favorite tomato. Not particularly easy to grow. Other favorites....Pruden's purple...easier to grow; and Mr. Stripey...very easy to grow.