Let's Talk About Tomatoes

nutsaboutflowers(2b/3a)August 18, 2012

Harvesting of tomatoes is starting. My experiment between in ground and pots is coming along nicely.

I assume others do a comparison taste test. I've planted a bunch of heirlooms, and I'm looking for that old fashioned taste. Some of you would know what I mean. Remember the days when you could eat so many tomatoes that you'd get sores in your mouth?

Also, I really want to make some salsa from these babies. Does anybody make it and freeze it? Cook it, not cook it?

Let's talk =:)

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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

I have been eating tomatoes for a few weeks now and enjoying every mouth watering bite of my toasted tomato sandwiches! I'll try my first Mr. Stripey in a snadwich before bed. Just picked the first 2 Poseidon today. Must taste test them. I planted about 36 varieties I think. A few heritage but mostly some new varieties. Love Lemon Boy and Beefsteak! We'll see.

I usually stew them and freeze for winter use. Don't always have many left though as I am always giving away toms to friends and neighbours. :)


    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 8:15PM
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In 2010, late blight had totally claimed all of our many tomato plants and it struck again last year, though later in the season and most of the crop was salvageable, thankfully! I was relieved to find 'Defiant', a variety breed to have good resistance to late blight and also somewhat to early blight. I have to say I had doubted the claims of it also being good tasting and productive, though yes, it's also been most satisfactory in those categories and ripens early to boot. Due to the very good traits of this tomato and future concerns for late blight, I think this variety will be sticking around with us.

'New Girl' seems decent and has good production, though I haven't yet done a taste test of fully ripened fruit.

'Crimson Fancy' has nice good sized fruit, but the flavor seems only fair at best.

'Maskotka', a heavy setting large cherry type said to be very good tasting, though it hasn't flavored up nearly as touted and likely due to a very wet season and the variety being hit with early blight.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 1:00AM
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Growing 3 kinds - 2 heirlooms (Sophie's Choice, Stupice) and one what-was-supposed-to-be Tumbler, but isn't.

I don't think I'll grow Sophie's Choice again (an early, determinant, nest-like tomato). The one in the garden got hit with hail and being determinant, never grew back. It's now got some ripe tomatoes from what wasn't hail-trashed, but not many. The one I grew in a pot I managed to avoid from getting hit by hail, but it got some kind of blight or end-rot or something that destroyed about 1/4 to 1/3 of the crop before it ripened. Most of the rest tastes pretty good and has been picked or could be picked now, so it is early, but I won't repeat next year.

Stupice (an indeterminate, early heirloom) is going to be a repeat next year. Not a wild blast of tomato taste, but pretty good, beats store-bought by 100X. Fruit size is about like golf balls. This has been my main producer this year, and even though it was thoroughly bashed by hail on July 12, enough fruit was protected by fruit above it that we've had lots to eat, even made some salsa from it, and there's plenty more on the vine. Plus it is indeterminate so has recovered from the hail and has set lots of new fruit (though none of the new fruit is ripe yet), on staked vines now about 5 feet tall.

Fake tumbler - well, I avoided hail with this one and it sets large cherry tomatoes and grows like crazy and is producing lots of fruit, but I have no idea of the variety and besides the fruits are tasty but have a kind of mushy texture so I wouldn't grow it again anyway. I will be looking for an upright short cherry tomato for next year though, as I now wouldn't want Tumbler since the drooping habit would make it really hard to move around when hail threatens.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 3:12AM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

I'm growing my grandpa's heirloom that his family have been growing since the 20s. It could be moneymaker or it could be something that never had a name. The fruit is relatively small and terrible for splitting and growing with a big dent down one side. But the taste is excellent and they are dark red all the way through and they produce a lot more flesh than seeds and water.

I'm also growing an orange banana paste type which is a nice tomato. I think it will be good for canning and I've already made spaghetti sauce out of them fresh and it was good.

Anyway they're both good for canning which is the #1 reason I grow tomatoes.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 10:30AM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

Well, Mr. Stripey was delish! Similar to Lemon Boy being sweeter and mild tasting. Meaty without being dry. Fairly large tomato, about 3.5 - 4 inches across. Yummy! For lunch I will taste test Poseidon. :) just picked another huge Poseidon........:)


Mr. Stripey on left, Poseidon on right, bowl contains Lemon Boy, Super Fantastic. Better Boy, Beefsteak, Early Girl, Ultra Girl, Silver Fir Tree, and cherries Sungold, Sweet Million, and Tiny Tim.

Mr. Stripey

Cucumbers Morden Early, Long White and I can't remember the top one?? Maybe Green Dragon

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 10:37AM
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It's funny how people have different taste preferences when it comes to tomatoes. On the tomato forum, one of the most disliked varieties was Mr Stripey!

I grow Big Beef, a hybrid, every year for my salsa-making. Otherwise, I grow heirloom varieties; I especially enjoy the black tomatoes.. I have Cherokee Purple, Paul Robeson, Japanese Black Trifele, Black Zebra and Black Krim, along with about six others. I also have a couple of Sungold cherry...this is a monster of a plant, growing in all directions and is about five feet tall right now. Did I mention I'm the only one who will eat cherry tomatoes?

My salsa recipe is essentially the one from the Company's Coming Preserves (yellow) Cookbook...It's called Picante Salsa...I don't use the canned chilies, I prefer to use a handful of fresh jalapenos instead.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 3:11PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

I only have Early Girl. Some have been slowly ripening, but the ones i've eaten have very little taste to them. Not sure why this would be. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 8:00PM
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Mine are just starting to come in. Most of the plants have 10 or more tomatoes on the vines. I've found the taste of the larger tomatoes disappointing and variable. I may be letting them get overripe. The cherries aren't bad. The most agressive flavour (sharp tomatoe taste) was Reisentraube. The earlies like Stupice, Olpaka, etc. weren't the first ripe -- Burning Spear and Sungold OP were.

I broke down and topped the vines -- it was a jungle out there. I justified the butchery by assuming if tomatoes hadn't set by now; they wouldn't be ripe before frost. Also, with over 50 plants, I should have enough tomatoes. :)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 10:34AM
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I always grow my tomatoes in large black nursery pots and a few in maxicap grow boxes. I get much better performance in the pots than when they're in the ground. The soil gets a little warmer for them that way.

Am growing a lot of new varieties to me this year. A lot of russian and polish varieties I never tried before. I also have a couple of sungolds and a "patio" tomato. By far, the "patio" is producing the best. Seems nice and sturdy and survived the hail quite well.

Have tried many different recipes for salsa over the years. Now, I only make fresh salsa. Much better taste to me. Tastes like summer :) My recipe varies every week, as I use whatever tomatoes and peppers I have ready from the garden. Always lots of lime and I always add different chile powders that I have in my collection. That reminds me, I need to make another fresh batch tonight....

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 11:16AM
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hmacdona ... my sister also always makes fresh salsa ... it's OMG good eh!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 11:39AM
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mytime(3/4 Alaska)

I've noticed that amount of sunlight while the tomatoes are ripening has a lot to do with the flavor, so I'm probably going to be disappointed in all or most of mine this year, unless the weather makes a 180 change...not likely to happen at this point! Usually by now I would be forcing fresh tomatoes on anyone who visited, but we've had hardly any so far...a handful of sungold (which are remarkably blah this year) and 1 Early Girl...I wasn't expecting much from EG--hadn't grown it before and had read the flavor was nothing to get excited over--well, all 4 of us who ate 1/4 were thrilled with the flavor. Only complaint, again from all 4 of us, was the thick skin.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 11:50AM
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I am growing purple cherokeee, black Krim and Big Beef for me, as a slicer tomato to have on toast, or as a tomato salad with sliced onions - black olives - feta or mozzarella cheese, some crushed fresh garlic and a drizzling of olive oil.

I am trying an oxheart and Viva Italia plum for dh, as the slicers are too soft and juicy for him. Also am hoping to try roasting some of these " paste " like tomatoes for freezing to use as sauce during the winter.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 11:57AM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

Well, here is Poseidon before becoming my lunch. Not as sweet as I expected for a pink tomato but the skin was perfect, thin, and blemish free. Mild, tart taste. Good for acid sensitive tummies. :)


    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 2:15AM
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Pudge 2b

I'm growing Lunchbox, Roma and Veeroma and they are ripening up nicely. I've been pruning non-producing stems all season but last week I pruned heavy, exposing most of the fruit to sunshine. It seems that every year I'm ripening them in a cardboard box in the basement and this year looks like I may finally get vine ripened tomatoes

I'm also growing Sun Gold and I do love the flavour of them. So far the harvest from 4 plants has been far from huge but if the weather stays decent, from here on in there should be lots to pick.

I wanted to mention that I tasted a variety this year called Juliet - an oblong grape type and the taste was so awesome that I may grow them instead of Sun Gold next year. One of the best tomatoes I've tasted in a long time.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 9:52AM
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Well, I've been eating Elfin Grape off the plants for a couple of days, and they're delicious. Nice flavour and not too sweet, although I haven't been able to leave them long enough to be fully ripe. There's just something that satisfies the soul when you can stand in your yard and eat right from the plant =:)

An update on the inground/buckets experiment. I've taken 4 tomatoes with BER from the bucket plants. None from the inground ones, although I haven't bent over to look at each tomato on each plant. The Elgin Grapes seem to be producing about the same, but the other plants are definitely doing better inground. Also, the extra care and watering of the buckets is losing it's appeal. I'm not sure yet if I'll plant in buckets again next year. It's still too early to tell.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 1:03PM
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This summer's heat has vine ripened the tomatoes like I've never before seen, heck sometimes there's only a few somewhat red ones to pick before frost. Oh, and yes, I do prune the plants to focus energy on production rather than a mass of foliage. As the season progresses, the inside of the plant is stripped of internal leaves, suckers are removed and late blooms nipped off and the canopy maintained with a moderate amount of foliage, even the big long leaves are snipped back.

Pudge, next year I must grow 'Juliet'!

'Defiant' loaded in fruit with much more also higher up on the plant

'Crimson Fancy ... big honkin tomatoes!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 1:15PM
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Well isn't that interesting? I've never seen anyone take all the leaves off like that. I like it.

Do you suppose a really hot yard would end up with sunscald on the fruit if I did that? Maybe I'll give it a try on the plants at the back. =:)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 6:54PM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

Good looking maters Terry! You've got a lot on that plant. Mine are ripening on the vine for once too. I will never leave them unpruned after this. I'm really seeing the difference in production and ripening.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 7:25PM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

I bought Defiant seeds this year from T&T I think. They look awesome, Terry! Mouth watering! Next year. :)

I picked 12 different tomatoes today including my first vine ripe Ultra Sweet and Pink Girl, and was thinking to myself how it still thrills me to pick my own vegies from my own homegrown plants. Only a true gardener understands this and probably why I like to grow so many varieties. :) Not looking forward to winter. :(


    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 12:04AM
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I threw away one of my 5 gallon bucket grown tomato plants today.

The 4 very small tomatoes on it ( one of which had BER) just didn't seem worth the cost of water and work involved in waiting to see if they'd even have time to ripen on the vine.

The other similar plant in the ground has maybe 12 tomatoes, but much bigger ones.

I have a few varieties that will hopefully all have vine ripened "testers" soon, so that I can have a comparison taste test. =:)

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 6:16PM
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nutsaboutflowers and northspruce ... this photo shows that a good amount of the canopy is left to ensure plants remain vigorous and the fruit does not become scalded. I do have a very protected backyard that really heats up and the tomatoes have not become scalded ... though, years ago, such had occurred when I over zealously removed too much foliage at one time, so now I prune in stages. The plants shown have had most of their fruit harvested.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 12:50AM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

Well my patio tomatoes have been harvested - by the stinkin dog. Probably the same dog who gleefully ate all the 5000 SU hot peppers. She's makin dog salsa in there.

Anyway the garden box tomatoes are absolutely rocking. I've picked a large basket off the two plants to can, and the majority of them are full sized but still unripe. They have stopped splitting since the first batch, I guess because the weather has cooled down and is a bit wetter.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 12:22PM
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By "probably the same dog" do you mean your dog? Bad dog! Bad dog!

Interesting that you're canning unripe tomatoes. What are you making?

BTW anyone......do birds eat tomatoes? The beautiful perfect tomato I was going to eat for lunch has been half eaten by either a bird or maybe a squirrel? Either way I'm not impressed. I already left a whole tree of chokecherries for the birds to eat, so what more do they think they deserve? =:)

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 2:37PM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

Oh yes it was my dog, I just don't know which one. I'm guessing it was Missie because she's sneaky and ate the peppers.

The tomatoes that I'm canning are the few that are already ripe. I see how I worded that made no sense. What I meant was most of the tomatoes are still on the plants, unpicked and unripe. I don't think green tomatoes have enough acid to can, plus they would taste gross. ;)

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 6:45PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

My tomato plants are really producing this year - they're so loaded with tomatoes that the cages have fallen over on a couple. At first, they didn't taste that great, but they're a lot better now.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 8:58PM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

So many tomatoes!!!! I love it! Picked 3 pails FULL Monday morning to send down south with the kids. And those were just the ripe ones! I also sent about 25 pounds of green ones for them to ripen in the house. My vines are still incredibly loaded!

We had wicked hail last week so I was really glad I didn't trim my monsters. I saved all my babies. Trimmed enough to fill about 8 large green bags and tied up the monster Beefsteak greenies, Monday morning. I have a more detailed account of the individual ones I planted this year but as far as my pot vs in ground goes, I only did 2 types. Beefsteak and Early Girl.

Beefsteak grew easy and fast in the pots and produced lots of small (for Beefsteak) tomatoes that ripened on the vine. There are still a few on the 6 potted BSs to ripen. The ones in the ground are huge, sprawling all over the fence and are LOADED with large green babies. I had to tie them all up to the fence and dog fence.

Early Girl did the same thing as BS in the pots. Fast, smaller and ripened well. Still have a few on the potted plants to ripen and a few more on the inground ones. In ground are bigger tho. :)

Most of my tomatoes did well this year and I have satisfied my taste tests for the most part. I have also had a few uninvited taste testers this year. Squirrels I think as the dogs can't or don't touch the big tomatoes. My grandpuppy found a salamander in the yard on Monday but I don't think they like tomaotes. :) And I feed EVERYBODY all year!

Sorry about your losses Gil and Lynn. My DH comes in to my office with a white cucumber in his hand, full of holes and asks me if I gave it to Chloe to play with. I soon discovered they all were "playing" with the pail full of cucs! Jack spent the morning in the tomato patch with me sampling the cherry ones. :) I really need a farm.......

And more room to plant vegies! I love providing fresh vegies just like Dad did and I love being the Mom that they all come "home" to. :) :) :)

Today I am grateful for fresh homegrown tomatoes and this old yard to grow them in!


Jubilee before lunch

Pineapple before and at lunch. The cherry is Sungold

Cherokee Purple, Jubilee, Beefsteak at the back and Don's tomaotes. Don't know why this picture didn't copy???

These three came off a plant Larry gave me labeled Don's tomatoes (his neighbour apparently). I don't know what he crossed these with but I think it was a pumpkin! These were grown in a pot and the biggest one is 3 lbs.! I will be saving seed! :)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 12:11AM
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Ginny, those sure are some mighty impressive tomatoes you have there! What's your favorite full flavored productive large sized tomato?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 1:00PM
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I was going to start Part 2 of this thread so it didn't get too long for people to want to read, but there's a question from twrosz that Ginny hasn't seen yet, so......

Vine ripening is coming along very well so far, with a total of 42 eaten (mostly by me) and a dozen or more ready by tomorrow or the next day. Total count doesn't include the tons of Elfin Grape that I've eaten outside, as there's been too many to count =:)

I'm sorry to report that I don't have any sores in my mouth yet, as I was hoping to get them like I did when I was a kid. I love an acidic tomato.

I weighed my lunch tomato today. It weighed .99208 of a pound. One thick slice made a wonderful toasted sandwich, with only a bit of bread on the edges not covered =:)

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 5:20PM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

Aaah NAF I pictured your tomato sandwich with some S&P and a little mayo, it looked beautiful.

My tomatoes are still producing well despite a second round of dog plundering. I wish I'd kept track of tomato numbers but besides fresh eating, I've canned 12 jars and have another 12 jars or so to can in the next couple of days, and about as many again still ripening on the vine. I looked into making paste but 5 lbs of tomatoes cooks for 7 hours (attended) and makes 3 jars... no thanks! I'll keep buying that flat from Costco for $5. LOL

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 6:45PM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

OK, I guess I should answer Terry. I have yet to make the short trip out to visit him and take some white cucs and my favorite tomatoes. :)

Terry, I have to say that I really still like my Beefsteak and Bush Beefsteak. I didn't seem to enjoy the orange and yellow ones as much this year; too sweet. Lemon Boy being an exception to that. Cherokee Purple was awesome and I did enjoy the huge Don's tomato. Still have about 6 left on the vines.

Super Sweet was "super sweet" and I wasn't crazy about Poseidon or Silvery Fir Tree. Husky Red was delish and so was Oxheart. Of the orange ones I liked Feuerwerk.

I have at least 2 toasted tomato sandwiches every day with salt and mayo. :) The best! I have yet to stew any tomaotes to freeze as I have been giving them all away! Took about 10 toms and 6 white cucs to my doctor yesterday and she asked me if I expected her to share them with the staff. Lol! I told her she could keep them all to herself if she wanted. :)

Dogs are fed and I am off to make my third tomato sandwich for the day. :)Picked another 3 pails full this morning so am off to deliver vegies tomorrow. :)


    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 8:03PM
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Well, the weather is cooling off substantially, and nightly lows will be close to zero degrees.

Does everyone pull out their plants and ripen in the house, or do you cover your tomatoes and hope they'll still do well on the vine?

And.........is green tomato pie good ???

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 11:54AM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

I'll be picking everything off mine tomorrow. The forecast low is 2 and then 0 for Monday. All the tomatoes left on the vines are full sized and starting to turn anyway, so they'll be finishing off in a cardboard box.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 3:38PM
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Hi Gillian.

Our forecast is similar. I think I'll do the same, as the tomatoes don't ripen very well when temperatures drop that low anyway, and I'm not in the mood to cover every night either.

Besides, the faster I get them out of there, the faster I can prepare that part of the garden with grass/leaves/kitchen scraps. I've already done the part of the garden that had the beans. I even transplanted 6 worms that I dug up elsewhere. Eeew! I could feel them crawling on my hand through my glove. Where's a little boy when you need one ??

Lynn =:)

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 6:52PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

Mine too - i picked the ripe ones today and will pick the green ones tomorrow.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 8:16PM
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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

Just brought in the rest of the tomatoes. Frost warning for the city tonight. I think I will weigh what I have picked today and tally up my harvest from the year. :)


    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 9:43PM
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No frost here yet, the lower levels of Calgary got hit though last week.

Still lots of tomatoes, got some from "German Gold" (?), wow, what a treat. Almost 100% meat inside, great taste.

Also made some spaghetti sauce and salsa with the Tumblers and Sungolds. Put in some cilantro seeds, besides the abysmal germination rate, the ones that did come up grew very quickly and provided me with lots of deliciousness.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 12:25PM
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