Mule Team Tomato ?

Stellabee(7, Atlanta)February 27, 2013

Good Morning...

As March comes closer in on us, I am thinking more and more about the tomato varieties that will make up our garden this year. I know I am going to grow Black Krim, Cherokee Purple, Eva Purple Ball, and Japanese Black Trifele. I have seeds for Green Zebra and Yellow pear, but I've heard Green Zebra is prone to BER and does not always do well here in Atlanta/Decatur. I also read a post with the phrase "friends don't let friends grow Yellow Pear" along with other not so glowing reviews, hence I'm on the fence about growing Yellow Pear and Green Zebra at all.

In addition to everything above, I've all of sudden started to hear strong/positive reviews about Mule Team's performance here in Georgia. Has anyone that lives in Atlanta/Decatur or within the red clay zone grown mule team? If so, what do you think of it's ability to produce, disease resistance, and, of course, taste??!

Thanks So Much...

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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

I"ve grown mule team. It's OK but doesn't produce a ton for me.
Yellow Pear is a fine tomato for many reasons. The sort of more bulk seed oriented strains (the more common seeds found in big box stores etc) seem to be more disease prone, tasteless and crack more. I've grown some specialty home bred strains that are fine. It's not the tastiest tomato but I love it in a mixed tomato salad, and the neighborhood kids seem to love it.
Green Zebra is similar. I've had strains that are amazingly abundant and grow HUGE vines, and some that don't.

The trick to tomatoes here is air circulation (I like to prune them, it helps) and soil. If you never have, try adding worm compost or worm tea (or even compost tea) to your soil and create a field of beneficial microbes in your soil. Mulch well and keep evenly moist to keep everything alive. It makes a huge difference to the health of tomatoes. When you prune, after each and every cut, clean your clippers with some alcohol to prevent the spread of disease. Remove every single bit of discolored and spotted foliage.
This works amazingly well.
What is your "catagory" for a good tomato? Do you need canning tomatoes? I always add in cherry tomatoes to my slicers and salads (and I grow a lot of canners) - during the in-between times (or when the squirrels steal everything) you can rely on the cherries....

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 8:53AM
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Stellabee(7, Atlanta)

Good Morning, GGG,

Yes, I have run across a post where you instructed someone on how to prune tomatoes with scissors and alcohol both in hand. I decided I was going to do that this coming summer once the plants slow down and look like they need diseased parts removed. I already have the organic neem you recommended too.

I will also be sure to add worm tea and then mulch really well. I didn't do any of this stuff last year in addition to growing Brandywines (they didn't do so well at all here and many people warned me to try something else-my fault), so we didn't have a lot of tomatoes last year. Thank you for the info. I will be sure to employ it...

I don't suppose I have a tomato category or preference in terms of taste-not yet at least. I just want something very natural and heirloom, preferably created by nature not people that is disease resistant while producing a lot of food. In reference to 'not created by people', I know that even many of the heirlooms are human creations. Tom Wagner developed Green Zebra if I understand its history correctly. A lot of the other heirlooms seem to be this way too (Mule Team, Radiator Charlie's, etc). Hence I don't know if I should even be picky about that...

Oh, and thank you for the info on Yellow Pear. I'm going to try to grow at least 2 plants. I like the way they look, and I tasted some at the Morningside Market one time. I thought they were pretty good-certainly nothing wrong with them. I'm now thinking about black cherry too, since you made the 'rely on the cherries' comment. Everyone seems to say they provide a lot of food. Maybe I'll see if I can get my hands on some Black Cherry seeds or something like that. And feel free to recommend a cherry if you have time. I don't know a lot about the cherry tomatoes...

Thanks So Much, GGG,

Stella

p.s. If you need/want any of the special, not so easy to get at the store seeds that I have from Southern Exposure (Japanese Black Trifele Tomato, Corno di Toro Pepper, White Wonder Cucumber, Seminole pumpkin), let me know. I live in Decatur and can bring them to you. If not, that's okay too;-)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 11:40AM
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whatsup

I grew the Mule Team two years ago in some pretty heavy clay soil. Its not that big of a producer and nothing special in my opinion. You might try a couple and see how you like it.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 7:17PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Hi Stella:
Guess what? I grow white wonder tomato and Corno di Toro peppers too :) Black Trifele didn't do well in my own garden, but it did fine in a few other gardens I know of. My front garden is just full-on sun up to sun down relentless heat, not everything is happy to grow there anymore, I've grown seminole pumpkin. I may try it again. I'll see how this year progresses. So far there hasn't been much gardening, I've injured my back pretty badly so a lot of life has been on hold. Sadly, weeds don't listen to "on hold"...ha!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 4:12PM
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Stellabee(7, Atlanta)

Hi Whatsup, thank you much for the info. Since I've heard two people saying Mule Team is just okay here, I'm going to try something else. I have limited space. I'll just have to see how Eva Purple Ball, Black Krim, Cherokee Purple and a few other heirlooms do this summer...

Hi GGG, oh no! I have such high hopes for the Japanese Black Trifele. Well, I'll see how they do in both my and my Mom's garden this year-fingers crossed.
Hope your back feels better soon too. I hurt my knee last year and it was really hard/strange not having my body be in its normal, 'do what I want it to' state. Try not to strain it any so that it can heal as much as is possible for whatever type of injury it is...you've probably figured that out by now, huh:-)?

Thanks Again, Guys....

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 8:21AM
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riceke(Z8GASnellville)

Planted 5 Mule Teams last year and produced almost as many tomatoes as Big Beef Hyb. Not only hi production but the taste was outstanding. I never planted heirlooms because they never did well for me but Mule Team changed my mind. They even made it thru the july heat/humidity and prduced until frost altho not as great as they did in the Spring. But what tomato does produce after our brutal summer? This is one of my all-stars and will plant again.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 9:22AM
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Stellabee(7, Atlanta)

Hi Riceke, that's the kind of review I read from someone in North Georgia too. I've got all my tomatoes for this year, but I'm going to put Mule time on my grow list for next year along with Arkansas Traveler and Black Cherry. Mule Team sounds like it is definitely worth a try. Plus, there's really no other way to know for sure.
Thanx!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 1:12PM
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riceke(Z8GASnellville)

Hey Stellabee...it's funny how some varieties do well for some folks and other's not especially in the same State. I think alot has to do with your soil (friability, fertility, etc) and bugs. One year I had an investation of white flies so bad it looked like a cloud when you touched the plants. Last year I don't think I saw one. Also the same variety may not produce the same year the next year. Nature is funny that way. Hope your Mule Teams work well for you. I believe a lot has to do with trying which variety does well for your microclimate and then stick with them or it.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 9:09AM
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riceke(Z8GASnellville)

StellaBee...Arkansas Traveler was another big producer for me. It is pink but it too lasted thru the heat if kept watered. And you can't go wrong with Black Cherry.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 10:13AM
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