Finally eating tomatoes!

laurell(8 - Washington)July 10, 2013

We just ate our first tomato of the year last night! It was a small orange cherry type. I sliced it in half and sprinkled with salt. DH and I each ate half.

In my visqueen tent
Orange Paruche - I have a few on this one, although it hasn't set more fruit in a while - new
Green Zebra - no fruit set yet, it did this last year too
Anna Russian - 10ish decently sized totally green fruit - she's made it to 6' tall!
White Cherry - nothing - new to me this year
Julia Child - 3-4 fruit - new
Yellow Brandywine - nada - new
Black Krim - several fairly small for now - new
Stupice -TONS. I have probably 15-20 just sitting on dirt right now, plus a bunch of others
In a pot on the deck
Glacier - several fairly small fruit
Oregon Spring - looks like I'll have a few full-sized ripe ones by next week

What varieties are you growing? What is their status?

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Mortgage Lifter - three almost there but still green and four starting.

Manitoba - two almost there still green, three new starts.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 7:51AM
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laurell(8 - Washington)

Have you grown Mortgage Lifter before? When I saw the 1-2lb fruit description, I didn't trust it to ripen before frost. How do the fruits compare flavorwise to other heirlooms?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 10:52AM
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This is my first tomato garden ever. But so far it's going good. I have some white flies that just love the Mortgage Lifter. The very first tomato on that plant started on June 20 and it is now baseball size, but still green. I figure that I should have an exhausted production by the end of September. I'll keep you informed.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 2:59PM
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nw_gardener(8 (WA/Kirkland))

I have the following varieties:

1. Early girl - lots of fruit on each plant, my first tomato just started turning red - expect to harvest this weekend.

  1. Sungold (cherry) - harvested a few ripe tomatoes this past week. The flavor was alright, but I think I prefer sweet million/sweet 100 more. The plant has been very productive this year.

3. Sweet 100 (cherry) - Productive plant, if less so than sungold. Got a few red tomatoes over the past week with good flavor. Not as sweet as sweet million which was a little surprising to me.

4. Brandywine - Have good fruit set this year, remains to be seen how many will fully ripen. I have two plants, one in a pot (2 gallon) and another in a planter; the potted plant has four fruits about cherry size or larger.

5. Black Krim - two huge fruits, still green but slowly turning black. I am curious to see how they turn out, this is the first year I am growing this variety.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 5:05PM
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This has been a great summer in the NW for tomatoes and peppers. My new favorite is Orange Paruche. It ripened much before sungold and is a bit larger. I also tried grafting tomatoes. 50 percent grew on the grafts and there was a lot of blossom drops. I have seeds left and may try again next year.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 11:01PM
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Down here in Portland the tomatoes "came on" around 20 August. The bulk are harvested. Many fully ripe tomatoes showing in neighborhood plantings.

Lots of warm nights, probably averaged above 60 for the last month. Most days in the 80s.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 11:42PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

My first year gardening in PNW, Seattle area.
We had bad month of May, rainy, raw weather. It did not warm up till June.

-- myfirst ripe mater was fron Early Girl. Then followed by SWEET N NEAT, and then lots of cherrie and roma.

-- my Black Krim has lots of fruits bu nothing has ripen yet. Any day now. Brandywine is way behind.

-- for the next season I am going to plant STUPICE and SUNGOLD, for sure. NO MORE BW for me.

So it is good to know what grows and yield best around here.

BTW: love to get a feed back from those who grew Mortgage Lifter, Green Zebra and Stupice. AND, any recommendations ?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 6:07AM
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mariev_seattle(PNW Z8 Sunset Z5)

This is my third year growing tomatoes in Seattle, and it is, by far, the best summer we've had for tomatoes. Most of my non-cherry tomatoes (Paul Robeson, Black Krim, Black Prince, Green Zebra, and Black and Red Boar) finally started breaking color around the last week of August, about 40 days after fruit set and 70-75 days after planting, about 10 days earlier than last year.

Harvest of black tomatoes on Aug. 30th

Harvest of other tomatoes on Aug. 30th

Seysonn, I hate to break it to you, but this May and June and our summer in general have been unusually warm and sunny compared to our usual weather in Seattle. Most years summer doesn't really start until early July, when the rain stops and warmer weather finally arrives. Most Seattle residents don't plant out until about Memorial Day, and we usually use PVC tunnels until early July to keep plants dry to avoid blight and keep them warm enough to grow.

The last two summers were unusually cold and wet, and some Seattle residents had begun referring to the month between May and July as Juneuary. Due to the cold, wet weather, we have unusually low pollination rates early in the season. I increase pollination by shaking flower trusses, but I still think yields in the PNW will always be lower for larger tomatoes (4+ oz. or bigger).

Here are my tomato recommendations:

For cherry tomatoes, you can't beat Sungold. I grew Blush last year, and while the fruit was unique and beautiful, it took about 1-2 weeks longer to ripen and didn't taste as good as Sungold. Next year I want to try Lollipop and Emerald, both recommended by Tania (who manages Tomatobase and is up in BC).

For slightly larger tomatoes, I like Black and Red Boar, which is smaller but almost as flavorful as Cherokee Purple, as well as Green Zebra, which has a tart but good flavor. It's my first year growing GZ, and my plant has been incredibly prolific. I've already harvested 15, and I have another 40 on the plant that are between 1-2" in diameter.

Last year I grew Kimberley and Jaune Flamme, which were both prolific and ripen about the same time as Sungold, but I found their flavor to be relatively mild, just slightly better than store-bought tomatoes, maybe due to the unusually cold and wet weather last year. In any case, they didn't make the cut this year.

For larger beefsteak tomatoes, my favorites for flavor are the black tomatoes like Cherokee Purple and its variations (Spudakee, Vorlon, Indian Stripe, etc.), Black Krim, Black Prince, and Paul Robeson. They usually ripen in about 75-85 days from planting when we have our cooler summers, and this summer they ripened in 70-75 days.

Last year I grew Isis Candy from seed but ended up getting ~1" red cherry tomatoes that were almost as sweet as Sungold. I saved seed and planted two plants this year, Not Isis Candy I and II. My Not Isis Candy I plant is producing Jaune Flamme-size fruit with the look and sweetness of Isis Candy, so I've been saving seed to grow next year. I also grew Cherokee Purple from saved seed, but the fruit this year is unusually small, about 1.5 oz. versus the 4-6 oz. fruit I usually get. Still, I've harvested 10 fruit already and have about 50 more fruit on the plant compared to the 10-12 I usually get from CP.

Last year I also grew other beefsteaks and hearts like White Queen, Porkchop, Gogosha, and Orange Russian 117, but they took 90+ days to ripen, had really low yields (Of the New Dwarf varieties, I grew New Big Dwarf last year, and while the plant yielded 18 tomatoes, I found the flavor to be too mild. I'm growing Rosella Purple and Tasmanian Chocolate this year, and neither is very prolific (6-8 fruit total). The fruit from Tasmanian Chocolate is OK but not quite as good as the other black tomatoes, so I'm hoping Rosella Purple will be better. In general, most plants for the larger tomatoes don't get to be more than 4-5' tall in my garden, so growing the dwarf varieties isn't critical since I'm not growing the plants in pots.

Here is a link that might be useful: 2012 Tomato Trials discussion

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 2:14PM
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I've been growing tomatoes in this area for many years and this is the best year I can remember!! I only grow cherry types and started harvesting on July 3rd and they are still producing at an amazing rate. Only two plants and I am giving them away - can't eat them fast enough.

I tried SunSugar this year instead of SunGold (my absolute favorite) and while the taste was very similar, the production was much lower. But the Sweet 100's are sure living up to their name!!

For anyone on the west side of the Sound that may be interested, the 10th annual great Tomato Taste-Off will be this coming Saturday (9/14) at the Poulsbo Farmer's Market. Great resource for some serious homegrower's tomato tips as well as tasting some of the the best varieties.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 5:17PM
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