2012 tomato trials

gardengal48October 9, 2012

I finally ripped out the rest of my tomatoes this week - late blight and/or some other fungal issue has pretty much put paid to the vines and I think our warm, sunny vine-ripening weather is about to be a thing of the past :-)

So my big experiment was to try a bunch of different cherry tomatoes, which IME have a better chance of ripening in our iffy tomato climate than do many other varieties. Plus I just like the "tomato candy" sweetness of most cherry types. I tried 'Sungold', 'Isis Candy', 'Italian Ice' and 'Red Lightning'. I will admit I was swayed by the PR when I was reading up on these for sign writing purposes for my nursery, as 'Sungold' was really the only variety I had any experience with. Italian Ice is a pure white cherry that looked gorgeous in the photos, Isis Candy was supposed to give Sungold a run for its money in sweetness and Red Lightning.....well, the descriptors were "irresistable flavor and electric coloring".

Next year I am only planting Sungold. It matured the earliest, produced the biggest crop and had no disease issues. It also tasted the best by a large margin.

The Isis Candy tasted nothing like the Sungolds - no sweet, tomato candy flavor. Kinda mushy and tasteless in comparison. Produced quite well though. The Italian Ice were all show and no go. A very pale, greenish-white (I am reluctant to use the term 'pure') tomato that tastes just how you'd think a white tomato might taste.......more or less no taste at all. And the Red Lightnings were a big dud - not a single ripe fruit on the plant before disease wiped them out. So no confirmation on the flavor & coloring hype. And I'm not sure how this ever got categorized as a cherry.......unless one is used to plum-sized cherries.

I did enjoy the Sungolds and picked enough to share with family. And the Isis was OK if used in salads or sauteed - just not so great for out of hand. And I have lots of green fruit to make pickles with and it really doesn't matter what they taste like for those to turn out great.

FYI, the tomato taste-off results here at the nursery placed Matina in the winners' seat for the second year in a row and Sungold the winner in the cherry/grape division.

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Thanks for your review. I have to say that my Principe Borghese is the new star tomato in my garden. It grew easily and beautifully from seed and even handled the (unintended) abuse of irregular watering. It showed much less disease pressure than Brandywine.

While PB isn't quite as sweet as Sungold, it is so versatile for me as I usually eat them in salads or "sun" dry them for pasta. I don't grow the pastes as I don't make sauce. Still looking for a more disease resistant beefsteak for BLTs.

I am thinking the "Sungold" I received from a plant swap may be something similar but different - maybe from the Sungold seed. To be fair, though, my container for the SG was not as large as it should have been.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 8:11PM
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Sungold performed really well here too. I also planted Stupice and Bloody Butcher - they both had loads of medium size tomatoes which were easy to dehydrate.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 1:39PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

We did very well with the ones I grew this year...
Cherokee Purple
Boxcar Willie, wasn't, turned out to be a small striped type
Snow White
Indigo Rose... new to me, classed as just another novelty by some but I loved it. Not being a big fan of sweet tomatoes this one impressed me, meaty, prolific, good flavor and looks great halved in a greek salad. I only had one plant which was given to me, I'll be growing half a dozen next year for sure.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 6:26PM
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schizac(z8 Edmonds WA)

Hi Pam! This year I grew:

Sun Gold: Have grown this for many years and it still performs as advertised, huge plant and huge production, very sweet, fruits start to split late in season, no disease, still going strong on 10/17/12.

Oregon Spring: Very early producer, very compact plant, has always been a winner for me, flavor is good, not great but it makes plenty of quality fruit.

Bloody Butcher: first time for me, did very poorly, plant barely grew, produced some small but tasty fruit early on and then just sat there, there are three very small fruits on the plant right now.

Moskovich: Have grown this many years also, I find it extremely tasty, plant gets huge, is slow to start producing but really comes on late. At least 10 medium sized fruits on the plant right now.

Sweet Baby Girl (cherry): Was advertised as a compact cherry, the plant is nowhere near as huge as Sungold, so I guess its true, but it still grew quite tall, just not very broad or bushy. Fruit is red, tasty, tender, not as sweet as Sungold. Meager production, wouldn't try it again, have grown other red cherries that produce like crazy, but the plants also get huge.

One thing that may be of interest to all of you PNW tomato lovers: I always plant my tomatoes in the garden from nursery starts on or around my birthday, April 30, and except for Bloody Butcher this year, they always grow and produce. This is in Edmonds .5 mi from the Sound, areas further out obviously will be more risky. I always chuckle at all the warnings "don't plant your tomatoes outside until we have some real heat!".

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 8:39PM
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Sungold cannot be beat for sweet taste and productivity. I also liked Cherokee Purple for it's tastiness, but since I don't have a greenhouse, it didn't produce heavily. Stupice produced and produced, but the flavor wasn't as good as Cherokee Purple. I need a greenhouse for next year.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 1:52PM
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Black Cherry - late to start but still going and going with great taste.
This year i tried "Minsk", huge plant and huge (more that pound) yellow fruits with great taste and small amount of seeds.
Cosmonavt Volkov was good as well. September and start of October this year allowed me to enjoy ripe tomatoes from all plants. I did not get any blight, thinking because i mulched heavely with grass cuttings and watered with water that i collect when i rinse dishes from kefir and yogurt.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 3:50PM
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We planted several varieties this year as well (the tags kind of got buried under the foliage) - and sungold was the clear winner here too! As of Oct 21 the plants still look fine and we are still picking them, though ripening may be about over.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 12:20AM
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Black Cherry proved to be almost immune to disease in our high-disease pressure community garden, the same for Indian Stripe.

However, Black Cherry was also rather late for a cherry tomato, but still extremely productive.

We also grew Orange Minsk; it made a lot of rather large fruit for us, even though these were quite catfaced due to the bad weather in early summer this year. I think it's probably better suited to the Seattle area than other large yellow tomatoes; if anyone knows of any better large yellow variety let me know. It's not exactly early, but we had yellow tomatoes in August at least.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 12:39AM
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Black Krim did great for me this year, must have had about 25 or 30 big great tasting beauties from only one bush. BTW I live in the Portland area.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 4:56PM
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I did 9 varieties this year. These are my results.

Amish Paste: Late ripening, fought early blight with it more than any other tomato.

Principe Borghese: Best producing, most disease resistant, a little late to get started, but I was still getting tomatoes up till a week ago. Great dried, but I was not head-over-heels for the flavor of it fresh.

Supersweet 100: Second only to Sungold. Very little trouble.

Sweet Million: Larger cherry size, thicker skin, and not as sweet as SS100.

Pruden's Purple: Few ripe tomatoes, but very large. Fought early blight for a long time with it and BER.

"not" Glacier: Typical cross, some plants looked like Glacier, but most had mini-beefsteak tomatoes. Taste was pretty good and disease resistant.

Sungold: Disease resistant, sweet, early and care free. Prob. the best tomato plants I had this year.

Early Girl: Did it's job--Early, disease resistant, with tons of tomatoes. Just above store-bought flavor for me though.

Sweet Pea Current: Surprisingly late for a current. Did not do well in a hanging basket as was advertised. Not a sweet tomato. They tasted like a full-sized tomato in a current size. I did have to treat and protect from early blight.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 10:18PM
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