big tomatoes

helenh(z6 SW MO)July 30, 2013

Most of my tomatoes are smaller. I like to look at these guys even though all my tomatoes have stink bug damage.The hearts are Wes (2), red beefsteak is Chapman and a black tomato not identified. I have noticed that the meaty tomatoes are not as bad at rotting when they get a crack as the juicy black ones.

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Helen, those are very nice. Most of my tomatoes have been small this year, plus, I have had a lot of disease and insect damage.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 11:15PM
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I have had some bigger ones but they have a very deep core. Thought I got all small core tomatoes. I think it may be big beef. Its that or parks whoppers. Not that impressed with Cherokee purple flavor either. Don't Like my pinks either. All too mild flavored for me. Maybe I'm not an heirloom tomato person?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 8:39AM
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I have not had one big tomato this year! I have 15 or so plants and not a single one!!! My cherries, super sweets and indigo roses have produced like crazy though!! I cannot figure out the problem.

Beautiful tomatoes Helen!!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 10:09AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Beautiful tomatoes, Helen! Stink bug damage used to drive me up the wall. Now I just cut out the damaged parts and eat the rest. If I'd just be a good gardener and spray my plants regularly with Surround WP, I probably could prevent the stink bug damage, but I don't like spraying and would rather not do it. The stink bugs actually aren't as bad here this year as usual, but that doesn't mean they aren't here, because they certainly are.

I usually only get a good harvest from the big tomatoes in May through late June or early July---just whenever the ones that set in cooler temperatures finish maturing. My big varieties then don't set fruit again until fall, so I grow lots of medium and small-sized ones to get us through the hot months. I harvested a couple of really big ones last week, but think that was the last of the "bigs". Two were from a JD's Special C-Tex and one was from a Carol Chyko's Giant Black Paste.

The meatier tomatoes are the same way here---much less likely to crack, split and rot in the years we have a lot of moisture (not that we have many years with what I'd call a lot of moisture).

As you know, black tomatoes are my faves and I grow lots of them, but their juicier fruit can crack a lot some years. The last few years I have grown a lot of JD's Special C-Tex and Gary'O Sena and those two varieties generally don't crack at all, so I've been growing more and more of them, and less of some of the other varieties. Still, Purple Cherokee, Black Krim and Indian Stripe always will remain in our growing rotation just because their flavor is so superb.

Larry, Some years are just that way and I'm sorry you're having such a bad year. I hope next year is better.

Borderokie, Is this your first year growing Cherokee Purple? It has superb flavor (or at least my taste buds think so) in hot, dry years but I find its flavor weak in very wet years. I also love Pruden's Purple and Black Krim but BK has the same flavor issues in wet years. I don't notice that Pruden Purple's flavor suffers as much in wet years as Cherokee Purple's does. It could be that the flavor of the pinks and blacks just don't appeal to your taste buds. Flavor is very subjective and tomatoes that taste great to some people don't taste good to others. I have grown several hundred varieties of tomatoes over the last couple of decades, searching for the ones that our taste buds like, and I am about done experimenting because we know what we like and we have a pretty good list of varieties that both grow well for us and taste good to us. Within the heirloom tomato world, there's a wide range of flavors---I compare them to the way that different vintages of wines have their own unique flavors. It could be that you just haven't found the right 'vintage' of heirloom tomato that tickles your taste buds yet.

Tree, The varieties that produce large fruit really need to set the fruit in May while temperatures are cooler as most large varieties set poorly in high temperatures. So, if your large-fruited plants didn't set well before the heat arrived, it is likely they won't set fruit until cooler temperatures return. High humidity plays a role in it too, and with all the rain that has fallen in OK this summer, I feel like the humidity has seemed like it has been higher than usual. Hopefully your large-fruited varieties will set fruit whenever the heat breaks and then those fruit will have a chance to ripen before the first frost arrives.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 11:23AM
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Christina - I don't have any large tomatoes yet, either. I have lots and lots of Roma sized, but no big ones. That has been my experience for at least the last 4 years (the ones I've had a "garden" versus a single tomato plant in a pot - I wasn't that aware of my lone tomato plant so I cannot recall how it ever did.)

The large sized tomatoes never come until the late summer or fall for me - and occasionally, not at all. That's why I think 15 of my 18 tomatoes this year are Roma and smaller varieties. I know I have Cherokee Purple and Homestead, and I think CP might have set ONE fruit - or it might be a Roma branch has gotten intertwined in the jungle, I don't know. Still green, though. Homestead: nada.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 12:55PM
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Yes this is the first year I have grown them. German giants had very poor production not crazy about taste on the 1 or 2 there was. Have one that I really love the texture and flavor of but don't know which stinkin kind it is. Bring them all in and if they don't look different I get lost. Still waiting on black from tula and Cherokee chocolate. They look pretty sitting here waiting to be ripe enough to can.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 1:10PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Where are your worm holes? I don't use Bt any more because Thuricide makes me sick. I thought I was allergic to tomatoes and it took me two years to figure it out. Now I am afraid to use any of the organic bacterial products.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 12:09AM
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From my experience the source of seeds makes a big difference when growing many of the open pollinated varieties. I've found differences in many of the varieties. Cherokee Purple is one example. The first year I grew it I said I would never grow it again. Size and color were correct but taste was bland. I was sent seeds by the person who originally found them and spread them around. The taste was excellent and I've grown them before. Kellogg's Breakfast is one I truly love. And it is one of the most finicky. To get the great flavor they need to be grown in well draining soil or kept on the dry side. Also once the cooler weather hits the flavor degrades fast. Over the last several years not only have I grown many varieties but I've grown many of them from multiple seed sources. Like I stated above the seed source makes a big difference. Each grower may use different standards when selecting fruit to save seeds from. All of this will affect not only size, shape but also flavor. And again like Dawn stated each of us have our own unique taste preferences. Many of Dawn's favorites I like. But some I have grown and are no longer on my grow list. I grew JD's C-Tex one year and wasn't impressed. I started seeds again this year but it was in the tray that I tossed the list on so not growing it this year either unless it is one of the unknown's I have growing. Here I have to not only judge & select a plant by how it tastes but also by how it performs here in my climate. So several that are on my grow list are there because they perform well and the taste is at least decent. I grow a few blacks/darks. Overall I'm not as high on them as I am a good pink. And I still like a good old fashioned tasting acidic red. Jay

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 6:56AM
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The acid is my kicker so I guess I've been looking for the wrong thing just didn't realize it! Didn't know the others were lower in acid. Or as she said it could be my seed source.
I haven't had worm holes but I have had big chunks eaten out of them. Blister bugs I think. Haven't sprayed them with anything except daconil 1 time about a month ago. Decided I wasn't gonna put it on them any more. Losing quite a few from cracking and as soon as one cracks or gets bit the ants are all over it.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 8:34AM
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seeker1122(7a ok)

I PLANTED BEEF TOMS. All I got is golf ball size toms. With all the rain I've had the worst garden I'm feeling sorry for my self Tree

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 12:22PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Tree, I'm sorry you're having such a bad year. Sometimes too much rain is worse than too little. We always can water when rain isn't falling, but we can't suck up the extra moisture out of the ground when too much is falling. Maybe the rainfall will slow down in your part of the state and you'll get a better harvest in the fall.

We still have roughly 3 months of warm-season growing conditions left in Oklahoma, and more than that in some places and a little less in others. There still is plenty of time for a good tomato harvest, but not if it keeps raining and raining and raining.

I've already canned all the tomatoes I'm going to can. I didn't need to can many because I canned a humongus amount last year. I think I canned about 60 jars of salsa, and then I ran the tomatoes through the tomato mill and froze them in salsa-sized batches so I can make salsa this winter or next spring if I won't to.I think I have enough in the freezer for six more batches of salsa, and each batch usually makes 6-7 pint jars.

Crimson Carmello has produced the best crop in the heat, never really slowing down the fruitset like others do, and of course, SunGold produces endlessly. I like to eat them while working outside. I'm yanking out most of the spring-planted tomato plants now because once I am through canning, we don't need that many plants. I'll likely leave 5 or 6 plants in the front garden, and then we still have 15 or 20 in the back garden. The ones in the back were planted quite a bit later than the ones out front, so they produced later, but it has worked out perfectly because they are loaded with big green tomatoes now whereas the plants out front were heavily loaded in June. I've about harvested all the main crop from the front, but we won't miss those front garden plants thanks to the ones out back. I am taking them out of the beds on the east side of the front garden so I can grow fall crops in their space.

All the fall tomatoes are in containers so I can move them into the greenhouse when it starts getting too chilly at night, which usually is sometime in October, and I think 3 of the 8 fall tomato plants already have fruit, courtesy of the cool spell and rain we had about 2 weeks ago.

Earlier in the spring, the blacks had the best flavor and then later on, it was the pinks, yellows and oranges. Reds haven't been real high on my list (other than the paste ones) the last few years, but I have quite a few old red varieties on my 2014 grow list. I even have Brandywine on the grow list for 2014. I haven't given it much garden space in recent years because we haven't had the kind of weather it likes, so its performance is always so iffy.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 1:44PM
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I don't have ANY maters this year, so congrats to all. lol

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 12:09PM
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