best bicolor you have grown in oklahoma?

jeffinokDecember 15, 2012

i want to try bicolors this year . i would like suggestions of ones you have had great success with in oklahoma.

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Do you have a specific color range you prefer? Yellow and Red? Yellow and Green? Yellow and Orange? Red and Green? You can get bicolors and tricolors in several different combinations Also, what kind of flavor do you like in your tomtoes? Do you prefer the more old-fashioned somewhat more acid, tangy flavor or do you prefer the extra-sweet flavors of cherry tomtoes? And, how about size? Do you want a regular slicing type? A cherry? A paste? There's all kinds of bicolors so if you can define your preferred size, colors and taste, we can recommend bicolors or tricolors that might be specifically what you're looking for.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 7:34PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

I just just trying to figure out what "bicolor" you were talking about! Tomatoes? :) My brain immediately heads to flowers!


    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 10:44PM
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sorry for not providing enough info
i would like to try a slicer like gold medal tomato .
but i dont know if it will do well here ?
i have tried big rainbow two different years without success . from the description from baker creek gold medal sounds yummy.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 11:00PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Jeff, No need to apologize. It is just that there are hundreds of bicolor varieties available, so I wanted to narrow down exactly what you were looking for so I could suggest something in that category.

I haven't grown Gold Medal, so cannot specifically comment on it. The reason I haven't grown it is that I have found that in our climate, red and yellow bicolor varieties that produce large fruit tend to produce pretty late in the season which increases the odds that hot daytime/nighttime temperatures in summer will shut down fruit set almost before it begins.

In the category of red and gold bicolor tomatoes, I like Hillbilly the best. I also like Lucky Cross but it produces late and poorly in our heat, so I stopped growing it. Little Lucky produces fruit with flavor similar to Lucky Cross and produces better for me. Both Little Lucky and Lucky Cross have about the best flavor I've ever seen in any bicolor, but they don't produce well enough in our heat to earn a regular spot on my tomato grow list.

One bi-color/tri-color tomato that has produced awesome large tomatoes here (but only in a long cool, mild and wet spring) is Ananas Noir/Black Pineapple. I got the seed for it from Baker Creek.

Because our heat is hard on varieties that produce very large tomatoes, I don't grow a lot of bi-colors since most of them do produce huge fruit. I don't like devoting space to a plant that might only give me 3 or 6 fruit all year long.

When I do plant bicolors nowadays, I tend to plant the smaller-fruited ones. In that category, Black and Brown Boar is the best producer I've ever seen although its fruit are not huge. It set huge loads of red and green striped fruit for me in 2012. Michael Pollan, which produces yellow and green striped tomatoes produces very well in the heat here too, although its shape can be a little variable.

Probably my favorite bicolor in the 2000s overall, though, is a red and green striped one called Chocolate Stripes. It has produced loads of fruit for me even when grown in a 20-gallon container in a horrendously hot and dry year, and the fruit were quite large considering the growing conditions. Pink Berkeley Tie Dye and Berkeley Tie Dye have produced almost as well for me in years when spring was moderately cool and fairly wet, but not as well in hotter springs.

Speckled Roman is a red and yellow/yellowish-orange striped paste tomato that produces incredibly well in our heat and I love this one for making salsa or pasta sauce.

Last year, I grew several striped cherry tomatoes, including Rambling Gold Stripe and Rambling Red Stripe. Both of these plants were grown in containers and did not stop producing until they froze last week. I had moved them into the greenhouse in October or November, and the Rambling Gold Stripe still had flowers and brand new fruit forming in the last few days right before we went down to 12 degrees and everything in the unheated greenhouse froze.

Finally, although I like Baker Creek a great deal, plenty of their tomatoes that I've planted here have not lived up to the expectations I had based upon reading what they wrote in their catalog. Let's face it.....almost all the retail seed sellers are going to tell us that each variety they sell is great because they want us to buy it. I have avoided buying from a few companies that endlessly hype everything they sell because every variety cannot possibly be as wonderful as they make them sound, and it is frustrating to read these wonderful descriptions and plant a variety only to have it be almost a total dud here.

Texas Star is a bicolor I've grown twice, and I liked it but I only get maybe 4 to 6 fruit from it in the best of years, and we haven't had that kind of year in a while now. They have great flavor and set fruit pretty early, but then the heat shuts them down early. If I could know in advance we'd have a nice rainy spring like we did in 2004 or 2007, I'd plant Texas Star again in a heartbeat.

Probably the most productive red and yellow bicolor I've ever planted was from a Bonnie Plants transplant purchased in March of the year I grew it, which might have been around 2004 or so, and it was sold as Mr. Stripey or Tigerella. It had great flavor and produced tons of fruit. I grew it in a much hotter drier year and it didn't do nearly as well....which gets back to the essential reason that I don't grow many bicolors....their inconsistency in this climate.

Finally, for anyone wondering why I didn't mention one of my all-time favorites that even has the word 'Stripe' in its name, I did not mention Indian Stripe because to me it falls into the black tomato or purple tomato category more than the bicolor category since its striping is faint at best and almost nonexistent some years. It does have superb flavor though.


    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 10:21AM
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thanks dawn! i already have indian stripe to try for 2013
hope its as good as amazon chocolate i tried last season .
my wife says amazon choclate will be grown again .
i also liked dr wyches yellow which i tried from reading recommendations here. guess i will find somethingelse new to try i dont want to waste growing space for five or six tomatoes. speckled roman sounds interesting .

thanks for all your time on this site dawn
even though i dont post much i read yours and others posts to increase my growing knowledge.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 4:21PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Jeff, You're welcome. I was hoping Jay would see this and weigh in with his recommendations (and maybe he still will) because he grows several bicolors. If they produce well for him, maybe they'll produce well for you.

I love all the dark tomatoes that are commonly referred to as black tomatoes. They have taken over my garden to a large extent. I also tend to favor pink ones like Tomatofest's Greek Rose, Estler's Mortgage Lifter and Stump of the World. To me, Stump of the World has the best flavor of any tomato I've grown except for Brandywine Sudduth's. The problem is, of course, the Brandywine doesn't like to produce in the heat.

Dr. Wyche's Yellow is a longtime favorite of mine. If you haven't seen the history of it, it was a favorite of Dr. John Wyche of Hugo, OK. I've linked a pretty old GW thread about Dr. Wyche in which you can learn some of the legends and real history (from his daughter, no less) of Dr. Wyche, his life and his contributions to saving and sharing heirloom open-pollinated seeds. He also (among many other things) passed along the original seed of Cherokee Trail of Tears beans to SSE, thereby making them available, essentially, to the whole world.

Jeff, To the extent that you find anything I say here helpful, you are welcome. If you want a tomato that will knock your socks off, I can suggest several, including True Black Brandywine (either from Baker Creek or Southern Exposure Seed Exchange), Greek Rose (Tomatofest), Orange Minsk (Gleckler Seedmen, among others) or Dana's Dusky Rose (likely available from Gleckler although I didn't go check to see if they had it). Everyone should grow the true Brandywine Sudduth at least once in their lifetime (but wait for an El Nino year when it is cool and wet) and Green Zebra is really wonderful with a different sort of hard-to-describe flavor(described variously as spicy, tart or zingy) that is incredible, though its productivity has been erratic here too. I could suggest about 500 other great varieties, but not many of them are bicolors and I guess other than Green Zebra, the ones I just listed are not bicolor either. While I'm recommending green tomatoes (they stay mostly green but many of them turn a yellowish-green or amber-green color when ripe), you cannot go wrong with Aunt Ruby's German Green.

There's just so many tomatoes....and so little time and space to grow them all.


    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 12:45AM
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ok...... im gonna have to try orange minsk i have seen you recommend it several times . i need a good open pollinated replacement for golden girl . i like being able to save seeds . whats your heaviest producing pink slicer?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 10:24AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Surely by now you know that I never can list just one?

Last year it was Greek Rose from TomatoFest. I'll link it below. It had the most awesome shape and flavor and produced loads and loads of fruit per plant. The fruit were in the 1-2 lb.range early in the season, but less than a pound each by mid-season. I usually don't plant many varieties that produce very large fruit because often the large-fruited varieties set poorly in our hot summers. Greek Rose amazed me with its productivity in a very hot year.

Most years, for pink-fruited ones I plant Mortgage Lifter, Marianna's Peace, Stump of the World or Pruden's Purple for early pinks and Arkansas Traveler/Traveler 76 for later ones. Last year, I found a new favorite--Burgundy Traveler which is almost more of a purple than a pink and even though I planted it a little late, it produced heavily. It still was setting new fruit in md- through late-July when the temperatures were too hot for lots of other varieties to set fruit.

If we are talking about which pink-flavored variety produces the most over the whole season, then Porter wins hands down. It is an O-P heirloom from the now-defunct Gene Porter Seed Company that sets fruit even in July and August of most years, long after extreme heat has shut down most varieties. The fruit are small though. I grow some seedlings almost every year for my friend, Fred, who grows it annually without fail. Sometimes if I have a seedling left after he takes what he wants, I stick one in the ground even if it wasn't on my grow list for my own garden. It doesn't usually make my spring list because it produces small tomatoes, but I often plant it for fall. My dad grew Porter for virtually all his life because it gave him tomatos even in years when the heat, drought, disease or pests conspired to prevent fruit set on everything else.

Pinks are my favorites and lots of them do well here. I love Estler's Mortgage Lifter as well as Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter, Tenneessee Britches, Tennessee Heirloom, Valena Pink and Stump of the World.

Most years, Stump of the World produces heavily early, but sort of runs out of steam by August. Pruden's Purple, which despite its name has the coloring typical of pink tomatoes, probably has been my most heavily producing pink variety over the last decade even though Greek Rose outproduced it last year.

If I could only grow one pink, nowadays I'd choose Greek Rose, but if you'd asked this question a couple of years ago I would have said Stump of the World and if you'd asked this question 10 years ago I would have said Pruden's Purple. It isn't that any of those are last productive now, but just that Greek Rose is the newest and I still am infatuated with it.

Some years I grow Brandy Boy, a Burpee hybrid pink-fruited variety that has flavor pretty similar to the true O-P Brandywine in a good year but produces about 5 to 10 times as many fruit per plant for me as the O-P Brandywine does. There are so many great heirloom pinks, though, that Brandy Boy isn't making it onto the grow list as often as it once did.


Here is a link that might be useful: Greek Rose

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 11:19AM
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I had bicolor corn on the brain!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 10:58PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

lol lol lol

I always think of bicolor tomatoes when someone says bicolor, but I do like bicolor corn as well.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 10:18AM
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