Questions for the tomato experts
I have a few questions for the tomato experts out there. This is my second year gardening in my little 4x8 raised bed garden in Denver, and I'm trying to make the most of the little room I have. This year I've covered about 2/3 of it with black plastic in hopes of getting the soil warmed up faster, and I ran a drip line underneath. I plan on planting cucumbers and a pepper or two under that as well, but mostly 'maters. The uncovered 1/3 is for greens, herbs, peas, etc, of which I've already planted most. I probably only have room for 4 large indeterminates, and I'm looking for suggestions on varieties and timing. Last year I had all hybrids just because I didn't know anything about heirlooms, so I'm willing to give them a shot this year. Last year I had a Beefmaster that was 7' tall, did great and produced a ton, a Husky Cherry Red that also did very well, and an Early Girl that was just OK and not even earlier than the others. I'll probably do the Beefmaster again this year for the high yield, and some kind of cherry, along with trying a couple of heirlooms. I'd like to try a black/purple type, and open to suggestions on the other. For both I'd like them to be as early ripening as possible, as I'm sure most in this area do. Open to suggestions on size, but likley something pretty large. Taste is most important. Obviously I'm impatient and can't wait to stop buying grocery store tomatoes again this year, so I'm excited to get these in the ground. Questions are:
-What type of black/purple heirloom do you suggest? Black Krim perhaps? Cherokee Purple?
-What is an early ripening heirloom you'd suggest?
-Suggestions for my cherry tomato? I'd prefer something with a high yield like my Husky Cherry Red was. Open to hybrid or heirloom.
-When is the earliest I can get away with planting? Last year I probably jumped the gun a little and planted transplants at the end of April. It snowed two days later, but they all ended up fine. This year along with the black plastic I'm also planning to use Walls of Water. The 10 day forecast currently shows a low of 36 (Tuesday), and the "extended outlook 8-14 days" calls for above average temps, so I don't see frost in sight. This coming weekend might be a bit aggressive, but I'm considering it.
-Where is a good place to buy heirloom transplants in Denver? Paulino's perhaps? Do they carry any at the big box stores?