Tomato Recommendations

greenbean08_gw(PNW)December 19, 2008

I'm looking for suggestions for tomato varieties. I don't actually eat tomatoes, so it doesn't do me much good to read descriptions. My DH is the tomato eater. I ventured to the tomato forum, but that's just too much information!

I would like to grow some for slicing and eating (indeterminate) and some for making marinara sauce. Possibly a grape tomato as well. I would really appreciate your suggestions!!

Thanks,

Amy

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elkwc(6b)

I'm sure someone from your area will add their thoughts. I'm a little further south of you. There is many both hybrids and op's that are good. Knowing your average number of growing days would also help and do you have a preference on color?
Another thing is are you going to start seeds or buy plants? If buying plants someone from your area will know more what you have available in your area. I may offer some suggestions after I see for sure what your plans are. Jay

    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 11:23AM
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greenbean08_gw(PNW)

I am planning to start from seed indoors this year. I'm thinking I'll try the "seeds for SASE" from wintersown.org, so I'll have a few seeds of 6 varieties to try. I'll have to check on the number of growing days, but I think it's 130-150 maybe?? I'm in zone 5 at 7000 feet if that makes a difference.

Here is a link that might be useful: wintersown.org tomoato seeds

    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 2:16PM
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windwhipped(Z4 WY)

greenbean,

I'm not going to be too much help to you since I only grow cherries. If you do decide to try a cherry instead of a grape, my all time favorite is a yellow tomato called Galina. Good flavor, very productive. Seeds available from Seeds Trust high altitude division.

I'm sure others will chime in, but if you search this forum for tomatoes, you should find at least two threads dealing with recommendations, one from this year and a very extensive one from last year. Check these out and it might give you a pretty good start.

WW

    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 3:07PM
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david52 Zone 6

I live in Zone 5 at 7,000 feet as well. I'd count on a 100 - 110 day growing season. In June, the night time temps are still down in the high 40's, and won't warm up until July. In Mid-Sept, they drop right back down again. And 3 out of the last 5 years, we've had a frost in the first two weeks of June. In the fall, it's anytime after Sept 15th.

At that altitude and temperature range, stick with the 'early' and 'mid season' varieties, with a 65 - 77 days to maturity - here they all seem to ripen up at about 80 days, no matter what I plant.

There are so many varieties, and unless you've been bitten by the heirloom bug, I'd try one of the hybrids like "Better Boy", which is what (I think) Digit grows.

I've been bitten by the heirloom bug, so I always say I'll only plant 8 different kinds, which somehow seems to turn into 18 by the time I get them planted. And every year some grow very well, and every year some don't, and it isn't necessarily the same varieties.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2008 at 6:05PM
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digit(ID/WA)

Amy, I should probably let stand a couple things: what I said about tomato varieties in the threads Windwhipped is talking about and that David thinks I grow Better Boy.

Better Boy is a good choice and I've got a neighbor that grows LOTS of them and they do really, really well for her. I've been committed to Big Beef for quite a few years now and think David is probably thinking of that variety.

I do grow a few heirlooms and they are noted on the threads but I've come to better trust hybrids for that extra vigor that provides an enhanced guarantee of success. Just today, I was looking at a catalog and longing for Sweet Chelsea. The Tomato, I hasten to add!

Now maybe I shouldn't comment on that collection the Winter Sowing group put together but, Wow, that's an interesting list. Unfortunately there are only 2 on it that I've grown! :o( Despite my Z6a designation, this isn't such a wonderful place to grow long-season tomatoes. For one thing, the Spring coolness and clouds usually linger long.)

"Stupice ~ Czech heirloom is a tasty, early, season-long cropper, loads of red fruits, 2 ounces each born in clusters, IND, about 60 DTM" Wasn't season-long for me because it began to have serious trouble with blight. And, nearly all the fruit were seriously misshapenned from the get-go.

"Sub-Arctic Plenty ~ Compact plant described as setting fruit at lower temps, 2 ounce red tomatoes, DET, 50+ DTM" I wouldn't grow this one again unless I HAD to. I mean that honestly. I was so pleased to move my gardening from about a zone 4 area to somewhere I could grow something other than lightening-fast Sub-Arctics. I even tried 1 or 2 S-A's besides Plenty. (S-A Maxi, is one I remember.) They are, however, healthy plants with pretty tomatoes and they ripened - which was a big deal at that other location.

I've had this one recommended to me: "Fireworks ~ Early-season, tasty red fruits weigh about 4 - 6 ounces each, IND, 60 - 70 DTM " A guy south of here, in the Palouse, grows them with good success.

digitSÂ

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 1:08AM
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david52 Zone 6

You see? I have probably committed the worstest possible faux pas one can do on a tomato thread - accusing digitS of growing one variety when, in fact, he grows another. This is akin to sending a dyed-in-the-wool organic farmer a 5 lb box of Miracle Grow for Christmas. Or, as a favor, burning the leaf pile your organic-gardening neighbor has been saving for the summer compost pile. "See? Doesn't your back yard look cleaner now?!?

Big Beef it is. I should have looked back on the other 'mater threads.

Signed: a red-faced '52, who will go molify himself with the new Tomato Growers Supply catalog.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 10:49AM
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david52 Zone 6

You see? I have probably committed the worstest possible faux pas one can do on a tomato thread - accusing digitS of growing one variety when, in fact, he grows another. This is akin to sending a dyed-in-the-wool organic farmer a 5 lb box of Miracle Grow for Christmas. Or, as a favor, burning the leaf pile your organic-gardening neighbor has been saving for the summer compost pile. "See? Doesn't your back yard look cleaner now?!?

Big Beef it is. I should have looked back on the other 'mater threads.

Signed: a red-faced '52, who will go molify himself with the new Tomato Growers Supply catalog.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 10:52AM
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digit(ID/WA)

Yeah, where is that Tomato Growers Supply catalog?

That's such a pretty thang . . . we could give you lots of recommendations & thoughts from there, Amy. There must be lots of tomato dreams tied up in that Wish Book.

d'S'

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 4:29PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi Bean,

HereÂs a link to the most recent tomato thread, Tomato Evaluations. This thread will give you descriptions and opinions on a lot of different varieties. Maybe DH would like to sit down and see if thereÂs something he thinks sounds particularly yummy.

Rather than a grape, for an almost-always-very-good cherry, I highly recommend you try Sungold. ItÂs a yellow cherry, and itÂs one almost everybody agrees on as being superior!

Here are links to some of the tomato seed companies. You can use these as a reference for varieties youÂre considering, but remember, the seed companies are writing descriptions to sell seed, so I recommend giving more weight to the opinions of others here on RMG. When you decide on the varieties you want to grow, IÂm sure somebody around here can tell you where to get them if youÂre having any trouble finding them.

Totally Tomatoes

Tomato Growers Supply

Tomato Fest

Heirloom Tomatoes

BUT Â you have to promise to at least TRY the tomatoes you grow next year. If you donÂt like tomatoes because you donÂt like the way they taste, remember, home grown tomatoes are a COMPLETELY different animal than store bought!

Skybird

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 8:47PM
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austinnhanasmom(5 CO)

I'm closer to 5500 feet but one thing I find a MUST for CO gardening is Wall O' Waters, or a similar protection scheme. For years I tried to grow tomatoes (around 5500 feet), planting around mid-May, to find plants develop roots too slowly and then the temp. get too hot for fruiting. I would have these huge plants, no flowers. By the time the weather would cool enough for the varieties I had planted (selected from a local nursery) to bear fruit, a frost would hit. Nothing like a garden full of snow covered, green tomatoes to deter future gardening.
By starting seeds in Jan., for a mid-March planting with WOWs, we have ripe tomatoes in June and, for two years, had the plants bear fruit through the hot weather.

Although I am still discovering which varieties to grow, I think starting from seed and using the WOWs have helped my family enjoy tomato gardening - well eating the tomatoes from our garden!!

Once, you have determined what to grow, email me and if I have the seeds, I'll send you some.

austinnhanasmom

    Bookmark   December 20, 2008 at 10:18PM
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greenbean08_gw(PNW)

Thank you for the advice! I'm going to do some more reading and try to make a decision. I may take those of you who offered seeds up on that... Thanks!

You know, I was the tomato thread this fall, but forgot about it by the time tomatoes were on my mind! I'll do a search. I have a hard time with tomatoes, since they're not my food of choice. When there's SO much info like on the tomato forum, it all turns to blah blah blah for me after a few minutes. I do better with small doses like this!

Skybird, I'm really considering a yellow cherry. I might taste one. My mother always grew tomatoes, so I don't think it's just a store bought thing. I wouldn't even eat tomato sauce for many many years. I still don't eat it on spaghetti, but I do have it on pizza, though less than most people like, and I can eat it in lasagna.

I think you grow the scallop squash, is that right? Do those have a taste similar to other summer squash? I had never heard of them before I started coming here. DH just came back from a conference where they served what I think were scallop squash, or that's the best I can figure... he really liked them, so they're on my maybe list as well for next year.

I hope you were nowhere near the burning plane at DIA...

austinnhanasmom,
I'm planning to use the plastic over pvc row covers to get a jump start on the season, but maybe I should look at WOWs, March is pretty early!

David52,
You know what I think would be worse than burning the neighbor's leaves? Handing them to the TRASH MAN! :-)

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 1:35AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi Bean,

Nope! Nowhere near the burning plane! And you donÂt need to worry about me unless you hear United has crashed somewhere! (If that ever happens, BTW, IÂll come post here as soon as I can to let you all know IÂm still alive!) I got back from my last trip on Friday, and I was home yesterdayÂemailing "airline" friends the latest info about the crash. Glad I wasnÂt at the airport! The flites, and even the employee bus to the parking lot, were all messed up for a while! And, needless to say, IÂm glad everybody got out safely!

About summer squash, I canÂt really tell a whole lot of difference between the different types (shapes!) The differences in flavor seem very subtle to me. I think it may make more of a difference in how you cook itÂfor instance, stir frying until just barely tender as opposed to cooking it to a pulp! I will definitely grow Gold Rush again next yearÂseed from PinetreeÂitÂs a zucchini shaped gold one, and IÂll probably grow Sunburst again, a gold scallop shaped one. Gold Rush has always been my best producer, and Sunburst (Harris) didnÂt do much this year, but has been a good producer in the past. And Gold Rush seems to be at least somewhat resistant to powdery mildewÂitÂs always the last one to get it. IÂve never had much luck with the green varieties IÂve tried, and the gold ones are a lot easier to see anyway, so theyÂre less likely to "get away from you" and get too huge to eat. And with both of the above varieties, the seeds seem to stay quite small even when the squash get pretty big. If you decide to try some, when theyÂre producing next summer, start a summer squash thread and IÂll post my recipe for Stir-fried-squash-onion-tomato-fried-rice-topped-with-melted-cheese! I invented it when I was looking for something different to do with summer squash! And you could leave out the tomato!!!

I havenÂt seen Meteor around real recently, but I know he was really enjoying his scallop squash this summer, and maybe heÂll see this and give you some more recommendations.

The days are getting longer again,
Skybird

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 3:27AM
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digit(ID/WA)

Amy, if it is the tartness of the tomatoes that bothers you - there are certainly mild ones. DW likes mild tomatoes and so do I but I like just about all tomatoes.

I have never had Galina but Sungold is superb &, IMO, so is SunSugar. Ildi is a nice little yellow pear/cherry. Ildi is an open pollinated variety so you can save the seed. That's one fun thing about tomatoes . . . or, at least, some of 'em.

d'S'

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 8:23PM
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