What is your most productive tomato?

ania_caAugust 3, 2009

I apologize if this has been asked before. If so, I wasn't able to find the thread.

I'm just planning for next year and am wondring what varieties are really productive. I'm assuming cherries or smaller toms in general would be more productive, right?

I'm growing a few varieties now and while I love the few cherokee purple I got best, I am really loving my yellow pear just for the fact that I can go out and grab a handful every day. I'm thinking I need to grow a few more productive varieties next year to hold me over while waiting for the big guys to ripen.

Ania

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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Glacier is an early tomato that has been very productive for me. This is the first year I have grown it. It is small; just about double the size of a cherry. This has been a cooler than normal July and that may be the reason it stands out. It was ripe before my cherry tomatoes. I like Granny Cantrell for my favorite big tomato, but I have to wait for those. I always have Glacier tomatoes from only one plant.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 3:08PM
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jwr6404(8B Wa)

My most productive,by far, this year is Kosovo and VB Russia

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 3:12PM
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mojavebob(9/Sunset 11)

Hi Ania,

Of the larger varieties Celebrity is by far my heaviest producer, unfortunately. I'm tired of them. I won't plant them again, but if you want a heavy steady supply for a couple months, they're failsafe. Two other boring hybrids put out a lot of tomatoes, Better Boy and Champion. I'll keep Champion around as my failsafe because Better Boy and Celebrity really cracked and lost flavor in my conditions. Champions were far superior quality wise.

I got 15 heirlooms in quite late, and I'm convinced Eva Purple Ball would have been a very heavy producer if her bloom beat the high heat by a few weeks. My fault. She gets another shot next year and the few I got were very nice. She'll pump them out in a better climate.

I agree Yellow Pear is a big producer, but I have mine next to a Porter's Dark Cherry Hybrid (from Home Depot via Bonnie Plants), and Yellow Pear is falling way behind in production, both plants have been healthy and vigorous. Recently the Porter's has been loading up with freshly set tomatoes when the other plants have shut down. It puts out a tomato about the mass of three yellow pears, which means in weight it has probably quadrupled a very productive Yellow Pear. AND it tastes really good as opposed to YP, which isn't as bad as some say for me, but not close to the Porter's in taste. On a side note, I've found that pink tomatoes seem to be the best tasting to me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Porter Cherry Tomato Thread

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 3:15PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Most productive in terms of just numbers? Then likely the cherry varieties would win hands down. But if you mean most productive in terms of weight then the beefsteak varieties would leave the cherry ones in the dust. Most productive for home canning, one of the many paste/roma ones gets the nod.

And if you mean most productive in terms of taste, and I assume you don't if you love yellow pear which is like eating paper, then that would all depend on your taste buds. ;)

Seriously, it all depends on what appeals to you. Just as there are many who wouldn't waste any space at all on Yellow Pear (lots of discussions here about it), there are many gardeners who don't consider any of the cherry varieties to even be tomatoes! They wouldn't grow them if you paid them to do it. And there are others who will only grow cherry varieties and wouldn't grow anything else if you paid them. A more reasonable approach is likely somewhere in between.

As a very general rule of thumb I think hybrids are usually more productive than any of the older open pollinated plants (often called heirlooms) and determinate varieties are usually more productive than indeterminate ones. But there are exceptions of course.

For me that mix is Jet Star, Rutgers, Arkansas Travelers, Supersonic, and Bloody Butcher are all good consistent producers.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Some of the 'best production' discussions from the past

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 3:29PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Ania, Dig dirt is right about productivity of big tomatoes if you mean by weight. From your post I gathered that you hadn't planted enough tomatoes to meet your needs while waiting for the good tasting ones. That is why I suggest Glacier. It depends on how much space you have, but I would plant one or two early tomatoes and a variety of the big beauties for later. Eva Purple Ball is a beautiful pink tomato that tastes good; I like it too. I am not sure it is the most productive, but I am growing it next year for sure.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 3:47PM
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liz63(6)

So far besides the cherries - Enchantments - I have at least 35 on the vine. That's a lot for me with the terrible weather and only 4-5 hours of sun on a good day.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 4:06PM
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containerted

Sibirskiy Skorospelyi - 5 ounce Red toms that make a wonderful BLT. Plant loads up and is a great slicer/canner. Determinate like Celebrity, but this one is Open Pollinated. 34 toms harvested and a new crop setting with lots of blooms.

Mini Gold - Large golden Cherries and old fashioned zip in the taste. Better than Sungold (IMHO) and again, it's open Pollinated. More than 15 pounds of 1/2 ouncers with a new crop setting on the 3 foot tall plant.

Berkeley Tie-Dye is cranking out 10 ouncers.

Golden Cherokee is on its 3rd crop.

Spudakee is on its second crop.

New Big Dwarf has put out 17 toms in the 7 ounce class and has 28 more in progress.

A project to dehybridize a mystery slicer is producing 7 ounce toms in great abundance - 26 so far and 13 more in progress on a determinate plant about 3 feet tall.

I could go on.

Ted

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 4:19PM
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ania_ca

"Most productive in terms of just numbers? Then likely the cherry varieties would win hands down."

Yep, I meant numbers. I have a lot of seed for various beefsteak varieties known for good taste for next year and just need something early and very productive to keep me supplied with toms until the big yummy ones ripen. I'm getting some great info from this thread already. Taste would be great but secondary to production in this case since I'd like to plant a mix...some more for taste, some more for productivity. I know there are some good tasting cherries out there though.

"And if you mean most productive in terms of taste, and I assume you don't if you love yellow pear which is like eating paper, then that would all depend on your taste buds. ;) "

I was expecting some yellow pear comments on this thread after I posted that...LOL. I'm loving them more for their productivity, but I actually like the yellow pears. I always have. I know they don't have a lot of flavor but I enjoy them. They are still better than storebought and I like something about the texture. And out of 9 plants, they are the only ones I am harvesting daily. Who knows, maybe my tastes will change over time. My lemon boys have been the totally tasteless ones this year and I don't think I will grow them again.

" there are many gardeners who don't consider any of the cherry varieties to even be tomatoes! They wouldn't grow them if you paid them to do it. And there are others who will only grow cherry varieties and wouldn't grow anything else if you paid them. A more reasonable approach is likely somewhere in between."

That's exactly what I am looking to do. I have 9 plants this year and will probably do about 15 next year total. I want a good mix. While I really am enjoying my Cherokee Purple toms this year, I only got about 5 of them so far and only 2 more that just barely set. I will grow again next year cause I really liked the flavor. I just want to make sure I have a good mix so all my plants are not like that. I need to make sure I have some foolproof heavy producers in the mix too.

Is black cherry productive?

Ania

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 5:01PM
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ania_ca

BTW...this is my list for next year so far. Maybe that will give a good idea of what I need. I don't think I have anything but the yellow pear that is a super heavy producer in there.

Amana Orange
Black Krim
Black Prince
Brandywine Yellow
Cherokee Purple
Dr. Wyche's yellow
Old German
Russian Persimmon
Green Zebra
Great White Beef Steak
Yellow Pear

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 5:07PM
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tammysf(9b/10a or sz15/16)

My cherries produce more than we can eat.

My marvel striped is a huge producer. I get 3-4 tomatoes a day and most are bigger than tennis balls so on average almost 1 lb each. I stopped counting fruitset early in the season when it had about 30 in the first 3 ft of plant. The plant is now over 7 ft and we had a period where it was too hot for fruitset but now the plant is setting again so I would say at least 50 toms.

Followed by black krim about 2 a day in the 1.5-2 lb range. I have about 25-30 on this plant that are tennis ball size or bigger. Have some smaller, babies but did not count them.

Here is a link that might be useful: pics of marvel striped & black krim plant and harvests

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 6:13PM
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mojavebob(9/Sunset 11)
  • "Amana Orange
    Black Krim
    Black Prince
    Brandywine Yellow
    Cherokee Purple
    Dr. Wyche's yellow
    Old German
    Russian Persimmon
    Green Zebra
    Great White Beef Steak
    Yellow Pear"

Considering the way you framed this topic, this list does need some oomph. You have plenty of good advice above, but I'll push a little more.

Add two more heavy cropping cherries and you'll probably see the light on Yellow Pears, and I'm no hater. I eat a few daily too. The Porter's Dark Cherry will add some needed pink to your harvest, and Sungolds will keep to the orange yellow theme with a delicious heavy producer, but there's tons to try and the Black Cherry you asked about gets great reviews. I look forward to it next year. Black Cherry and Sungold keep to the color theme, if you're decorating.

What's really missing is a main cropper. You need one determinate and one indeterminate, at least, imo. Maybe a Rutgers to pump out a volume of nice red tomatoes, or refer to the determinate thread on page two for more ideas, but a good producing determinate will address the productivity issue better than anything. Maybe a highly thought of hybrid like Jet Star, Romapo, Brandy Boy or the like to kick in early and get you through to the later heirlooms. Also you need a heart or two to really be living right and some of them are reported heavy mid season producers. There's good advice directed at me in my heart disease thread a little bit down the page. Nevertheless, you'll be happier next year if you do add some heavy hitters to that list. Also you could make a little room. I grew Great White and Green Zebra this year. That won't happen again. ;)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 8:29PM
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eldonut(usda zn 9)

My 10-foot tall super sweet 100 has yielded to date 1,437 cherries, and I will easily pick another 80 or 90 within the next few days, topping over 1,500 toms.
Caspian pink: 20, Prudens Purple: 10, Golden Jubilee: 12, Pink Ping Pong: 26.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 2:02AM
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liz63(6)

Eldonut - how big is your ping pong plant? I love those -I always buy them from the farmer's market..Think they pack such a great flavor into a little tomato.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 6:20AM
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rj_hythloday(8A VA)

Except for sungold I'm growing all OP

Already ripe Marianna's peace and Rutgers
On the vine, Vinson Watts

Not a single fruit set yet, Old German - I'm sure that's not true for the type, just my plant this year.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 7:42AM
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bamagrit(8)

Rutgers
Atkinson
Arkansas Traveler

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 8:45AM
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trudi_d

Early Kus Ali
Hong Yuen
Chudo Rinka

The three of these last year cranked out so many tomatoes I bought an extra large pressure canner just to keep up with the onslaught. Early Kus Ali was, of the three, the one which made the biggest fruits and the most of them. So basically, Chudo Rinka was great, Hong Yuen was greater and Early Kus Ali was OMG!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 12:28PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I have to agree with Bob above. If production numbers is what you are after then your list needs some big overhauling. There is nothing on there that is noted to be even a big producer much less a heavy producer.

Those of us that have the room to plant 50+ plants or more can afford to grow the low or average producing varieties because we can make up for it in numbers of plants. But if that few number of plants (I think you said 9-12) is all you have room for and numbers of production is your goal then you need to switch varieties. If hybrids are out for some reason then there are much better producing OP plants in the many suggestions above.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 12:40PM
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tn_veggie_gardner(7)

Cherries & Early Girls.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 1:51PM
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ania_ca

OK...some great suggestions on here. I'm going to coordinate with my mom who is starting a garden again next year and between us, I think we can get a great mix with what I have and what has been suggested here. I have room for 15 plants and she will be planting 20-30 plants. I'm starting her plants for her and she said she will plant whatever I want to start, so I don't have to sacrifice any of the larger heirlooms I want to grow to get production. If I can't grow it, she can and I can still enjoy some of them. Perfect solution.

Ania

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 3:33PM
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catman529(6b)

Black Cherry is very productive for me, even with only 4 hours of sun per day. I'ts my most productive variety this year...I get a handful every day from 2 plants.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 4:31PM
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korney19(z6a Buffalo, NY)

A few years ago, I tried Wall o waters on 2 plants. It wasn't any kind of experiment or anything, I just had 3 or 4 and 2 were available. I put out 2 plants a week or so earlier than the rest. One was a Crnkovic Yugoslavian and the other was an Olena Ukrainian.

I got so busy with the other plants and other veggies that I never got to remove the WoWs. That year, I lost count on them after Crnkovic produced 50-60 fruits between 10-16oz; Olena the plant was so huge I had to extend the cage a couple feet, and had 1-2lb beefsteaks ripening 7+ feet in the air.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 7:44PM
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slo_garden(9 CA Coast)

The two best for me have been:

Huang Se Chieh: small yellow globes with sweet flavor

Shuntukski Velican: large red ribbed beefsteaks with slightly acidic flavor

both have been like machines

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 11:00PM
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eldonut(usda zn 9)

Liz63, My Pink Ping Pong stands eight-feet tall with a width of approximately three-feet. I'll probably get a total of 40 to 50 toms this year. In past years I've gotten so many that I gave up in trying to count them. Yes, they are tasty little ping pongs.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 12:10AM
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spaghetina(SF Bay Area)

OK...some great suggestions on here. I'm going to coordinate with my mom who is starting a garden again next year and between us, I think we can get a great mix with what I have and what has been suggested here. I have room for 15 plants and she will be planting 20-30 plants. I'm starting her plants for her and she said she will plant whatever I want to start, so I don't have to sacrifice any of the larger heirlooms I want to grow to get production. If I can't grow it, she can and I can still enjoy some of them. Perfect solution.

Lucky woman, that really does sound perfect! Being able to plant 45 plants in two different locations sounds like a dream. That way, even if something goes wrong (knock on wood) with one whole garden, there's another.

I've looked high and low for a community plot somewhere near my house, and it seems that the only people who have one are members of a senior center. I'm not quite 30 yet, so I'm pretty sure I won't qualify for that, lol.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 12:56AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

We all can share different varieties that do the best for each of us. I thought about this question a little differently. How to get the most production out of your favorite tomato.

After this year, I say the best way is to use a high tunnel. This year to date, I have picked over 2,200 pounds of tomatoes out of the building off of 102 plants. It is only August. It has been really cool the past several weeks and the plants are loaded with baby tomatoes. Is 3,000, 3,500 pounds out of the question? I don't know.

Here is a quick picture down the center of the building.

Now if you want to talk cherry tomatoes, I say using a high tunnel is the best way to go too. I have picked off of 27 plants 230 pounds of cherry tomatoes. I put them in pint baskets. They are around .60 pounds each. That is over 350 baskets. If I had our camera I would show you the 60 baskets I have picked this week alone. The quality is first rate. I went through these 60 baskets and I culled 18 tomatoes for either splits, bad spots, or just because.

So if you want your favorite tomato to increase it's production. Grow it in the ground and cover it with a high tunnel.

Here is the 300 plus pounds I picked several weeks ago.

Here is what my high tunnel looks like. Yes it not the best photo of the building, but my wife is out of state and she took our camera. I am fixing a small hole with tape.

By the way some of my favorites include, Big Beef, Cherokee Purple, Pineapple, Estiva, Black Cherry, Sungold, Sweet Gold, Tomatoberry and Sweet Millions. Red and Yellow Pear aren't bad either. I don't care for them, but I sure sell alot.

I am picking such high quality tomatoes, I don't even pick the 40 plants I have outside. They just don't match up with the quality. We eat some of those ourselves, but I don't sell them.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 2:20AM
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liz63(6)

Jr- how are those tomatoberries? I got the seeds this year but didn't plant them. Was thinking of planting them next year. What do they taste like? Are they productive?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 7:33AM
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lantanascape(z6 Idaho)

Kellogg's Breakfast and Earl's Faux for large tomatoes.

For small tomatoes, I'd go with Stupice - very early and very productive. They beat my cherry tomatoes to the punch with ripe fruit on July 5 this year, and I've picked probably 40 golf ball sized fruit off one plant since then.

For cherries, I don't know if I've seen anything as productive as Sungold.

I have 4 Opalkas in this year, and they are really productive for paste and sauce, and have been producing well for about 2 weeks now.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 11:44AM
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tn_veggie_gardner(7)

jr: When should I expect my first shipment of maters? ;-) Looking slick, like always!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 11:51AM
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pickinpink

Park's Whoppers can do extremely well in this sub-tropical climate, about 30 miles north of Mobile, Alabama.

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped counting at 760-something high quality, tasty tomatoes, a little over three inches diameter. I estimate these four plants (3 Park's Whoppers and one Early Girl) have yielded more than 20 gallons of tomatoes since.

After weeks of nearly daily heavy rains, the quality has become inconsistant (smaller average size, worm and bug bites, splitting, but no BER). Untreated, Septoria is killing them now. Still, it has been a great run of production.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 2:36PM
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ania_ca

The high tunnel looks awesome...it also looks larger than my entire back yard!

Great looking harvest you got there.

Ania

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 5:35PM
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aixia

Juliet has been great for me this year. It's an oval shaped cherry that's quite tasty and has been putting out tons of fruit for me. I'm definitely keeping that one in mind for next year. Since my Jet Star succumbed to disease, I've been using the Juliets sliced in BLTs, and amazingly, they work fairly well.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 5:52PM
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srjohnt(6)

I would have to agree with aixia concerning the Juliets. They are producing more fruit than we can give away. As to large tomatoes, Ananas Noire (Black Pineapple) has been BY FAR the most productive. Huge numbers of 1 lb and larger tomatoes. (Also the most oddly colored tomato I've ever seen)

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 9:07PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Liz63: The tomatoberrys are great. I am a little disappointed in their size this time of year.I have been picking them for 2.5 months! They are small cherry type size. They are getting bigger strawberry size though like they were at the beginning of the summer we will see what the fall brings. They are productive too. They also hold for a long time and splitting is rare. They are really meaty and have good flavor. They will be grown again, without a doubt.

tn veggie gardener: If I didn't almost sell out today at the market, I could send you some. I need to pick tomorrow for my Thursday market and hope I have enough for Saturday. Any extra will go to a grocery store, on Monday, I sell too. They will take as many as I can supply.

Ania: It is 18 by 45 feet. I have two of these and a small 12 by 20. It gives me close to 1900 square feet of growing space inside. Plans are in the works for another 18 by 45 for tomatoes, the tomato one this year will be replanted with greens next spring. I am wondering about one more after that, but I think my wife may KILL me. I am thinking about building one to house my seedlings and hanging baskets I sell in the spring. I am tired of tripping over them in the aisles of the big tunnels!

One of my new favorites is Estiva. It is a very sweet flavor tomato from Johnnys. Lots of smaller tomatoes, if you want that size.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 12:44AM
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moksha-mato

my partner and i are building a 34 x 60 greenhouse (for about 300 plants) for the production of heirlooms for 2010 - this year's 10' x 35' experiment in the 6600 foot elevation in 1/2 55 gallon containers watering with exclusively greywater has produced modestly good yields on oregon spring, big rainbow and marmande - but nothing to rave about - hillbilly very tasty but not too productive--

ATTENTION JRSLICK! i would SOOO much appreciate being able to contact you (email address??) to ask some questions to help us with this new venture - we have numerous challenges - we have no good soil, hot intense high elevation and more - would you please contact me and share some of your methods?? THANKS--
rob -- robdrexel@inbox.com

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 12:04AM
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