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So Cal - TOP 3 Tomatoes

Posted by babyg U10 S20/21 (MtnTop L (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 8, 14 at 21:10

If you live in Southern California, and you could plant only three tomato varieties, which would they be?
I've seen a similar post on other forums, but the answers were dominated by folks from zones 5 and 6. I bet the "essentials" are different here.

If you like, you can offer three for summer crop and 3 for fall/winter crop if you grow them, cuz they may (or may not) be different.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: So Cal - TOP 3 Tomatoes

Brandywine
San Diego
San Marzano

And, have to actually mention Early Girl. I know it's really popular out there, you'll see it everywhere, at big box stores, garden centers, etc., but there's a reason - it does really well in S. California and is very tasty.

Patty S.


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RE: So Cal - TOP 3 Tomatoes

  • Posted by babyg U10 S20-23 (MtnTop L (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 1:04

Wow. I'm glad I asked! I've heard Early Girl makes a good fall-planted tomato. Have you tried growing it that way? I have NEVER grown it.

The only must-plant for us is Sweet 100, for the snacking factor. We like sungold and may rotate in different varieties but Sweet 100 is always there. Same with the regular tomatoes. I think I will probably always plant Mortgage Lifter for the volume. But I might forgo my favorite tasting tomatoes to try something new for a season.


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RE: So Cal - TOP 3 Tomatoes

I have not, just regular season, and it is very good. Very sweet.

Patty S.


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RE: So Cal - TOP 3 Tomatoes

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 16, 14 at 21:30

Consider doing a trial with about 10 different varieties. Try a mix of reds, pinks and blacks, cherries, slicers, hybrids, heirlooms, dwarfs and indeterminates. Then you can decide for yourself which you like best.

I always grow a larger mix than three types so that I have some variety and better chances of bringing in a nice crop. The winning variety will differ from year to year. This year I was hit very hard by spider mites, and 'Ace 55' gave me a very nice and tasty crop when all others faltered. 'Early Girl' grows and produces well for me over winter, so it's a winner for planting in the Fall. 'Sungold' is incredible, so I grow it every year.

That's three that you may want to trial. :)


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RE: So Cal - TOP 3 Tomatoes

  • Posted by babyg U10 S20-23 (MtnTop L (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 0:39

I do grow a dozen or two every season, so I'm really asking what the ones are that stand out, that blow your mind, or that you will always grow no matter how many new ones you try. And I want that info from my fellow z10-ers like you, not from the whole country. I guess I'm asking more in the spirit of a roll call but with some analysis required.

I don't necessarily have varieties that I MUST grow every year. Though I will say I've grown very few hybrids and I should probably give them a try. I keep hearing about Early Girl and Rutgers -- maybe as a fall short season tomato here. And I'll likely add Ace 55, San Diego and Marzano on your suggestions in this thread.

I grew sungold this year - and loved them, though not as much as the hype suggested I would. They were equally good as and a bit less prolific than sweet 100, which is the only hybrid (and the only standard) I really grow. I want to try black cherry, sweet baby girl and peacevine cherry too. Two really popular ones I have not yet tried are Kellog's Breakfast and Cherokee Stripes.

I'm likely to have more repeats though, because I'm saving seeds now. Gonna have to build more boxes.

If I had three ALWAYS grows it would be sweet 100, and mortgage lifter and mayyyybe black krim or marianna's peace. But I like to keep trying new ones.


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RE: So Cal - TOP 3 Tomatoes

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 19:01

Got it babyg, you're doing it right!

My favorite dwarf potato leafed varieties (New Big Dwarf (a pink slicer) and Husky Cherry Red (intensely flavored red cherry)) got clobbered by spider mites. 'Black Krim' is a winner for me as well, it's hanging in there battling spider mites in an Earthbox. 'Momotaro' is a great hybrid that I highly recommend.

'Sungold' are the best --bring them in early and there is a nice acid bite, let them hold and they are super sweet. 'Ace 55' and 'Early Girl' are reliable goto toms for me.


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RE: So Cal - TOP 3 Tomatoes

I was going to never grow tomatoes again, but then I found two new ones that were bred to take the heat. So far SummerSet and Heat Meister have produced really good tasting, medium-sized tomatoes all summer.

This post was edited by westelle on Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 22:28


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RE: So Cal - TOP 3 Tomatoes

  • Posted by babyg U10 S20-23 (MtnTop L (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 18, 14 at 19:48

MRCLINT- What is momotaro like?

And oooooh Westelle, I am so so very glad you found two that work for you. I would be so sad to give up home-grown tomatoes. If you haven't yet, try Mortgage Lifter. It's an heirloom that does really well in heat. You have to go to an independent nursery to get it (no big box stores), but there are lots out there. Or I'll send you some seeds if you like. :)


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RE: So Cal - TOP 3 Tomatoes

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 0:23

'Momotaro' is a Japanese hybrid, it's a 4 ounce pink slicer with a nice balanced flavor that leans toward sweet. In Japanese, 'Momotaro' means "Peach Boy."


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Sungold, Big Beef and 4th of July. (small medium and large). All super reliable in the hot interior southern california valleys
Heirlooms are great too, but I get much more in volume from my hybrids, so this enables me to can and preserve tomatoes for the rest of the year, from my limited space in my front yard where I garden in the summer.


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I like sweet million for cherry tomatoes and viva italia for sauce tomatoes. I go to this great website for vegetarian recipes and have hundreds of great recipes that I can use the vegetables right out of my garden for.

Here is a link that might be useful: vegetarian recipes


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I'm in No Cal, but still pretty good growing area! (No of SF in the wine country, Sonoma Co) I always grow a sungold, love the taste of Cheroke Purple, and do an Early girl just cause we aren't patient!
Maters have NOT been too great this year! I don't know if my daughter didn't water correctly for the 2 weeks we were in Hawaii late May, early June or what?!?!? Nancy


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