Friday, March 1, 2013

Tomato Talk

Blessings Darlings!

I've been looking at my tomato planting options today.  I'm not 100% happy with the variety of seeds I bought.  Unless otherwise noted, all these tomatoes are open pollinated, tho' not all are considered 'heritage'.

I bought Beef Steak tomatoes - a GREAT large fresh-eating tomato.  I will happily use them for that.  But they aren't a great variety for canning and drying, as the seeds/goo are spread thru' the tomato and not in a few large, easy-to-emply cavities. 

The selection of cheap seeds also had Mortgage Lifter tomatoesI don't want those - they are way too large to can easily, and are low acid tomatoes so they can't be water-bath canned unless you add vinegar. These were developed in southern West Virginia, which has a pretty significantly different climate/growing season than we do here in northern West Virginia.

Often I grow Roma tomatoes, also known as Italian tomatoes.  They are great for canning, drying, and sauces, with thick flesh and easy to remove seeds/goo. They are also a determinant variety, unlike the previously listed tomatoes, which means that all the fruit on the plant ripens at about the same time, rather than continuously producing over the season - this is one of the things that makes them great for canning. OTOH, their flesh is grainy and their taste peaks when cooked, so they aren't great for fresh use. These were developed close to where I used to live - at the Agricultural Research Station in Beltsville, Maryland (same place they developed modern big-breasted turkeys!).

Rutgers is another of my go-to tomatoes.  Developed at, yes, Rutgers University in New Jersey, they were one of the first Wide Spread Industrial Farming tomatoes.  Meaty without being grainy, thick-skinned for their time (thin skinned for our time!) for less problems when shipping, good flavor, easy to can, nice size for canning at about 8 ounces each, and determinant. 

Juliet tomatoes are a variety I'm fond of - but, alas, are a hybid. They are a large grape tomato - I'd call them between grape tomatoes and Roma tomatoes in shape and features.  Nice flavor.  Great for drying. 

Sun Gold Cherry tomatoes - what a great taste!  But how easily they split! And another hybrid.

What I'm going to do is use the Beefsteaks, and also see if I can get my existing (but old) Rutgers seeds to sprout.  If not, I'll see if I can get more of them or some Roma seeds, even if I have to pay Burpee prices for one packet. 

What are your tomato considerations, and favorite types to grow?

Frondly, Fern


  1. Being in the southeast part of Texas, hybrids are really the only tomatoes I can get to grow - the heirlooms I've tried all get heatstroke too easily. My go-to are Celebrity (which is a large slicing tomato) and the Juliets you mentioned in your post.

  2. I don't have the room and only plant one or two Beefsteaks to be used in sandwiches or salads as they ripen.

  3. I've always liked Beefsteaks. They go great for tomato sauce (or ketchup to you in the US :)) and for purees and tomato paste. The thick walls mean less of the tomato is wasted.

    This year I also grew Money Makers. I've had a fantastic crop and my pantry and freezer are full.