Saturday, January 23, 2010


At Amanda’s Greenhouse we offer more than 50 varieties of tomatoes and in recent years the two best sellers have been ‘Big Beef’ and ‘Sungold’. I prefer ‘Sun Sugar’ more than ‘Sun Gold’. It is sweeter and still has enough of that tomato flavor to make it my favorite of them all (until my next “favorite” comes along. )

Here is the “tomato house” early last year.

Just about any full-sized vine-ripened tomato makes me happy, as they all taste 100 percent better than anything you can buy during the winter. I always try to offer plenty of early varieties so that all gardeners will have the opportunity to have some kind of tomato harvest, no matter what happens with the growing conditions.

Besides the popular ‘Early Girl’ I offer ‘New Girl’ which is very close to the same maturity date, but reviewers report better flavor and more disease resistance.

Earlier yet is ‘Stupice’, an early heirloom tomato with 2 - 3 inch fruits which also has good flavor. ‘Cosmonaut Volkov’ is a Russian heirloom that matures at 65 days and is quite a bit larger than ‘Stupice’. This one grows well in containers. Other early varieties are ‘Polfast’, ‘Applause’, ‘Polbig’ and ‘Legend’.

‘Celebrity’, ‘Jet Star’, ‘Big Beef’ and ‘Better Boy’ are among the popular midseason tomatoes.

When I moved to Cabot more than 20 years ago I bought a Canadian heirloom from Veseys for the name, ‘Cabot.’ It turned out to be a heavy and early producer. They dropped it from their line and the only place I can find it now is Sand Hill Preservation Center, a wonderful operation that specializes in heirloom seeds and poultry.

The idea of green or black or white tomatoes does not float my boat, but I will offer ‘Aunt Ginny’s Purple’ for its “....early - excellent yield of deep pink 1 - 2 lb beefsteaks with excellent taste. And I like the sound of ‘Reif Red Heart’ which promises “...large perfect red hearts around one pound ... super taste.”

Last year late blight found its way to my town and cut short the tomato yield, but an heirloom cherry tomato, ‘Black Cherry’, continued to yield for quite a while. The blight did in most of my other heirlooms, but that didn’t stop me from ordering 20+ varieties to try this year.

I’ll write about heirloom tomatoes in my next blog entry. The seeds are arriving here and very soon the gro-lights will be turned on in my living room.

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