Friday Catalog Review – Totally Tomatoes

I’ve considered continuing the Friday PhotoEssay through the winter, but seriously, I would just bore you with pictures of ice, snow (maybe!), and dead plants for most of the winter.

However, I did receive my first seed catalog in the mail on Monday, so I decided on the spot that I would post “catalog reviews” as I receive new catalogs. What I really mean by catalog review is that I will jump up and down and drool all over the pretty pictures of whatever is new and spiffy in each catalog as they arrive. No, I’m not going to be critiquing the layouts.I’m going to try reallyreallyreally hard to talk about no more than 5 things from each catalog. REALLY hard. But we’ll see.

This week’s catalog, and the winner of the “seed catalog creep game” is Totally Tomatoes.  (Seed catalog creep is acceptable…holiday creep, not so much.)

Yummy Mix Peppers: The first thing I noticed was the Yummy Mix Peppers on the back cover of the catalog. Yummy has been around for a few years, but they now have the mix available to the average Joe. These are the cute little colored snack peppers that you pay an arm and a leg for in the grocery store. They are delicious!  I do have to say that I had a hard time getting them to germinate the first time I tried them, and then the deer and rabbits ate almost all the peppers. Annoying!

Brandymaster Hybrid (VF) Tomatoes: Given the recent popularity of heirloom tomatoes, it was only a matter of time until someone hybridized them to get some disease resistance but keep the flavor. They have pink, red, and yellow Brandymasters available. If you don’t have space to rotate your tomato planting spot, these would be a good choice. I would be very interested to see these grown next to heirloom Brandywines just to see the difference.

Zebra Cherry Tomato: This is a compact cherry tomato for growing in containers or hanging baskets. It produces 1″ fruits that are red and green striped. This could be a fun one for the kids to grow on the porch or deck!

Merlot Bell Pepper: This is a very deep purple bell pepper. The catalog picture makes it look almost black. It is also fairly early maturing (68 days).

Zavory Pepper: This pepper was developed at Penn State University. It is a habanero, but doesn’t have the heat. So if you want that habanero flavor, but don’t want to die when eating it, this would be the right choice for you!

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*Disclaimer* None of these seed companies are giving me anything to talk about their catalogs or seeds. I’m not advocating any particular company over another, nor am I telling you they are cheaper/better quality than another company. Just because I mention a particular variety of vegetable, it does not mean that it will necessarily perform well under Kansas conditions. I’m just sharing what I notice that I would be excited to try as a gardener.

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on November 27, 2009, in Around the Garden and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I am growing several Yellow Brandymaster’s. The first two that ripened were orange/red to RED! The plants look great with many fruits but are worthless to me if they all turn out red…

    • Strange! Sometimes yellow tomatoes are more gold to orange colored than the catalogs make them out to be, but they shouldn’t be orange/red. Maybe there was a rogue seed in the batch or a plant got mixed up. It’ll be interesting to see if you get some yellows off other plants.

      • I have a “habanero” that is growing beautiful Hungarian Wax peppers. I doublechecked the plant tag to make sure I hadn’t picked up one out of the next flat over by mistake, so I’m guessing someone *seeded* the next flat over by mistake. I can see that happening with tomatoes even more easily (I remember thinking at the time that the foliage looked a lot more similar to the jalapeño than it seemed like it ought).

        My Lemon Boys went in too late to be seeing any fruit from them yet… plenty of blossoms, but I haven’t seen any fruit starting yet. They’re my first weird-colored tomatoes and I’m kinda impatient to see them. They better not come out red.

      • Yeah, I just discovered yesterday that one of our tomato plants had been mis-labeled in the Demo Garden. I was getting suspicious of it, but a ripening Chocolate Cherry Tomato that was labeled as Sweet Cluster was the final clue.

      • Nope, no yellow! Grew 15-20 plants from seed. Some went to friends, some in a hoop house, and the rest in the garden. Even though they were by far the best LOOKING plants (of 5 diff. varieties), the fruits were miserable! All were severly cracked when green. None turned gold or yellow. A relatively small and worthless tomato. I couldn’t wait to cut them down and was too embarassed to give away (the cracking was severe).

        I know the weather has a lot to do with cracking and performance, but we only had problems with Yellow Brandymaster. Otherwise a fantastic tomato year!

        Cupid (grape tom.), is our new favorite. Although poor germination rate (30%) and a little spindly starting out, but they produced well with very flavorful, almost crunchy tomatoes. 11-feet tall in the hoop house!. Sweet as candy, and my cure for nighttime heartburn. I miss them already.

  2. I have them growing next to Brandwine (and other varieties) in a hoop house and they are doing exceptional. The BW apparently doesn’t like the heat and has been dropping flowers. But the Yellow Brandymaster and all of the rest are doing great. (I just hope the rest are yellow and not red!)

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