Tomato Garden in Review

I think that it is about time to start doing some “year in review” posts for our different gardens to give you an idea of what did well and what didn’t. I’ll start with the tomatoes, because they are the most popular!

As you may remember, we have 6 varieties of red tomatoes and 6 varieties of yellow tomatoes. I’m going to divide them up into the same four categories I used for the garlic: Top Performers, Good Performers, Mediocre Performers, and Poor Performers.

Jetsetter vines sprawling everywhere.

Top Performers (Highly Recommended):

Limmony – This yellow heirloom has been consistently impressive. It was much more productive than I expected and is still going strong with lots of tomatoes still on the vine. The flavor was mild, but nice.

Jetsetter – This one wasn’t going to be in the “top” category a few weeks ago, but it is absolutely loaded with ripening tomatoes now. The bad part is that the vine is sprawled all over everywhere at the moment.

Good Performers (Recommended):

Plum Regal – This one wasn’t overly impressive early, but it has come on strong later this season. The fruit are nice and firm, which isn’t a problem in a sauce/roma tomato.

Five Star Grape – The red grape wasn’t quite as vigorous or productive as the yellow one, but if you are looking for a small, red grape tomato, this one would be a good choice. I found the skins a little tough and the flavor not particularly sweet, but acceptable. The vine always seemed a little wimpy, even though it has grown like crazy. I attribute that to the skinny stems and small leaves that were adapted to greenhouse trellis production.

Golden Sweet Grape going crazy. Multiply this by 20 to get the total effect.rather than garden production.

Golden Sweet Grape – Much more vigorous than the red grape, and it is going crazy right now! Like the red grape, I found the skins tough and the flavor not as good as with some of the cherry tomatoes we have grown. But, if you are looking for this kind of tomato, it is a great choice! (Just don’t plant more than one vine unless you have a good reason!)

Taxi – This determinate yellow tomato came on strong early and was the first to have ripe fruit. It was spectacular in July! Unfortunately, it was kind of a one time wonder. If you want nice, firm, early yellow tomatoes, it’s a great choice. Just understand that it probably won’t have a second flush of tomatoes late in the season like some of your more semi-determinate varieties will.

Carolina Gold – I’m still a little torn about this variety. It was fine. The plant was generally healthy. It had some good tomatoes. The yield wasn’t stupendous, nor was it terrible. It has a few tomatoes on now, but not tons. It is kind of borderline between “good” and “mediocre.” I think I was expecting more, which is probably why I was disappointed.

BHN-871 – Same as the Carolina Gold, except I had even higher expectations. I had heard from other people that this variety was much improved over other yellow/gold hybrids, and I didn’t see it.

Mediocre Performers (Might be worth another try):

Arkansas Traveler – Unfortunately, this one succumbed to Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus and was removed early. I would recommend trying it again though, because it was LOADED with tomatoes.

Yellow Stuffer – This vine also got the virus and hence the fruit were all smaller than normal after the mid-point in the season. It kept producing well though, especially for an heirloom.

Bella Rosa – This variety did have some huge tomatoes, but unfortunately the bulk of its production came during the rainy period when almost everything was cracking like crazy. This variety cracked terribly. Of course, that was an abnormal occurrence for us. It hasn’t really set another flush of tomatoes though, which kept it from moving up the rankings.

Poor Performers (Not recommended):

Iron Lady – I was so hopeful about this variety, because it had resistance to Septoria Leaf Spot and Early Blight. Unfortunately, the plant was small, not very vigorous, and succumbed to spider mites almost immediately. Once it finally had fruit, they were small and not very nice. You can forgive small fruit in an extremely early variety, but not so much when it is mid-season. To be fair, this variety may have gotten excessively shaded by the giant plants around it, preventing it from doing anything the second part of the summer.

I know there were a couple of varieties of tomatoes elsewhere in the garden, but I’ll report on them in the context of the bed they were in.

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 September 16, 2013, in Around the Garden, Plant & Garden Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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