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What makes a good tomato ?

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default What makes a good tomato ?

Post by Chilli-head on 23rd March 2010, 4:24 pm

I hated raw tomatoes as a kid, much to the annoyance of my dad who always grew a greenhouse full of them. My revelation came when travelling in Turkey, where tomatoes were fleshy, impossbly red all the way through and so fragrant and tasty. I still prefer big, fleshy beefsteak types to all others, and I also like to have some to make passata from. I still dislike tomatoes full of watery pulp and green seeds.

This year I'm growing in the greenhouse:

Ping pong
St Pierre
Red pear (Franchi/Seeds of Italy)
Rio Grande (Franchi/Seeds of Italy)
Purple Russian
Brandywine

and I'll grow some Garden pearl in a hanging basket outside.

So how do you like your tomatoes, and what's your favourite ?
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Post by Compostwoman on 23rd March 2010, 5:52 pm

Black Russian
Shirley
Golden Sunrise
Yellow Perfection
Spainish Big Boy
Derby Pink Striped

Fox Cherry and Red Cherry
Auntie Madge

And I usually grow another 5 or 6 sorts to see if I like them, and add them to the list if I do...

Which is why I grow around 50 tomato plants every year....

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Post by Chilli-head on 24th March 2010, 1:04 pm

I think Yellow Perfection is the best yellow tomato I've found yet; I often grow it. I like that it fruits quite early; my DW is a home grown tomato snob and will not have shop bought ones, so the first tomatoes are always eagerly awaited !

Black Russian is one of my dad's favourites. I'm trying Purple Russian again this year, which is similar in colour but more plum shaped, I'm hoping any surplus will be good "squished" (my son's name for passata !)

I'm not familiar with Spainish Big Boy or Derby Pink Striped, though both sound interesting - what are they like ?

Hum. 50 plants - that's my dad's sort of scale. I'm trying to limit myself to a dozen or so this year to leave plenty of room for chillies - I've resown Rocotos thinking that the first lot had failed, now they've all come through, and I just know I won't have the heart to throw any away ...
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Post by Adrian on 24th March 2010, 1:19 pm

This year I'm growing Stupice, Chadwicks Cherry, Amish Paste, Brandywine and San Marzano

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Post by Compostwoman on 24th March 2010, 4:14 pm

I grow loads and sell ( for me or for eco club funds...) at the gate or at school...

I also supply school with plants, as invariably the ones the children grow, get forgotten or put somewhere too dark....

Darby Pink Striped is a HSL variety...old and ( as the name implies) pink striped...quite tart, medium sized, inderterminate and solid flesh, good to add "different" colour to a salad...

Spanish Big Boy is a giant along the lines of Super Marmande, but nicer...a knobbly stuffing/slicing tom...sweet, juicy, deep red and yummy...but not many to a plant...thick ish skin as well so doesn't split too easily, depsite slow growth..

I have it sliced with feta and basil as a salad...

I aim to supply us with tomatoes ( dehydrated, frozen whole and as sauce, in chutney etc etc) all year round and also I sell quite a few.., make chutney to raise funds for school....and we eat loads as well...

mmm can't wait...mmmm fresh tomatoes....mmmm just the smwll of my seedlings sets my mouth watering...

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Post by polgara on 24th March 2010, 5:48 pm

One that is fresh, tastes like a tomato & I don`t end up tasting it for the rest of the day.

Yipeeeeeee IOW tomatos are back in the shops (I suspect they are always in some Supermarkets) so until mine are grown they will do me fine.

As to types I love cherry ones that are sweet.
Pol

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Post by Zoe on 24th March 2010, 7:26 pm

What makes a good tomato? Water far less than you think. Build the soil up including lime before they are planted. Don't feed the foliage. Scaggy plants are good!

This year I'm growing
Roma (for loads of sauces)
Marmande
Coeur de Boeuf (bottle beautifully)
Black Russian
Harbinger (worth trying - rustic and v good falvour)
Amatuer (only because I have the seed)
Gardeners Delight (wondeful and late cropping)

I have 70 plants this year and I use all the tomatoes! Over 100kg in good years. We bottle and I make vast amounts of food in the summer to see us through the winter and all non tomato times.

Oh dear just realised this thread in the greenhouse...sorry folks please don't hate me but I grow mine out side!!

Zoe
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Post by Adrian on 24th March 2010, 7:52 pm

so do I Zoe

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Post by Compostwoman on 24th March 2010, 7:53 pm

If I did that, I wouldn't have any..due to blight..

so I grow all mine in the PT

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Post by Dandelion on 25th March 2010, 9:22 am

No polytunnel or greenhouse at the Dandelion Patch either, so the tomatoes I grow have to be robust! I'm particularly fond of a variety called Tamina, which is 'potato leaved' - it tastes good, but its other advantages are that it seems to cope with slightly colder weather, so can be put out earlier, and coped OK with blight last year. I cut leaves off at the first sign of blight, and the plants recovered well. Having a conventional family (who didn't like Garden Pearl because it 'wasn't the right colour') I will also be growing Fantasio, Sub Arctic Plenty and Gardeners Delight

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Post by Compostwoman on 25th March 2010, 9:31 am

And any of mine which may take you fancy at the plant swap?

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Post by Dandelion on 25th March 2010, 9:58 am

I'm hoping you might have something in a fetching shade which will shock the family......

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Post by Compostwoman on 25th March 2010, 10:02 am

Bright yellow?

Pale red with pink and greney stripes?

Dark purple?

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Post by Chilli-head on 25th March 2010, 10:41 am

I have tried growing tomatoes outside; in a basket or in large tubs on the patio they work well enough, but the ones I've planted actually in the soil have so far got blight before producing anything worth eating. Which is strange because I don't usually have any problem with potatoes.

I know that overwatering is not great for flavour; I normally aim on the dry side; I suspect that outdoor growing makes for better flavour too, so I wish I could ... I read somewhere that Tomatillos grow OK outdoors here in the UK, and have had some volunteers grow where I've spread compost, so maybe I'll give that a try this year.
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Post by Dandelion on 25th March 2010, 1:03 pm

That's interesting, because my mother (who lives a mile away from me) grew tomatoes successfully in pots last 'summer' without blight: they were plants which I had grown from seed. My own plants in the soil did get blight - some I had to pull up, but some recovered. We're told that blight is carried in the rain - it would be interesting to know why those grown in pots cope better. You have given me an idea - I'll trial some plants in pots this year, and compare them with those in the soil. (That way I get more tomatoes, hopefully!!)
CW - I'll try all of those - the stripy one sounds great.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Zoe on 25th March 2010, 1:06 pm

Harbinger are robust too.

I start my seedlings off as early in Feb as I can in small pots (reducing down to one plant so no check in the growth) and pot them on and plant them out mid May hopefully with flowers so that I can in the the least get the first truss rippening before any blight starts. We do get blight some years and once I had no tomatoes except a few cherry toms in the greenhouse.

I think if you can protect an area from the west wind you might stand a good chance...as Bob Flowerdew says its worth it for the times you do get a crop.

Zoe
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Post by Compostwoman on 25th March 2010, 8:00 pm

We live in such a blight endemic area, surrounded by Tyrells crisp potato growing empire as we are, that outside toms are pointless, as are late maincrop spuds...

so toms inside the PT and early or early maincrop spuds are the order of the day for me...

also practice mega bio security before going inside the PT, change clothes, wash boots, wash tools or keep a set inside for use ONLY inside..etc etc ...

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Post by Guest on 2nd April 2010, 1:24 pm

On gardeners question time they were talking about adding lime dust to the compost for tomatoes. Seems as if it is crucial. We are on limestone so take that ingredient for granted. Bob FLD puts limestone rocks over the ground. Someone else used waste plaster.

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Post by Chilli-head on 2nd April 2010, 2:32 pm

Is that for calcium to reduce blossom end rot, I wonder ? I know it is blamed on erratic watering, but I think I read that it's because erratic watering interferes with calcium uptake. Now I know I'm a bit guilty here - I try to avoid excess water to get best flavour, and I am often a bit erratic Embarassed Quite often my plum tomatoes have blossom end rot - I had big problems with San Marzano. Hopefully this year they'll enjoy all the bits of eggshell in my homemade compost ...
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Post by Zoe on 2nd April 2010, 7:51 pm

The information I have from ATTRA National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service pdf on organic tomato production in greenhouses

is:
Tomatoes do best with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8. Liming to this range improves plant growth and optimizes fertilizer efficiency. Unless a deficiency of magnesium is noted, hi-calcium (non-dolomitic) lime is advised.

I also have heard that "grow bag" compost is often too acidic to be good for tomato growing.

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Post by Zoe on 30th May 2010, 9:28 pm

At last I have come across a reference I knew I had but couldn't locate.

Blossom end rot is caused by calcium deficiency and encouraged by irregular watering. This is Pipa Greenwood information.

Knowing what Bedfordshire soil is like C-Head it might be worth considering.

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Post by Chilli-head on 9th June 2010, 3:32 pm

I've taken to topping up the containers of my indoor tomatoes with compost with some bonemeal added in in the hope of giving them a bit of calcium when needed.

Still waiting for the first ripe tomato ... usually First Born or Yellow perfection are my earliest, but I've not grown either of those this year.
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Post by Compostwoman on 9th June 2010, 3:53 pm

At the moment I have a Red Brandywine which looks like it might win the first tomato prize!

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Post by Chilli-head on 9th June 2010, 4:17 pm

Mmmm lucky you. With the right conditions Brandywine can be so delicious.

My nearest to ripe are Rio Grande - a plum type.
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Post by Compostwoman on 9th June 2010, 4:26 pm

Just had a look and yes the Yellow Perfection is a close second..oooh a race!

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