Thursday, February 16, 2012

2012 Tomato Selections and Why

I'm back!  This past summer and fall was a whole lot of digging misery(pond) and not a whole lot of harvest (garden neglect and horrible growing season).  Neither make for very interesting blogging.  Who wants to listen to someone gripe everyday right?  In my head the 2012 growing season starts with the first seed starts so off we go.

2012 Tomato Selections and Why
I'll be trying for 24 varieties this year.  Originally it was going to be16 but I acquired a few seed gifts yada yada yada going to need to find some space.  I grow open pollinated varieties not hybrids.  My reasons are that I can then save seeds that grow true to type and OP varieties almost always have better flavors.  Many tomatoes I grow are heirlooms, meaning they have been around for a long time.  Some are new and fantastic.  This is who made the cut.

Marizol Bratka:  Purchased from Heritage Seeds.  Selected because it is purported to have all the flavor of the Brandywines with much better fruit set and productivity.   It produces up to 1# dark pink tomatoes.

Pineapple:   Grew it last year.  Big and very pretty bi-color with very sweet fruit. 

Katja:  Seed purchased last year from Adaptive seeds but didn't have successful sprout.  I'm hoping for a very early slicer that is purported to be delicious and "Does very well even in cool, shady gardens."  Now that would be something!
Chocolate Stripes:  I grow it every year, my sweet garden beauty.  It's thicker skin means no icky cracks.  Taste is very good and it gives great photo.

African Queen:  Purchased from Heritage seeds this year.  I was looking for a heavily producing, phenomenal tasting mid-late season slicer.  This one sounded good. 

Matina:  Grew it in 2009 and got very early decent tasting smallish fruit.  Seeing if the seed is still good so I can save some.

Persimmon: Another repeater.  This one can be a pain to get going but man once it starts it goes nuts.  Lots of 4 oz bright orange fruits.  Not too sweet, just right.

Black Cherry:  This is my third and last attempt at this one.  Year one I got the wrong seed from Bakers Creek.  Fail.  Last year it hated the weather( most did) and the fruit didn't taste so great, the few that I recovered that didn't have blossom end rot.  Everyone swears by this purple cherry.  Hopefully  the third time this the charm.

Hays : This was a gift from Dr. Carolyn Male as part of her annual seed give away.  I asked her to surprise me.  Hays originates from Bulgaria and got to the US by way of Hays, Alberta.  It is a pink heart.  Mmm hearts.

Anna Russian: Hearts usually have the somewhat disturbing wispy foliage.  Anna Russian is no different in that respect.  Where it differs is an earlier harvest.  These are delicious.  I grew them last year.

Striped Roman:  I grow this stunner every year.  It is a very meaty red with gold metallic stripes.  Seems to be more resistant to wet season diseases than some of the others.

Crnkovic Yugoslavian: Tasty reliable productive pink that I grow most years.

German Red Strawberry: Several traits that bug.  Wispy leaves, long growth time.  However once you bite into these BIG red hearts, all that is forgotten.  Great tomato.

Ludmilla Red Plum:  Gift from Dr. Male. Productive German heirloom with plum shaped, decent sized fruit with very good flavor. Named by Reinhard Kraft of Germany, who named it after Ludmilla, a Kazakhstan German, who he received the seeds from.  This is one of the few I am growing this year with a late season.

Terhune: Another gift from Dr. Male.  Originates from the garden of an elderly woman in Minnesota who grew it for years.  Said to be a big sturdy pink with Brandywine like flavor without Bradywine's issues.

Seattles Woolly Blue Mammoth:  This is an F3 from Tom Wagners efforts.  I failed at getting it off the ground last year.  I bought it because the fruit are blue (aka purple) and the plant is fuzzy and I wanted a fuzzy blue tomato.

Sherry's Sweet Heart: Purchased from Wild Boar Farms.  It is a new variety this year.  I was drawn to the fact it is a midseason heart and the flavor is described as Mid-season and the flavor description was "Very good flavor, well balanced, sweet-acid."

Solar Flare: Wild Boar Farm's description on this was, "6-10 oz. Beefsteak, Red with Gold Stripes, Very Meaty with Luscious Sweet Red Tomato Flavor. F-7 Cross from Beauty King, selected for flavor, “WOW” Factor, production, increased earliness, scab resistance.  Mid / Early Season, full body red, slightly sweet. This variety is one of my work horses."  How could I resist?

Gary O'Sena: People always talk about this one.  I've never bought it because I don't like it's name.Finally did this year from Heritage Farms.  They say it is one of their earliest, best tasting, and prolific purple/black tomatoes.  I hope they are right.  An early black would be a good thing.

Maiden's Gold:  Another gift from Dr. Male.  The pictures of it are not all that attractive but I like its history and the fact that it might be another big fruited, old fashioned tasting, midseason variety.  This tomato was raised in family gardens for years in Southwestern Virginia and dates back to at least the early 1950's. It almost went extinct in 2009, but 22 year old seed revived and saved.

Amazon Chocolate  Gift from Hertitage seed. Not clear if this variety is yet stable.  It is described as a very delicious brown slicer.

Pink Furry Boar  Seriously, if you saw a tomato called pink furry boar wouldn't you buy it out of curiosity alone?  I did.  Plus it is pretty.  And fuzzy.  And pretty.

Porkchop:  Also from Hertiage seeds, bred by Wild Boar farms.  I needed a yellow.  A striped yellow sounded even better.   Said to be of excellent flavor. 

That's it!  I plant one cell of each variety, 2 seeds per cell on 2/11.  Soil was Hoffman's Seed Started which was light and fluffy and completely free of that "beneficial fungus additive" that I will never start seed with again.  Ever.  No sprouts yet but I check 1 or four times a day as they sit on their heating pad.  Feeling good about this season!

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