Monday, 17 October 2011

Tomatoes: roll call 2012 (part 1)

It may seem premature to be talking about next spring, given autumn is still in full sway. But we are now almost two-thirds of the way through the tomato year, partly because living by the coast affords me a long frost-free autumn, and partly because I intend to sow next year's a week or two earlier, to give me more time to get organised planting them out (which was the weakest link in my system this year).

So, we are coming up to week 33 of the 2011 season, and in 18 weeks' time, I'll be sowing the 2012 crop. And as a birthday treat, I ordered all the seeds I needed over the weekend. I have some left over from this year - so whether I liked them or not, I will grow these varieties again (I suppose the poorer-performing ones deserve a second chance). For a few I will save seeds of my own - a first for me, although given how readily they germinate in homemade compost, it shouldn't be difficult. The new ones I selected for a few key criteria - variety of colour, shape, and size; recommended flavour or disease resistance; or as replacements for under-performing varieties I tried this year (or simply to try something new).

Now I have ordered them, I can present the final list. I've split it into two parts, as there are now a total of 23 varieties. I won't describe ones I grew this year here - I have put links in to the entry I wrote about them back in the spring. Pictures are provided where a good, copyright-free example could be found.

Black cherry

Black prince

Plentiful medium-large dark red fruit, with dark red-brown/green flesh of good flavour. From Siberia, so good for cool climates. Photo: dreamexplorer

Brown berry
Dark red or brown cherry-sized fruit, greenish inside, with a good reputation for flavour. Possibly American, or Dutch (sources differ). A rival to 'Black cherry' - I will be comparing the two to see which to grow in future.


Dark pinkish-brown, large fruit with richly-flavoured flesh and few seeds. American. I will be comparing this with 'Black prince', 'Cherokee purple', and 'Japanese black trifele' - all are similar in size and dark in colour. Photo: kthread

Caspian pink

Large to very large beefsteak fruit with few seeds. Very large plants. A variety hailing, as its name suggests, from the Caspian region of Russia. Photo: summersumz

Cherokee purple

Cream sausage

Garden peach

A curiosity, this - a tomato which resembles a peach, pale yellow with downy skin. These seem to be better established in the USA, though I'm not sure where this hails from. One source claims this keeps for up to several months, but another that its shelf life is very short. I'm only really growing this to see what it is like - I don't expect it to be particularly good. Photo: fortinbras

Garden pearl
I am comparing this to 'Gardener's delight', although it is somewhat different - this is a determinate (or bush) variety, and often recommended for pots or hanging baskets, I think. It's a bit twee, but said to be very productive. Lots of small red fruit.

Gardener's delight

German orange strawberry

Great white

I have heard good things about this. It replaces 'Sun Belle' from this year, being a yellow cherry tomato, tending to oval or pear-shaped. Massive trusses of several dozen fruits each. Said to be from Sweden.

Japanese black trifele

Medium to large dark red fruit. Russian. said to be delicious. Photo: Rubber Slippers In Italy

Continued in part two.

Many thanks to Passion tomate and Tatiana's Tomatobase for information on these varieties.

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