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Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

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Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  SalsaMom on 1/28/2014, 10:56 am

Hello all -
I am in middle TN and last year I planted some Better Boys, Big Boys, and Beef Master plants that I bought at the store.  It was a very wet summer and my tomatoes didn't produce well, several plants died etc...just a bad tomato year.

This year I'm going to start some tomatoes inside from seed myself b/c I've just always had bigger and better producing plants by doing that in the past.

What varieties have you guys had good luck with - or which have only ever been trouble?
I'm mainly looking for some good slicing/beefsteak type tomatoes and at least one cherry type for salads/snacking (though I've always had good luck with any cherry type around here).
Love a nice rich tomato taste! 
I've never tried the Cherokee purple types....maybe those would be fun to try?
I probably want to do about 12 or so plants total - 3 or 4 varieties perhaps.

Later on I'd like to learn to can and do some cooking types - but that is for 2015 or beyond.

Looking forward to hearing from you all!
Oh - and if anyone saw my sweet tater thread from last fall's harvest - I've already got my order in for more Georgia Jets and Beau's!!

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  slimbolen99 on 1/28/2014, 11:37 am

I had great luck with Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes from Baker Creek.  They were incredibly tasty and very prolific.
http://www.rareseeds.com/chocolate-cherry-tomato/?F_Keyword=cherry

I'm also trying a 'new' one (to me), the Cherokee Purple from Baker Creek.  A friend of mine had them last year and they were perfect sized for sandwiches or slices.  She forgot to save me some seed though!
http://www.rareseeds.com/cherokee-purple-tomato/?F_Keyword=Cherokee%20Purple%20Tomato

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  jmsieglaff on 1/28/2014, 11:48 am

I enjoy Black Krim quite a bit if you're considering purple/black tomato.  The flavor is outstanding, production is pretty good, the fruits are prone to splitting some.  Last year was the first year I did not grow a Celebrity tomato and regretted it.  The flavor is decent, not great, but production is great and good leaf disease resistance.  I am growing one again this year.  For cherry tomatoes we cannot possibly grow enough Sungolds.  They churn out fruit early until frost--this year we're doing 3 plants of those, what make it into the house don't last long--very fruity, sweet, and some tang to them.

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  donnainzone5 on 1/28/2014, 11:50 am

I also vote for Cherokee Purple! Last summer, it was my second-best performer (after Stupice), and it had luscious flavor.

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  H_TX_2 on 1/28/2014, 12:03 pm

Two summers ago I planted a yellow pear tomato in a pot. My daughter and myself really like the tomatoes and the plant even survived the winter and produced again this past summer. Don't pick them when they are bright yellow, wait until they get a bit darker for best flavor.

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  sanderson on 1/28/2014, 1:24 pm

I'm also trying Cherokee Purple from My Patriot Supply.

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  herblover on 1/28/2014, 1:30 pm

I second both the Chocolate Cherry and yellow pear; great producers even last year when my beefsteak toms didn't do well.

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  mapspringer on 1/28/2014, 3:10 pm

SalsaMom - I just ordered and received seeds from 2 Middle TN farms.  Cherokee Purple is one of my faves, for sure!  Also, Jasper cherrys from Johnny's Seeds did extremely well even in our poor tomato season last year.
Here's my order for this year:
http://www.whiteoakvalleyfarm.com/
-Cherokee Purple, Black Krim, Homestead, Dinner Plate, Barnes Mountain Orange, Giant Belgium and San Marzano tomatoes.
- French Breakfast radish, Early Yellow Crookneck squash, and Purple Jalapeno.
And from
http://www.newhopeseed.com/
-Old Time Tennessee Muskmelon, Golden Dwarf Champion tomato, and Bradley tomato.

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  mapspringer on 1/28/2014, 3:14 pm

BTW- Question for you, SalsaMom.  Did your tomato plant's leaves get all curled up, gnarly and disfigured last year?  The local extension agent believed mine resulted from overspray of lawn/weed killer.  However, I've spoken with others in the area that said theirs did the same thing.  Maybe something environmental.  Hopefully it was just last year and will not happen again this year!

Cary in Murfreesboro

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  quiltbea on 1/28/2014, 3:37 pm

I have to add Red Zebra to the list of great tomatoes.  Its not one of the big ones,
but this heirloom has superb flavor.

The color is unique.  Here's one of my early ones.

I agree that Sun Gold is a perfect cherry tomato.

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  floyd1440 on 1/28/2014, 6:14 pm

I got some Hillbilly and Black Krim to try this year.  My Red Zebra were good tasting and very productive. 

 

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  Marc Iverson on 1/28/2014, 7:19 pm

Hillbilly and Black Krim sound like really great ones to try, floyd1440. The latter I especially read/hear has great flavor. And if nothing else, the Hillbilly looks awesome sliced on a plate.

I read a great book on tomatoes recently(Tomatoland, I think it was -- fantastic book), and a farmer mentioned in it complained that someone who reviewed his tomatoes picked a Cherokee Purple, a variety he would never recommend as tops in flavor.

For cherries, sungolds never disappoint, and I had absolutely delicious chocolate cherry tomatoes a couple of years ago. Very, very close to being too good to share!

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  SalsaMom on 1/28/2014, 7:32 pm

Cary - I'm not far from you - I'm in Smyrna.  We should compare garden notes!

No lawn chemicals - we don't use them and our neighbors don't either.  I think it was too much rain and maybe that when I bought the plants - I didn't check to see if they had any resistance to wilt, nematodes etc....

This year I'm checking those little letters to see what the seeds/plants are supposed to be resistant to.

Last year cutworms also got my squash too.  My aunt told me to put two or three popsicle sticks around each plant and that prevents it.
I'll be trying that this year.

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  floyd1440 on 1/28/2014, 8:02 pm

@Marc Iverson wrote:Hillbilly and Black Krim sound like really great ones to try, floyd1440.  The latter I especially read/hear has great flavor.  And if nothing else, the Hillbilly looks awesome sliced on a plate.

I read a great book on tomatoes recently(Tomatoland, I think it was -- fantastic book), and a farmer mentioned in it complained that someone who reviewed his tomatoes picked a Cherokee Purple, a variety he would never recommend as tops in flavor.

For cherries, sungolds never disappoint, and I had absolutely delicious chocolate cherry tomatoes a couple of years ago.  Very, very close to being too good to share!

My wife and I like bi color tomatoes and the hillbilly looked good so bought some seeds.  Did see a bicolor grape too but cannot remember were I saw it.

I had the Gold Medal last year and that was a good pick so saved those seeds but need to plant some WV 63's as I am about out of them.  They are great slicers and am disappointed that seed companies don't carry them..

         

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  brainchasm on 1/28/2014, 8:38 pm

To OP:  IIRC, Cherokee Purples originally came from Tennessee...seems a natural to plant them in Nashville!

I grew Cherokees and Black Krims last year in Vegas...some cracking issues, and of course they grumped at the mid-summer heat, but all in all did fine.

(they were a favorite of the hornworms too, little rotten thieves...)

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  quiltbea on 1/28/2014, 10:43 pm

To foil cutworms, just stick 3 toothpicks in the ground beside the plant stem, whether it be tomato, pepper or anything else. Push into the soil about halfway so half is up in the air and leaning against the body of the stems.  The cutworms can't wrap around the stem to k.ill it.   When the plant is big enuf to not be affected by cutworms, the toothpicks will just be shoved out of the way as the plant grows.  You won't have to remove them.

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  R&R 1011 on 1/28/2014, 11:18 pm

Last year, I grew Cherokee Purples, Big Boys, Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, and Roma's.  All started from seed, all germinated and grew even the ones my 2 yr old at the time attacked!  They all tasted great.  Roasting the cherry tomatoes was so yum and it had a large yield.  The roma's are meatier, thicker.  The Big Boys & Cherokees were great slicing tomatoes so I would recommend all of the tomatoes I tried.


Anyone want to trade with me?  I can send you some Cherokee Purples for any other kind of tomato variety.

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  dk54321 on 1/29/2014, 12:08 am

Here in Wisconsin, tomato season is short, so I grow only early season vine types. They start producing earlier than other varieties, and keep producing until first frost (and a little longer, if I cover them at night.) 

I've had consistently good results with 4th of July. At 49 days from setting out plants to maturity, it's the earliest tomato I've tried. I've never had ripe tomatoes on July 4th, but I have had them by mid-July, which is pretty impressive around here. July 4th should be easy in Tennessee. With a first frost in mid-October, I've had vines producing into November. The fruit are uniform in size (about 4 oz) and shape (globe), and have good flavor, texture, and color. I have grown them both from plants and seeds, but it's hard to get plants early enough.

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  Marc Iverson on 1/29/2014, 12:47 am

My neighbor, who has the most amazing sungold cherry tomatoes, has very boring 4th of July tomatoes. I usually like most any tomato, but I guess that's another illustration how much your soil and local environment matters. My sungolds were nice, but few were anywhere near as nice as his. My larger tomatoes tasted better than his big tomatoes.

I've begun to think that one person's success getting really flavorful tomatoes, or failure to do so, tells much less of the story about that tomato variety than I'd like. The good side of that is that I'm optimistic that I might have good success with a variety where others produced only bland tomatoes, just as much as mine might be blah even though someone else's were delicious.

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  southern gardener on 1/29/2014, 1:37 am

By FAR this past year, was our Brandywines.  
The link to our success is here http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t16455-loaded-brandywines?highlight=loaded+brandywines

They were delicious, loaded and kept coming and coming, in fact, we just ate the last one a couple of weeks ago.
As far as cherry, we had a golden cherry I think it was called, or yellow cherry? It had small marble sized yellow tomatoes. Sweet 100's USED to be our favorites, until this one!! Can't wait for this year! We are having such mild weather, we are thinking about throwing some in the garden early and see if we luck out Smile

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  quiltbea on 1/29/2014, 3:57 pm

dk54.....I live in zone 5 in Maine and experimented with getting early tomoatoes last year.  I wanted them before the Fourth.  Tried 2 methods.  Both worked but one took much more effort.

I transplanted some ourtdoors in April and put stakes around them.  Wrapped plastic around the stakes and over the top to keep in heat and prevent frost.  One was damaged when the wind blew the top off one wrapped plant.  From another plant I harvested my first Jet Stars on 6/26 last year.

The other one was a New Girl.  I started her from seed 12 weeks before last frost date.  Transplanted to a 3-liter air-pruning bottle when larger.  Kept her indoors until the first week in May and then outside for hardening off.  By this time she had blossoms and even a couple of small fruits.  I did NOT pick them off.  Left them to continue to grow.  Transplanted outdoors on May 15th and watched closely to cover with towels if the nites were going to be too cool.  My first tomatoes were picked from this plant on june 18th.  That's earlier than the plastic protected ones.

Taken June 18, 2013, New Girl tomato.

To enjoy more tomatoes this year before the Fourth,  I plan to start  a few plants indoors 12 weeks early and be sure to transplant into a 3-liter air-pruning bottle but keep indoors until our regular last frost date or thereabouts.  Less effort than wrapping in plastic and venting, etc.

Note:  I did NOT get as a productive harvest on the ones transplanted with the little fruits already on them, but I just wanted a few to eat early.
The ones protected with the plastic bore more fruits.

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

Post  dk54321 on 1/30/2014, 12:05 am

Quiltbea,

Interesting. Our last frost is usually between May 1 and May 31. Lat year, I set out transplants the last week of April, and covered them with 2 liter bottles with the bottoms cut out. They survived, but didn't grow much until it got warmer. I harvested my first tomatoes the second week of July.

In 2012, when I bought transplants, in addition to the usual size, I bought one potted tomato plant that already had blossoms on it, and transplanted it to my garden. It survived long enough to produce five or six tomatoes, 1/2"-1" diameter, but only two ripened. The others shriveled up, and then the plant died.

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Re: Tomatoes for 2014 - looking for suggestions

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