Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mid-Season Tomato Review

So, my experiment in heirloom tomatoes is about half-way through, and I've learned a few things. First, most indeterminate tomato plants really do need 36" between plants. I have too many mature plants in too small of a space. But that's just a side show, the real question is: which tomatoes are worth planting again next year?

Biggest and most robust plant: the Black Nyagous. Incredible plant. Huge and full of fruit. So big it's hard to control. Tomatoes are roughly the size of a tennis ball and a blackish red. Sweet, but not very acidic.

Biggest disappointment: Annanas Noire. The name of this plant mystifies me, as there is nothing remotely "black" about the plant or its fruit, which are big--baseball to softball size--and an odd yellow green color with a touch of pink. Flavor and texture both nothing to write home about.

Best conversation piece: A smaller plant called a Green Zebra. Fruit is small--ping pong ball sized--but beautifully striped: yellow on green. Flavor is good, but I'd plant this one again mostly for its looks.

And the mid-season award for best all round tomato goes to ... drumroll please ... a beefsteak tomato called Cherokee Purple. Smoky purple-red fruit, large, easy to slice, sweet and tangy. A terrific tomato in my book, and you can bet I'll plant several next year. I've also been happy with a similar tomato with an odd and un-original name: Black from Tula, Indiana (what? as opposed to "Black from Timbuktu?"). A little less acidic than the Cherokee purple, but I like acidic tomotoes, which is why Cherokee Purple takes the cake.

That's the view from the tomato patch ...

(The photo above is of a Cherokee Purple I picked and sliced a few days ago. MMmm!)