Tomato Variety Reviews

These tomato variety reviews appeared as a post in the old blog. It’s worthy of updating a little and giving it a spot here.

Tomato season should have some sort of national event and cause for celebration. It takes months to get from the tiny seed to a ripe tomato. Planting, watering, transplanting to larger pots, transplanting into the garden, more water, weeding, staking and tying, pruning. It’s a lot of work. It’s worth it when that first tomato is ripe and ready to pick. This is the only time of year that I’ll eat tomatoes. I’ll wait, sometimes impatiently, for really good tomatoes. My tomato variety reviews should help you choose and maybe avoid varieties for your garden and kitchen.

Bobcat Beef Steak Tomato

Bobcat is a big favorite. This F-1 hybrid beef steak variety has a lot going for it. It’s an easy to control determinate that has done very well in the high tunnel. I wasn’t going to plant any tomatoes outside this year but had a few extras and plopped them in the ground. They’re not ripe yet but the sprawling plants are growing well. The tomatoes I’m picking average 8-10 ounces and are ripening evenly. I won’t need six plants next year. This variety, as is typical of determinates, is producing a lot of ripe fruit at once. They’re so prolific that I used them in the stewed tomatoes I made and canned over the weekend. A slice and a half is all you need to cover a sandwich. This is as close to perfect as a tomato can be and deserves second place in the tomato variety reviews.tomato variety reviews, JetStar tomato, Bobcat tomato

Vilms Heirloom Paste Tomato

Vilms is an heirloom paste tomato. It’s a little more tart than I like for a paste tomato but very good. I knew I had more tomatoes ripe than I had time to can over the weekend so I relied on the information I read and left them on the plant. The claims that Vilms holds well are true. Three days later, the tomatoes show no signs of over ripening or stress. A fun aspect of Vilms is its mismatched shapes. Some of the plants are producing pear shaped fruits while others are plum shaped. I thought I’d made a mistake by mixing up seeds of two varieties but that isn’t the case. I went back to read the description. Vilms hasn’t shown any signs of blossom end rot in spite of a very dry July that limited how often I could water without stressing the well.

Luci 2103 Tomato for the High Tunnel

Luci 2103 is a great F-1 hybrid variety for high tunnels. It lived up to Fedco’s claim of being able to replace Buffalo. The seeds are less expensive than I used to pay for Buffalo. Luci ripens uniformly, has strong stems that do well with clipping to strings, is easy to control to two main stems with pruning and not at all fussy. A few tomatoes cracked when I over watered but that was my fault. I like Luci a lot but I’ll stick with Jet Star.

Casady’s Folly Heirloom Paste Tomato

Casady’s Folly is a huge failure. If I’d started growing heirlooms with this variety I would have given up the first year. Fifty percent of the fruits were small, about an inch long, and all but a few had blossom end rot. I’ve never grown a tomato as susceptible to blossom end rot as Casady’s Folly. No other variety in the high tunnel has BER. This variety has thick, tough skin. During a hot spell, the blossoms dropped, something I don’t often see in tomatoes. The flavor is great but this variety is too fussy to deserve a spot in my garden. tomato variety reviews

I grew my favorites this year, Jet Star is my all time favorite for a small, found, red, always dependable tomato. I like it better than Early Girl and other “choice” varieties. And Opalka, the paste variety I can’t do without. Opalka peels easily without being dunked in hot water. It’s meaty, has excellent flavor, is a large tomato at 3” x 5” and a heavy producer. If water stressed, it might have a little blossom end rot but that seldom happens.

Old Favorites

Juliette is my dependable grape tomato that is excellent in salad, stewed, and in sauce. If it were larger and peeled easily it would replace Opalka as my favorite paste variety.

Tomatoes haven’t been planted in one of the tunnels for the past two years but they’re growing this year. An orange cherry tomato, smaller than most cherry varieties, is blocking a wide path in the tunnel. I stopped stepping over it and started walking on it when it was wider than my legs can reach. Abuse hasn’t slowed this plant. I have little idea of what it might be. I grew Sun Gold for several years but that’s a hybrid variety that wouldn’t grow “true” as a volunteer. The fruits are half the size of Sun Gold. This tomato isn’t prone to cracking. I didn’t plant it, don’t need it and don’t take care of it, yet it’s doing exceptionally well. I water it when I think of it by tossing the hose to it. I’ve over watered many times and not one tomato has cracked. tomato variety reviews

I never tire of tomatoes even though I don’t eat a lot of them. I love to grow them and am fascinated by what I get when volunteers grow. What’s your favorite tomato? tomato variety reviews