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Planning My 2010 Tomato List

February 25th, 2010

If you were reading this blog last year about this time you’ll remember that I grew around 25 different varieties of tomatoes last summer (here’s the list). I had great intentions of doing photos post reviews of each kind, but I got too busy in the garden tending that many plants to have time to make the posts.

This year I’m trying to keep my list at about 10-12 different varieties. I’ll be growing San Marzano for sure, these will be my main canning tomato. Principe Borghese will be grown at Chiot’s Run until I can no longer garden. They’re most wonderful little tomatoes to dry and add to just about any meal.

I’ll be growing another variety or two of paste tomato, I haven’t decided on the variety yet (any suggestions). Of course I’ll be growing a few eating tomatoes for eating fresh off the vine: a Brandywine variety (perhaps pink), Cherokee Purple, Sub-Arctic and Silvery Fir Tree (which will be new to the garden this year).

I could grow the same tomatoes year after year, but with so many wonderful heirloom varieties out there I want to try as many as I can. I’m going to try to add a few new varieties each year. I would like to try a current type tomato and a cherry since they ripen early and provide that fresh from the garden tomato so much earlier than the bigger varieties. I’ve been leafing through catalogs trying to nail down what kinds I’d like to try. I really need to buy The Heirloom Tomato: From Garden to Table: Recipes, Portraits, and History of the World’s Most Beautiful Fruit to keep as a reference when I’m trying to decide what kinds of heirloom tomatoes to grow each year.

Have you narrowed down your list of tomatoes for 2010? What kinds are you growing?

42 Comments to “Planning My 2010 Tomato List”
  1. tigress on February 25, 2010 at 7:56 am

    definitely for paste tomatoes i like amish paste. they are meaty, really flavorful and taste just as good eaten out of hand.

    fingers cross we have a great tomato year. i am in so much anticipation to be able to can them that i already have my designated jars lined up on the larder shelf! ;)
    .-= tigress´s last blog ..can jam february round-up: carrot =-.

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  2. Miranda Wildman Efird on February 25, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Hey There! I am also a fan of amish paste, my friend Tara, awesome gardener in Vermont who grows them for lots of sauce turned me on to them. We will be growing them for the first time. Have you every heard of an heirloom tomato whose name begins with a Z? One year we grew them and they were scrumptious. Is it Zogola?
    .-= Miranda Wildman Efird´s last blog ..birds in my life collage =-.

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  3. kitsapFG on February 25, 2010 at 9:15 am

    I selected my tomato varieties months ago, because to get my tomatoes started and ready for the mid April planting out dates…requires that I start seeds in mid February. Back up from that and I need to order seeds by early January to ensure they arrive in time.

    I have a cool/damp environment to contend with so tomatoes are a challenge to grow successfully here. Blight and other fungal problems are pervasive. I choose varieties that have a lot of vigor, relatively fast maturing, and one’s that will tolerate cooler conditions. This year I am growing; Early Girl, Siletz, Fantastic, Oroma (paste), Market Miracle (seed trade), and Cherokee Purple (seed trade),

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  4. Christine on February 25, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Oh jeez. I really, REALLY need to get started on tomatoes. I’ve been procrastinating. We’re probably going to get some plain-ol’ home-depot variety ones, in addition to about five varieties of heirlooms. It gets so hot here, though, that they frequently die of heat.
    .-= Christine´s last blog ..Try again? =-.

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  5. megan on February 25, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Unfortunately, my list just keeps growing and growing. I think I’m at 33 right now, but there are still several that I would like to add to that. I’m running out of room for everything else!
    .-= megan´s last blog ..Worm Eggs =-.

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  6. Dave on February 25, 2010 at 9:38 am

    I’m a huge fan of the Brandywine! It’s taste for slicing and eating out of the garden is very good. The San Marzano are new to my garden this year. I’m putting more emphasis on canning tomatoes. I’ve added several new heirlooms like Woodle Orange, Chico, and Black Krim. I hope I have the space!
    .-= Dave´s last blog ..A Few Gardening Tips =-.

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  7. Caroline on February 25, 2010 at 10:11 am

    I’m really impressed that you’re growing 25 varieties. How many plants to you grow of each?

    This is my first year growing heirlooms, and I’m starting small: Brandywine, Big Rainbow Striped, and Aunt Ruby’s German Green. Plus, I’m sure the cherry tomatoes that dropped at the end of the season will make an appearance…I can’t even remember what kind they are.
    .-= Caroline´s last blog ..Food for Thought =-.

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    • Susy on February 25, 2010 at 11:00 am

      Last year I grew 2 plants of each, some of them I had 6 plants of. I have a small garden so I have many of them in pots (I think 8 on the front porch) and 4 in the back. The rest were in the raised beds in the back garden.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. Melissa on February 25, 2010 at 10:23 am

    YAY! I love, love, love tomatoes. I’ll be growing about 8 different varieties this years. Cherokee Purple, Pink Brandywine, Gold Medal, Green Zebra, Homestead, and Rose ( an old amish variety said to rival Brandywine). I’ll add a couple to the list over the next week or so. I’m drooling over ‘The Heirloom Tomato’ as well. It’s at the top of my wish list. I’m glad you did this post. It reminds me that I REALLY need to start my seedlings!

    We had a little snow in Alabama again yesterday. It was really strange after our beautiful 65 degree weather this weekend.This is our 4th (or was it 6th?) coldest winter on record. I saw on TWC that there is a blizzard brewing up around you guys. Hang in there! : ) Melissa
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Melissa’s (Made from Scratch) Pumpkin Pie =-.

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  9. Miranda on February 25, 2010 at 10:38 am

    My garden is sadly quite small, and last year i started to run into disease problems. So this year i’ll be focusing on corn, beans, cukes, and winter squash. But i can’t just NOT grow tomatoes!
    Last year my faves were the brandywine and cherokee purple, but brandywines are too stingy. I think this year i’d like to try something new – perhaps a porter improved or homestead. I tried all heirlooms last year, and the intense Texas weather was a bit too much for them, especially since i can’t afford shade cloth. I may try and expand into some containers to just wing it this year – wish me luck!
    .-= Miranda´s last blog ..Pita Pizza Recipe, Revisited =-.

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    • Susy on February 25, 2010 at 10:57 am

      I have good luck growing tomatoes in pots. My garden is also very small (about 200 sq ft) and shady, so tomatoes do will in pots on my front porch where they get more afternoon sun.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  10. David on February 25, 2010 at 11:07 am

    I have a tender spot in my heart for Black Russian tomatoes. This year I am growing a number of Siberian tomatoes such as Shasha’s Altai. I was very happy with all the Russian tomatoes last year. I am trying some new tomatoes (new to me) such as Cherokee purple and Arkansas Traveler.
    I am also growing Silvery Fir Tree and Sub-Artic. I have to say that I am becoming addicted to growing tomatoes. Thanks for the link to the book, I sure will give it a look.
    .-= David´s last blog ..Stuff =-.

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  11. Daedre on February 25, 2010 at 11:17 am

    I’m definitely upgrading my tomato list from last year. Last year I grew 8 varieties, 24 plants total, and this year I’m planning at least 15 varieties and maybe more like 34 plants total. Tomatoes definitely dominate my garden space.

    This year I’m growing: best boy and early girl (my only two hybrid tomatoes), gold rush currant, yellow pear, matt’s wild cherry, black krim, prudens purple (my favorite), green zebra, tigerella, taxi, peach blow sutton, anna russian, kellogg’s breakfast, polish linguisa, and martino’s roma.

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  12. Kelly on February 25, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Since I didn’t get *any* tomatoes last year (blight), I’ll be doing all the same varieties: Amish Paste, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Dad’s Sunset, Reisentraube – all heirloom; and Pineapple, Margherita, and Sweet Baby – all hybrids. Hopefully a drier summer and some red plastic “mulch” will keep the blight from my nightshades!
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Bread =-.

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  13. Sue on February 25, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    My very favorite tomato ever is Black Cherry. Well worth trying. I have converted many people! I am growing at least 10 varieties of tomatoes this year. Many of them will be in pots, as I don’t have much space. I’m also planting 10 varieties of potatoes, which will be in 5 gallon buckets lining my driveway.

    As far as buying tomato plants from Home Depot: I do hope you rethink that. That is where the blight came from last summer that devastated the Northeast.

    Reply to Sue's comment

  14. susie on February 25, 2010 at 1:01 pm


    i’m in love with tomatoes, tried to grow my own for the first time last year + it was a total failure! i’m gearing up for the coming spring + would love any + all advice on what i should try. i’m a new but passionate urban gardener. and while i find tons of eye candy + tips online, they tend to all be written for US audiences (i’m american but live in wet + cool Ireland). i have a non-existant back garden, really just a concrete square out the back door that i have filled with mismatched pots + containers. south/west-facing so decent afternoon sun, but cool summers + rain more often than not. any varieties you experienced folks would recommend? i love the sound of heirloom varieties but i’d be happy with any type of tomato that actually survives my garden!
    i might be getting a small greenhouse for seedlings etc (my garden plans this year are a lot more ambitious than my two windowsills can handle) + possible getting a small raised bed for veggies, but for now it’s all containers for me.

    any tips?

    (btw, the ones i tried last year were moneymakers. no such luck! used a tomato “food” i bought in the garden shop… plus a lot of love. maybe i need a specific type of organic fertilizer/soil improver for toms?)

    lastly, i love your blog! very inspiring.
    x susie
    .-= susie´s last blog ..dispatches from the concrete patch =-.

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  15. the inadvertent farmer on February 25, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    You and I have the same canning tomato! I narrowed my list to 12 kinds last year. I am trying to grow more heirlooms and multi-purpose tomatoes. I just started 72 yesterday…next is to try to find room for all of them, lol!
    .-= the inadvertent farmer´s last blog ..LIttle House on the Prairie Dress home Sew =-.

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    • Susy on February 25, 2010 at 1:55 pm

      I know what you mean – that’s why I’m growing fewer this year and starting them a little later. I’m planning on growing sub-arctic and those will be started this week or next, along with a few peppers and some cabbage/broccoli and some lettuces.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  16. Morgan G on February 25, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Any suggestions on the best tomatoes to grow for sun-drying? That’s my favorite way to eat tomatoes. Sadly, fresh ones are too acid for my weak stomach. : (
    .-= Morgan G´s last blog ..Guest-bloggin’ at Inspired Design Daily: Healthy Home, Happy Home =-.

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    • Susy on February 25, 2010 at 2:21 pm

      I would definitely go with Principe Borghese. These are fantastic little tomatoes that dry quickly and have a wonderful flavor when dried. I dried tons of these last summer and we’ve been enjoying them in everything. I will never not have these in my garden for drying!

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Sarah on February 25, 2010 at 5:17 pm

        I’m sure you have this posted somewhere but with my 4yr old in tow I’m limited with time :( How do you dry & store the dry tomatoes? I love the idea of this small tomato as my Mother’s maiden/family name is Principe :)
        .-= Sarah´s last blog ..My Seedlings =-.

        to Sarah's comment

      • Morgan G on February 26, 2010 at 1:06 pm

        Thanks Susy! I added the Borghese to my seed order form last night and it’s in the mail today! This will be my first time growing tomatoes to dry. Thanks for your advice.
        .-= Morgan G´s last blog ..Guest-bloggin’ at Inspired Design Daily: Healthy Home, Happy Home =-.

        to Morgan G's comment

    • Susy on February 25, 2010 at 5:33 pm

      I simple cut them in half and dry in my oven, set on 100. You could us a dehydrator as well or dry in the sun covered with cheesecloth or insect screen to keep bugs off. Dry till leathery and nicely dried (if too much moisture remains they may mold) drying time varies by method used, humidity and how juicy the tomatoes are. Check after a few hours and keep checking till finished. I like to store mine either in the freezer or in the fridge in a big half gallon mason jar. These are small enough to simply scatter on pizza whole or in an omelette. You can chop as well if you like smaller pieces, but I love them whole.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  17. Julie on February 25, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Thanks for the tomato list. I’m going to try to find the Amish Orange. We like the San Marzano too- seem to be fungal resistant for us, compared to the romas.

    What are your thoughts on the sub-arctic? We grew 4th of July last year, trying to get an early tomato, but the weather (just a bit west of your here in Ohio) was so cool that it slowed them down and they weren’t real tasty. I’m thinking of ways that I could increase the warmth around them should we get another cool season.

    I have smelled and seen skunk for 4 days in a row now, usually my personal folklore sign that the deep winter has ended. I’m so sick of winter and eager to garden that I’ve probably talked myself into having an early spring.

    Are you going to use your hoop houses to get an early start?

    YardFarmer Julie

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    • Susy on February 25, 2010 at 3:17 pm

      I do love the Sub-Arctic, they produce nicely here in NE Ohio, especially last summer when it never got super warm. These are small compact plants (all of mine were in containers) and they produced all summer long.

      I do hope to use my hoop houses to plant early peas and to protect them from deer.

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • MAYBELLINE on February 25, 2010 at 4:27 pm

      Good Lord! The smell of skunk signals Spring to you?! I’ll keep the scent of lilacs and citrus blossoms.
      .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..Lilacs! =-.

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  18. nic @ nipitinthebud on February 25, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    It’s funny you ask that as I was looking up blight resistant tomato seeds only a few moments ago. I lost all 45 tomato plants last year and the wet British summers always make tomato growing a really hit and miss affair. I think I’m going to have to chance ordinary seed again though as £3.40 for 6 seeds (no not a typo, that’s 6 seeds) is just not financially viable.

    Reply to nic @ nipitinthebud's comment

  19. MAYBELLINE on February 25, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Here’s what I’ve order so far:
    Arkansas Traveler
    Mule Team

    I’m looking for a grape tomato to grow in baskets. Any suggests are welcome.

    How do you support your vines?
    I’m thinking of “stringing” my tomatoes this year. Previous years I’ve used cages.
    .-= MAYBELLINE´s last blog ..Lilacs! =-.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  20. Sarah on February 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    I’m going to try my best with a handful of beefsteak varieties! giant belgium, brandywine (both 1sts for me) kelloggs breakfast, think I really want to try the cherokee purple (beefsteak?) it sounds very popular! Also black cherry, san marzano (both 1sts as well) I think I’m now too late to do anything in seed now – so I have to figure where locally I can purchase heirloom plants or order online (ideas) I’m in East Bay, CA. How many tomatoes would you plant in a 12ftL by 4.5w bed? Thanks!
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..My Seedlings =-.

    Reply to Sarah's comment

    • Susy on February 25, 2010 at 5:35 pm

      I like to plant my tomatoes a little closer and prune to one main stem (I usually plant one per 18″ square.

      If you don’t want to prune your tomatoes I’d plant 2 plants wide in the raised bed and probably 8 lengthwise (that would give each one a good amount of space). At the base of the tomatoes you can use this space to plant basil, marigolds and other beneficial plants and some lettuce.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  21. Toña on February 25, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    We live in Oregon – Willamette Valley – and will forever more grow: Amish Paste, Black Prince, Muskovich, Copia and Sungold (cherries). We will continue to experiment with others for fun, but the above are reliably fantastic for us here. We grow about 30 tomato plants in our garden every year. We start many from seed and have found that it is to no advantage to start them so early. We’ll wait another month to set up our seedling station. I am soooo excited from spring!

    Reply to Toña's comment

    • Susy on February 25, 2010 at 6:56 pm

      I’ve heard sungold are delicious. I may put those on my list of tomatoes I want to try.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  22. Tommy on February 25, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    I have a question for you—-last year was my first year gardening, and the crop of (especially) tomatoes was unbelievable. A lot of canning, salads, etc.
    So my question is, how long can I use leftover seeds for? I had a bunch leftover from last year that just didn’t make it into the ground, because of space constraints. My garden is only 21 x 21, and every inch is utilized….last year I planted too many plants, but still got incredible yields.

    Reply to Tommy's comment

    • Susy on February 26, 2010 at 1:36 am

      Tomato seeds are viable for about 5-7 years (sometimes longer). Certain seeds, like beans & peas and onions don’t remain viable but for a season. You may have slightly less germination with your tomatoes the older the seeds are, but I’ve had some seeds for 4 years and they still germinate well.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  23. kristin @ going country on February 25, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Nothing new this year. I’ll just be happy if I can actually harvest them, instead of watching them slowly die of blight.

    Modest hopes this year.
    .-= kristin @ going country´s last blog ..The Harbingers =-.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

    • Susy on February 26, 2010 at 1:37 am

      I know, so sorry for all those that lost their tomatoes to the blight. Many people around here did as well. I guess living in a neighborhood with no other gardeners and being surrounded by woods helped save my tomatoes.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  24. lo on February 25, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Oh, I’m in complete and utter agreement with you about the Principe Borghese. Best little tomato out there, and just perfect for drying. I discovered them last year, quite by accident, and hope to always have them in my garden.

    Also grew Hillbilly Potato Leaf tomatoes last year. Ugly. Ugly. Ugly, as tomatoes go. But, they taste fantastic. Will definitely be trying those again.

    We had a pretty bad tomato year last year. Weather was really too cool for them to do well. So, I’m hoping we get a better season this year.
    .-= lo´s last blog ..Exciting News for the Burp! Blog =-.

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  25. Sylvie on February 26, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    It’s so hard to narrow down the choices, isn’t it, with so many great tomatoes around. I always try a few new ones every year. This year, I am going for more non-red tomatoes, and more cherry. Last year Cherokee purple was probably my favorite for fresh eatin, . Amish Paste for sauce and San Marzano for confit.

    (I only planted 144 tomato plants so far)
    .-= Sylvie´s last blog ..A Gross Of Tomatoes =-.

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  26. uberVU - social comments on February 26, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by chiotsrun: Planning My 2010 #Tomato List #edible #seed #tomatoes…

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  27. Chris Maciel on February 27, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    I want to put in a good work for the cherry tomato ‘Sungold’. It is very healthy, very productive, and starts fruiting early. Did I say it is good tasting? Absolutely!
    I want to peruse your list as I make up my list.
    Last year was very bad for growing tomatoes so we have to make an exception.
    I once judged a tomato tasting contest and the winner was one called ‘Old German’, an heirloom with terrific tomato flavor, acidic but also sweet, melt in your mouth. I grow one called ‘Striped German’ which is also good.
    Yes, my garden is very limited so I sweat over every tomato I choose. I will try growing some in pots, too.

    Reply to Chris Maciel's comment

    • Susy on February 27, 2010 at 10:12 pm

      I’ve heard ‘Sungold’ is good. I’ll have to make sure to put them on my wish list.

      I did just get ‘Silvery Fir Tree’, I’m sure excited about those. Bought extra seed so I can give some away here.

      I know what you mean about a small garden and sweating over choices. I have such limited space, if I had space I’d grow 50 different kinds each year, if anything just to get to taste them and see what they looked like.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  28. Helen on October 2, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Principe Borghese are wonderful aren’t they? I’ve grown them for the first time this year and they’re delicious. I haven’t tried drying them yet, so I will definitely do that – thanks for the tip.

    Reply to Helen's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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