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April 19th, 2014

Last weekend I started my tomato seeds. I’m doing this a few weeks later than I usually do, but spring has been long in coming.
tomatoes 3
tomatoes 1
I’m growing a few new varieties this year, the ‘Beaverlodge’ types from Territorial. They are supposed to start producing at 55 days – we shall see if I’m harvesting fruit in late June. The best part about this variety is that if it does well it should be producing fruit for canning before late blight arrives.
tomatoes 4
This year I’m going to try grafting a few. I purchased the grafting seeds and am hoping to get enough rootstock to graft one of each of the heirloom varieties that I’m growing. I’ll plant them side by side with their non-grafted counterpart and look for any differences is disease resistance, growth rates and fruit production.
tomatoes 2
I’m most excited about my favorite tomato ‘Principe Borghese’. This beauty is the perfect tomato, small, delicious and a prolific producer. I love that it can easy be dried and tastes just like sun dried tomatoes. It also roasts up perfectly for my roasted tomato passata.

What’s your favorite tomato?

20 Comments to “Tomatoes”
  1. daisy on April 19, 2014 at 5:47 am

    As a beginning gardener, this is the first season that I’ve attempted tomatoes. I’m growing “Old Virginia” and “San Marzano”, which is a Roma for making gravy. So far, my plants are about shin-high and doing well.
    I hope you’ll feature your grafting experience. It’s great to learn new gardening techniques. Enjoy!

    Reply to daisy's comment

  2. Kay on April 19, 2014 at 5:52 am

    My favorite tomato is the Pineapple tomato. It is so sweet and meaty. I believe it is part of the beefsteak family. It is a beautiful tomato to look at as well.

    Reply to Kay's comment

  3. Kathi Cook on April 19, 2014 at 7:28 am

    Yellow Brandywine always produces well for me and taste delicious!

    Reply to Kathi Cook's comment

  4. Kathi Cook on April 19, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Curious to see how your tomato experiment comes out. Last year I bought 2 plants that were grafted heirlooms and put them next to the same variety of true heirlooms and the grafted did no better for me. I was going to graft my own if they turned out better.

    Reply to Kathi Cook's comment

    • Trish on April 19, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      I didn’t have any luck with grafted tomatoes either, and they were expensive!

      Reply to Trish's comment

  5. Nebraska Dave on April 19, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Susy, my favorite tomato is the one that’s on my bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. :-) Seriously, I used to like Rutgers but they are an unruly tomato plant that just takes over everything. Last year I grew Beefsteak which I really like. I think that’s my new favorite.

    I think you are right about the late spring this year. My crocus didn’t even bloom this year. The Daffodils are putting on the best show ever with the tulips back stage budding up getting ready for their act to begin.

    The onions made it through the last polar weather and the cabbages are doing great. I noticed that the radishes and lettuce that I planted three weeks ago finally decided to make an appearance. I knew it would take awhile when I planted them as the soil temp was a chilly 45 which is the bottom end for germination for those seeds.

    Have a great pre Easter day.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  6. Sara on April 19, 2014 at 9:23 am

    I started growing the principes because of your recommendation. They are great–but mine are indeterminate, isn’t that strange? I gave some to a friend and they were surprised. I believe mine are from botanical interest seeds. I also love black plums, they are a good multi-purpose fruit–I use them for sauce, roasting, drying, and fresh eating.

    Reply to Sara's comment

  7. Nita on April 19, 2014 at 10:03 am

    I’m trying a new one this year from a farmer’s market tomato – they’ve dubbed it Astiana named for the region they bought the tomato from in Italy. We’ll see how well it does in my garden, I’m hoping it’s prolific since they sell hundreds of pounds of this tomato at market.

    I’m trying Principe again this year after a brief hiatus, mine is indeterminate as well.

    Reply to Nita's comment

  8. Misti on April 19, 2014 at 10:15 am

    My favorite is Arkansas Traveler and Amazon Chocolate. We’ve got flowers on our tomatoes already, maybe we’ll have some fruit here in May.

    Reply to Misti's comment

  9. Lexa on April 19, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Susy, so great to see a touch of my “home” state – Territorial Seeds – now in Maine! I am not a huge tomato fan, but I gotten the most rave reviews that last few year for “Galina” a yellow cherry and any black tomato.

    Grafted vegetable plants have also really taken off here in Oregon thanks to the work of Alice Doyle at Log House Plants. If you haven’t already, you might want to visit her web site and read her story and success with grafted vegetables. I have grown a grafted “Black Krim” tomato plant for the last 3 years. Each year it is twice the size as a regular plant, has awesome disease resistance, but I find the fruit ripen 2-3 weeks later. I haven’t tried to grow a grafted eggplant of pepper yet..maybe this year. Happy Spring, even if it is late in arriving!

    Reply to Lexa's comment

  10. Chris on April 19, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    I have too many favorites to list for different uses but off the top of my mind, my favorite cherry tomatoe is SunGold. Sooo sweet and beautiful in salads. I love them in pasta salads! I buy Territorial Seeds to as they test in my climate here in the Pacific Northwest. Great seeds!

    Reply to Chris's comment

  11. Amy on April 19, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Brandywine Heirloom for me. They are very good even on wet or dry years. I get red ripe tomatoes all the way to Halloween here in NJ.

    Reply to Amy's comment

  12. Trish on April 19, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    I may put in a few heirlooms but the tomato that does best for me is Early Girl. I have terrible soil – I do amend, but it is still hard to replace what mother nature hasn’t given. We have such a difficult climate – it turns of very hot and dry, which is perfect for producing great tasting tomatoes, but it makes growing them tough. Bugs, blight, weeds. Heirlooms just aren’t up to it. So I typically stick to the hybrids.

    I am going to plant out my tomatoes tomorrow. I am near St. Louis. I grew up further north, and love Maine, and used to mis my northern climes, but after this last winter which was tough even down here, and late spring, I am finally coming to terms with my more southern climate.

    Reply to Trish's comment

    • Susy on April 19, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      Have you considered looking up heirlooms that come from the hotter/drier parts of the world? I know there are some from Afghanistan and other places that might do much better in your climate than some of the more popular ones. Try getting the catalog from Baker Creek.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Trish on April 19, 2014 at 11:30 pm

        good idea!! thanks!!

        to Trish's comment

  13. Ashley W on April 19, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    I love all kinds of tomatoes but one of my favorites are yellow pear tomatoes. I love them in salads and warm just picked off the vine.

    Reply to Ashley W's comment

  14. Jennifer Fisk on April 20, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    I love the Prudens Purple and the Brandywine,

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  15. amy on April 21, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Black Krim…Kellogs….German…Speckled Roman….This is a hard one….I grow several varieties and try new ones every year….Will be anxious to hear how your grafting goes.

    Reply to amy's comment

  16. MN Reid on April 21, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Cherokee Purple, Sun Gold, Purple Calabash (flat, heavily ribbed rich wine flavor, very acidic), Black Krim, Orange Russian 117 (A fruity bi-color ox heart), Dr. Wyches.

    Such a hard question to limit to one favorite!

    Reply to MN Reid's comment

  17. PennyAshevilleNC on April 22, 2014 at 8:26 am

    I direct seeded some seeds this weekend. I’m risking it with this long spring weather, but I know I can always buy starts from the market if things go wrong. I use Cherokee Purple which is perfect for our weather, and the Principies. I will also add cherry tomatoes, but want to see how things sprout first.

    Reply to PennyAshevilleNC's comment


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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