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pinksand
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Re: Tomato Failure - THIS IS MY YEAR!

I just wanted to update you all that I ended up with Big Beef because the variety at my local nursery was pretty picked over by that point and that's the only one recommended above that was available... so far I'm soooooo glad I went with this one!

Black krim has had 2 huge green tomatoes on it for probably about a month now and I'm still waiting on them to show any sign of ripenning. There were a lot more blossoms on the plant but so far no visible fruit besides the 2... which has been disappointing.

Big Beef on the other hand has one nearly ripe tomato, a couple green ones, and tons of healthy looking babies coming! The plant itself looks healthier and there are more blooms forming. I'm so glad I purchased a second plant. So far so good so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

I wonder if I've mostly gone wrong by just selecting finicky heirloom varieties (with the exception of Early Girl)?
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
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applestar
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Re: Tomato Failure - THIS IS MY YEAR!

Yeah, there are MANY heirloom varieties, but the popular/widely known ones -- and ones that are readily available as plants at big box stores and regular nurseries ... especially the larger fruited ones -- are often later maturing and stingy with production. They like longer growing season of warmth with steady, really warm nights thrown in to develop their rich flavors -- the kind that we don't get very often around here (thank goodness).

I've been down that road before, too, and now have identified some favorites that I would grow for the fabulous fruits even if the plants only give up a handful of preciousness. But I'm also finding some powerhouses that pump out quality fruits.

First step is determining the kind of tomato flavors you and your family like, then research and try growing different ones that have those flavors. It's tough because ones that perform well in one area may not do as well in another, but you do need to exercise patience and don't give up on a variety from its performance in just one season. Save seeds and try again.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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pinksand
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Re: Tomato Failure - THIS IS MY YEAR!

My Big Beef is still producing! Is that normal with the nights being as cold as they are now? Will the flavor not be able to develop fully? I brought in a few that were nearly ripe the other day because they were anticipating frost over night. They've ripened up nicely inside but I haven't eaten them yet.

I have to say, I'm completely renewed by this year's tomato experience! Besides some nasty stinkbugs eating my heirloom variety, it's been a good year. I think next year I'll do the same thing, one heirloom and a big beef, but maybe go with cherokee purple instead of black krim.
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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digitS'
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Re: Tomato Failure - THIS IS MY YEAR!

PinkSand, I appreciate your updates - like reposting the pictures of your mailbox planting :wink: .

I've grown Big Beef since the '90's. I notice no real difference between vine-ripened and those picked just as the color breaks. If they have that whitish look, that tomatoes usually have just before they turn red, they will be okay at the table in a week or so.

Thessaloniki is my longest keeper. It doesn't have a very strong flavor if it comes straight from the vine but any tomato comes up a little short if they are picked too green. Any that can last week after week won't taste much like a tomato even if they look okay after all that time off the plant.

Some people hang the entire plant with its green fruit upside down, somewhere it won't freeze. I'm curious if that helps with the flavor. They do lose flavor on the vine in the garden once temperatures drop near freezing and won't warm much during the day.

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

Vanisle_BC
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Re: Tomato Failure - THIS IS MY YEAR!

Pinksand, I had written the following before I found page 2 of the thread and understood that you had followed up on your May posts. I'll just put this up anyway before reading page 2 - hate to delete :)

How did your tomatoes fare this year? You disappeared from the thread in May. You were trying Black Krim? We grew it one year; liked the (low acid?) flavour fine but many of them were cat-faced and ugly which we didn't like.

We grow in ~16" high raised beds and the only serious troubles we've had were deer once, before we fenced, and blight once, before we put a poly roof over the bed to keep the foliage dry; and only water at ground level. By the way our tomats were in the same bed for at least 10 years and it never seemed to matter. To-matter, is that a pun?

Summer 2017 was hot and extremely dry. Most of our tomatoes suffered unusual amounts of cracking and leaf curl; and most ripened to a less-red, more pink color than normally. Flavour & yield seemed unaffected.

We lean towards sweet or low-acid types although my wife quite likes tangy ones. (But I'm the grower :)) Varieties we've grown include - all heirloom or open pollinated (we save seed), & all better tasting than anything at the grocer's:

Two determinate "cage" tomatoes (the rest are all vines)
- Latah. Determinate, early. First tomatoes every year. Smallish, taste good.
- Silvery Fir Tree. A low bush novelty with feathery foliage. Midsize fruit with good taste.

And the vines. All grow 5 feet tall and beyond:
- Ailsa Craig. Mid size, very tasty.
- Longkeeper. Larger mid size, good flavour. Stored indoors we can still be eating these in January.
- Sweetie. Small cherry, v. sweet. Prolific.
- Camp Joy, AKA CHadwick's Cherry. Golfball+ size sweet cherry.
- Principe Borghese. Paste tomato for sauce etc.

New to us this year: Both tended to crack, maybe due to the weather.
- Cherokee Purple. Large fruits, good flavor.
- Feuerwerk (Not Firework, a different variety?) Large fruits, striped appearance, good flavor.

Some we've tried but won't repeat:
- Indigo Rose. Extremely slow to mature/ripen.
- Paul Robeson. Prone to ugly shapes & cat-facing
- Black Krim. As above but more so. (We did like the taste of both these dark tomatoes)
- Gray's sweet cherry. Nice fruit but an uncontrollable, sprawling multi-armed thug! Needs a bed all to itself.

OH, and our single hybrid
- Sungold. Bright yellow small cherry; exceptionally sweet.

Brandywine is much touted but we tried it once and got big pink insipid fruit. Maybe we got mislabelled seed, or maybe it doesn't like conditions here.

How did your tomato year go?
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imafan26
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Re: Tomato Failure - THIS IS MY YEAR!

Brandywine has many cultivars while pink brandywine has better flavor it is not a great producer. Brandywine OTV (red) gave more fruit and the flavor was almost as good. I have noticed that when the tomatoes get larger the fruit numbers decline. It is doubly annoying since the birds like them too and got most of my early tomatoes even through netting and bagging.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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pinksand
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Re: Tomato Failure - THIS IS MY YEAR!

Thanks for all your responses! Vanisle_BC, that was exactly my experience with the Black Krim this year... the fruit were very ugly in shape. I'm glad to know I'm not alone in that experience. I noticed I have about 4 more Krim's coming but one of them has already been dug into my some bug, most likely the stink bugs again but I couldn't find the culprit.

My neighbors grew Cherokee purples this year and I got to help myself while they were out of town. The flavor was exactly what I'm looking for so I'm definitely hoping to have good luck with them myself next year! I really like the flavor of the Big Beef, but it's just not quite as delicious.

I measured my Big Beef this weekend and the plant has branches reaching 10' long/tall. It's out of control, but I love it!!!
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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