This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he always thought the garden was his. Even though I do all the work, he always stood by me. I'm located near Boston (in USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot and a backyard vegetable garden. I use sustainable organic methods and try to grow all of my family's vegetables.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

tomato seeds

These are the tomato varieties I'm growing this year. I haven't grown tomatoes from seed for many years. By growing my own, I'm looking forward to having more unusual varieties. I have ten varieties so far. They should be planted indoors around April 5th.


Brandywine: One of the best-tasting tomatoes. Brandywine's luscious flavor is "very rich, loud, and distinctively spicy." The large fruits, often over 1 lb., have deep pink skin and smooth red flesh. 78 days.

Cherokee Purple: Unusual variety with full flavor. Pre-1890 Tennessee heirloom is reportedly of Cherokee Indian origin. Ripens to a unique dark, dusky pink/purple. Sometimes called a 'black' tomato, the color carries though to the flesh, especially at the stem end. Relatively short vines. 72-85 days.

Giant Belgium: Huge pink, somewhat Beefsteak type fruits. Plant produces good yields of 2 lb to 5 lb dark pink beefsteak tomatoes. Tomatoes are very sweet, meaty, and turn dark pink when mature. A low acidity tomato that is excellent for salads, sandwiches, and canning. So huge you only need one slice per sandwich. An heirloom variety from Ohio. 85 days.

Oxheart Red: An old-fashioned favorite with heart-shaped pink fruit that weigh up to 1 pound. Beautiful big, oval, pointed fruit with a fine sweet old time flavor! The meaty fruit have few seeds. Wonderful for sauces and cooking. 80 days.

Purple Calabash: Unusual heirloom. Oblate, very wrinkled, dark pink-purple flattened, with 3 to 4 oz. fruit. The ribbed, bulbous, and scarred Purple Calabash tomato dates back to pre-Columbian Mexico. The Aztecs combined this "xitomatl" with hot peppers and ground squash seeds to make a salsa that would accompany fish and meat. The flavor of the Purple Calabash is rich and concentrated like a slowly simmered sauce. Fantastic fresh, this tomato shines in sauces and pastes. 75-90 days.

San Marzano: 3 to 6 oz. paste type. The perfect start to the perfect pizza. Tall vines produce heavy yields of long, cylindrical fruit a week earlier than other San Marzano varieties. Delicious, balanced acidic flavor, and meaty flesh. 78 days.


Big Beef: Nice combination of size, taste, and earliness. Full-flavored, globe-shaped fruits ripen early for their size. 1994 All-America Selections winner. 70 days.

New Girl: First early, great taste. Better tasting and more disease resistant than Early Girl. Holds better than First Lady II. Widely adapted. 62 days.

Orange Blossom: The best early orange tomato. Medium-firm, globe-shaped fruits average 6-7 oz., have a nice texture, and are mildly flavored, balanced with a little acidity. Developed by Dr. Brent Loy, Univ. of New Hampshire. Determinate. 60 days.

Pink Beauty: Perfect, pink, medium-size, 6-8 oz., flattened globes have full, rich tomato flavor. One of the best tasting tomatoes in trials. Healthy plants produce firm, blemish-free fruit. 74 days.

Solanum lycopersicum


Blogger Meg said...

Yum. I think from January to June or July I have one giant nonstop craving for a fresh tomato. Those Orange Blossom tomatoes sound interesting. If you remember in five months or so, give us a review!

February 09, 2008 6:09 PM

Blogger carletongardener said...

Back in midsummer, I taste tested several varieties and one of the best was Orange Blossom. It also looks very pretty on a plate with other tomatoes. I'm a bit cautious to learn that it is determinant. I'll have to remember not to pull off the suckers. I'm looking forward to posting another tomato taste test this summer.

February 09, 2008 8:27 PM

Anonymous Patrick said...

Is Giant Belgium really from Ohio? I wonder how it got it's name.

February 10, 2008 5:53 AM

Blogger carletongardener said...

The most complete description for the Giant Belgium tomato that I can find is at Roguelands Heirloom Vegetable Seeds Company (UK).

"According to one source, the Giant Belgian Tomato was first discovered by a German immigrant named Albert Behnke who entered the nursery business at Beltsville, Maryland in the 1930's. Through Behnke, this tomato of an undocumented origin soon spread like a wildfire throughout the Eastern United States in the 1950's, with many of Behnke's customers driving for many hours to pick up their Giant Belgian Tomato plants. Reportedly, from here, the tomato also found its way into the catalogue of Gleckler's Seed Co. of Ohio in the 1950's, but there seems to be debate as to whether it was Behnke or Gleckler who had the variety first.

Giant Belgian is an exceptional producer of huge, dark pink tomatoes that feature an exquisite sweet taste. The tomatoes are very large, averaging 1.5 to 2 pounds, with some sources also reporting tomatoes of this variety from 3 to 5 pounds on rare occasions. Giant Belgian is one of our largest tomato varieties and one of our most recommended. Indeterminate. Matures in about 80-90 days."

But no mention of why the name.

February 10, 2008 10:14 AM

Blogger Meg said...

Ah! Boy, judging by the photo on your taste test post, you're going to have a good looking array of tomatoes.

February 10, 2008 11:49 AM

Blogger Harmony said...

Yum... those all look wonderful! I wish we had enough room to try out so many varieties!

I'm a bit in shock at the differences in our climates, though. All of my tomatoes seeds (only 4 varieties) have already been sown, and I'm looking to transplant them outdoors in mid-April. I keep thinking you must be somewhere up in the arctic, having to plant that late. ;-)

February 10, 2008 4:39 PM

Blogger carletongardener said...

Gee that's really mean to suggest that I'm in the artic! Though it seems like it this week. Very cold and snowy and windy here. BBrrr. I want to go SOUTH!!!

February 10, 2008 10:19 PM

Blogger Eco Reading said...

Love your site...can't wait to be a regular reader. I featured your blog on my blog!

Just thinking about tomatoes on this cold, cold day makes me long for summer.

February 11, 2008 11:56 AM

Anonymous Janet said...

I am definitely ready for tomatoes! I usually grow the Cherokee Purples and I like those very much. I tried San Marzano last year and they were delicious, but I had problems with black spots on the blossom end, only with that variety.

For the record, my favs are Mr Stripey, a huge orange striped tomato (my plants are typically about 7 feet!); Green Zebra; and Sweet 100, which to me is the best, best cherry tomato ever!

I started clearing my beds where I want my peas to go in and had intentions of planting some, but it plunged to the teens on Sunday with strong winds. I didn't want to be out there, so I will look to do it this weekend.

Janet in Chincoteague, VA

February 12, 2008 9:57 AM

Blogger carletongardener said...

Thanks for the feature, eco reading. Nice blog!

Its exciting to hear that VA gardeners are thinking about putting in the peas soon! We have been having the same wind and frigid cold. But spring approaches. I'm hoping to put in my peas March 20, depending on the weather.

Have fun planting!

February 12, 2008 10:36 AM

Blogger Matron said...

I have looked through seed catalogues in the USA and there are only a few varieties that I recognize. Cross breeding and hybrid varieties must be fairly local to an area. I do recognise Brandywine though. I have a new variety of supersteak tomato this year, hoping to grow a whopper! looking forward to seeing yours as well.

February 12, 2008 3:25 PM

Anonymous Janet said...

With regard to Harmony's comment that they can plant their tomatoes in mid-April, I have done that too, in VA -- depending upon the weather. Typically, I wait until early May.

On another note, I have a cousin who lives on Bow St. or Rd. in Belmont, MA. Is that close to you?

February 12, 2008 4:01 PM

Blogger carletongardener said...

Its Bow Road and yes, that's really close to me!

February 12, 2008 10:46 PM

Anonymous Janet from Chincoteague said...

I know it would be a long shot if it turned out that you knew them, but for the record, my cousin is Mike Thomas and his wife is Sharon; kids Molly & Jenna, & dog Rudy.

February 13, 2008 8:49 AM

Blogger carletongardener said...

No. I don;t know them. But if I run into them I'll say HI. I'm most likely to run into Rudy. I often stop and talk with neighborhood dog walkers when Skippy and I are out for a walk.

February 13, 2008 11:34 AM

Blogger Central FLA Gardener said...

with those cherokee -- pick them very early, when shoulders are still green and tops are just browning/purpling. otherwise they're mushy. but if you pick them firm, they are very tasty tomatoes.

February 14, 2008 6:42 PM

Blogger carletongardener said...

Thanks. I'll remember that. I don't like a mushy tomato!

February 16, 2008 8:28 PM


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