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Old 04-02-2006, 12:59 PM   #1
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Tomatoes

When choosing tomato plants for a garden what should I be looking for? I want tomatoes full of flavor. What kind of plants (name) do you buy?

I really like the acidic flavor of a big juicy tomato but with so many different varieties which ones should I grow. I also love sitting down with a bowl of cherry tomatoes and a salt shaker. I love the burst of juice after you pop them in your mouth and take that first bite. I'm not a huge fan of the grape tomatoes. I just haven't had any that are very flavorful. They don't seem to have very much acidity to me.

Are plum tomatoes the best for marinara sauces?

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Old 04-02-2006, 01:20 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SizzlininIN
When choosing tomato plants for a garden what should I be looking for? I want tomatoes full of flavor. What kind of plants (name) do you buy?

I really like the acidic flavor of a big juicy tomato but with so many different varieties which ones should I grow. I also love sitting down with a bowl of cherry tomatoes and a salt shaker. I love the burst of juice after you pop them in your mouth and take that first bite. I'm not a huge fan of the grape tomatoes. I just haven't had any that are very flavorful. They don't seem to have very much acidity to me.

Are plum tomatoes the best for marinara sauces?
For smaller tomatoes, you should try pear or teardrop tomatoes. They have more flavor than either cherry or grape tomatoes.

Plum tomatoes are best for tomato sauce because they don't have as much juice as other tomatoes when heat is applied.

Heirloom tomatoes would also be a nice addition. The best thing to do is to go to a farmer's market, buy a variety of tomatoes, and try them all.
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Old 04-02-2006, 01:24 PM   #3
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Thanks Iron. I plan on planting my own garden this year and was wanting to grow my own tomatoes but I wasn't sure what variety of tomato to buy.....Heirloom, Big Boy, etc.....

I guess what I'm worried about is I've know people that just went to the plant store and pick up tomato plants and they were disappointed with the flavor of the tomato.

But I will take your advice and still go to the farmers market and try others and ask the farmers what variety they are.
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Old 04-02-2006, 05:08 PM   #4
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You may want to go to a real garden center and ask the staff for recommendations for what you want. I plant my own from seed so what I will recommend may not be commercially available. I grow Red Agate for a large canning sauce tomato, and Pink Beauty and Dafel for eating and juice tomatoes. Or pick up a seed catalog and read the descriptions of the various cultivars to get an idea of the characterists of different tomatoes. I go for flavor in what I grow and recommended.
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Old 04-02-2006, 05:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bethzaring
You may want to go to a real garden center and ask the staff for recommendations for what you want. I plant my own from seed so what I will recommend may not be commercially available. I grow Red Agate for a large canning sauce tomato, and Pink Beauty and Dafel for eating and juice tomatoes. Or pick up a seed catalog and read the descriptions of the various cultivars to get an idea of the characterists of different tomatoes. I go for flavor in what I grow and recommended.
thanks for the advice I'll do that.
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Old 04-02-2006, 05:35 PM   #6
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ask Constance
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Old 04-02-2006, 06:32 PM   #7
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Constance here.
For cherry tomatoes, you can't beat Sweet 100. They're a pain in the butt to pick, mainly because you'll eat as many as you pick, but they are so sweet. One plant will give you plenty. It's an indeterminate plant, which means it will bear a long time, but the plant will need support. One plant is probably all you'll need. These are also good for oven-drying.

Roma is the standard for canning, roasting and making sauce. It's also one of the most dependable. Even in a bad year, you can count on it to produce. There are some new hybrid Romas on the market now that are larger. I usually plant 4 of these. If you are canning, you could double the amount.

I have several favorite slicing tomatoes. The absolute best-tasting tomato I've ever had is the Brandywine, an old heirloom. A bite of a Brandywine, still warm from the garden, must be a lot like heaven. But they are late, have no disease resistance, and only bear a short time. I wouldn't plant more than one.
Burpee's Big Beef, Park's Whopper, and Supersonic are dependable slicers. All have great flavor, disease resistance, nice size and smooth skin.

For a pink tomato, I'd recommend German pink or Burpee Pink Girl.
If you want a yellow one, the old-fashioned Golden Jubilee is still the best choice.
Georgia Streak is a wonderfully sweet, pink and gold beefsteak type that I recommend growing if you have the extra space.

All of these tomatoes require staking, except for Roma, and even those will benefit. The best way to do this is to get 5' wide concrete re-inforcement wire from your lumberyard...they will probably even cut it into the lengths you need. This type of wire has big enough spaces between wires to stick your hand through and pick the tomatoes.
The cages need to be about 3 ft. in diameter...sorry, don't know what the circumference would be.
With your wire cutters, cut free the horizontal wire on the bottom row, leaving the vertical wires to stick into the ground. On the side where you have free horizontal wires sticking out, use pliars to fasten those wires to the other side, forming a circular cage.
While these cages do take room to store (actually, we just leave ours in the ground till spring), they last for years, and are just the right size. Those little wire cages you find at the discount stores aren't good for much of anything.. they won't even do a decent job of supporting pepper plants.
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Old 04-02-2006, 07:18 PM   #8
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Oh thank you so much Constance! I've seen the Burpee seeds at the store and will look for the others there also or in a seed catalog. Do you start your seeds indoors or plant them directly? I'm a zone 5-6.
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Old 04-02-2006, 07:43 PM   #9
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We go to the nursery and buy a variety.

Some years a few varities will do well and others will not.

Love the little pear tomatoes, as Iron said, although we call them shmoo tomatoes (rest in peace Al Capp).

We have a small raised garden, so we can only plant a few.

And we have to be very careful that the varieties are resistant to tobacco mosaic virus.

Think the people who used to own our house put out the ciggies in the garden.

One year one type of plant will do well, and not the next.

So we just do our best and enjoy what we get.

Good luck.
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Old 05-20-2006, 10:06 AM   #10
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We like 'Gardeners Delight' for a cherry tomato and 'Plum Roma' is excellent for curries and sauces.
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Old 05-20-2006, 10:51 AM   #11
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Sizz, it's really getting too late in the season to start seeds, even in Indiana! I'd go to a garden center, and see what they have. Find out what's best for your area, as not all tomatoes do well in different parts of the country, even tho you may see them in 'national' catalogs.

Did anyone mention 'Sweet 100' or 'Sweet Million' for cherry tomatoes? They're awesome - you just want to eat them like candy!

For heirlooms, I love the Cherokee Purple; for big beefy ones, Burpee Big Boy is great. Try some of the little yellow pears, too; they look so pretty on salads, an d boy are they profilic!

Happy growing!

PS - I have 'maters already on the vine!
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Old 05-20-2006, 11:06 AM   #12
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sizz, i put in roughly the same types of tomatoes every year. i don't have time now to start my own from seeds anymore, so i go to a small mom and pop garden center to buy mine now. i've found the plants from the big garden centers are often infested with all kinds of bugs and diseases in certain years, so i've had better luck with smaller privately owned nursuries.
when selecting plants, look for ones with thicker stems and darker green leaves. try to avoid any that are yellowing, or are already flowering and are overly pot bound. this gets harder to do the longer you wait in the season, but if that's all you have to choose from, then it'll do.

this year i put in 6 romas (for sauce), 4 grapes (just raw, for salads if they make it that far), 6 celebrity and 4 early girls (small to medium round fruits that are early producers, all around use), and 4 burpee big boys (for slicing).

i've grown heirlooms such as brandywines, but they definitely produced fewer fruits, and were more susceptible to too much or too little rain/watering and diseases. still, it's a cool looking and very tasty tomato.

ic, i've grown both yellow and red pear tomatoes, and while they're good eatin' and make an especially nice presentation when mixed, i think grape or supersweets, or sweet 100's have a better and sweeter flavor.
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Old 05-20-2006, 12:07 PM   #13
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I love Sweet 100's as the cherry tomato in my garden. So does my little dog, who goes over and picks a few of his own for a snack! Fortunately, the plant produces hundreds, just as they say it will, so there are plenty for all.

I also agree that Brandywine is a nice flavored tomato. I usually stick to the Big Boys and Supersonics or Super Fantastics for my regular red slicing tomato. They are reliable and produce enough fruit for me.

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Old 05-20-2006, 12:48 PM   #14
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I finally got my tomatoes put out, now that blackberry winter is over. We have 4 Supersonics and 4 Romas. That will be more than enough for the two of us, if they do any good. I also put out 4 red sweet pepper plants. If I need some green ones, I can always pick them before they are ripe.
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Old 05-20-2006, 02:25 PM   #15
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Question.....
DH insists on putting 2 Early Girls in 1 wine barrel half. I don't think there is enough room. It measures 22" across from the inside. What do you think??
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Old 05-21-2006, 03:31 AM   #16
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I hope you have as much success as I did this past summer Down Under. I bought six rather spindly looking cherry tomato plants from the local market, put one in a pot and the others in the garden. They ended up growing about six feet tall and attaching themselves to the wire grid on the wall that I was hoping the beans would grow up. Never did see a bean but I was picking a bowl of cherry tomatoes nearly every day for 2-3 months. The one in the pot didn't grow as profusely. But they were all sweet and full of flavour.
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Old 05-21-2006, 10:54 AM   #17
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WOW!! Great information, you guys! I plant lots of tomatoes each year ~ mostly Roma for sauce, but lots of other varieties for eating. I like to try different tastes, sizes, etc. Some I grow from seed, others I purchase from the local nursery. I agree with everyone about "Sweet 100s". They are great and sooooooo many!! Just make sure the tomatoes you start are suited to your particular area. I just happened to find the garden website listed below. If you have a chance, you may want to check it out. It is set up exactly like this site and easy to navigate. Enjoy your tomatoes!

GardenGuides Forums -
http://www.gardenguides.com/forum/index.php

(Last year some of my tomatoes had blossom end rot which is a dark soft spot on the bottom of the tomato. I checked with the site above and was told to use more calcium in the soil. Eggshells were recommended. So instead of dumping all my eggshells into my compost pile, I saved them, crushed them, and will put a handful with each plant. We'll see if this works!?)
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Old 07-25-2006, 10:30 PM   #18
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I usually plant roma tomatoes but this year they labeled them wrong and got cherry instead. Only four plants but they are still growing months later. They seem to reseed very easy guess the birds drop the seeds around. Have some growing under the palm trees holding up pretty good with the summer heat. Froze the roma tomatoes that I grew last year whole. Came in handy for salads just chipping the frozen tomatoes and adding to salads.
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