Tomato Advice, please!

jaleeisa(6b Oklahoma)August 9, 2008

I was reading about Kym's trip to visit with Angie and all the tomato talk got me to thinking. See, I normally stick with Beefmaster, Better Boy and Roma's. We're not really much of a tomato eating family as far as sliced tomatoes, but we do enjoy homemade tomato sauces, spaghetti sauces (garden style that I add all the stuff to and can), salsas and chow chow, but the biggest thing around here is really Fried Green Tomatoes. So, my question to all the tomatoaholics is which tomatoes do you prefer, why and what do you use them for? I'm thinking to try some new varieties next year and would appreciate any advice and guidance.

Kathy

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remy_gw

Hi Kathy,
Oh there are so many choices better than what you are growing now. If you try some, you may even like eating them fresh! Because you like to can, you should stick with large meaty types so you can use them for fried green tomatoes, fresh, and canning. I have to go to work so I will post some choices good for you later.
Remy

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 8:33AM
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jaleeisa(6b Oklahoma)

Looking forward to the advice, Remy! I'm busy collecting lots of opinions and printing them all out to keep in my garden binder. I'm making plans to expand some beds for next year, so I'll have more room to try some new things. This way I have input from people I trust as opposed to all the pretty words on the seed sites and catalogs. Then I can make some decisions and choices in time to trade for seeds for next year.

Kathy

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 9:28PM
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remy_gw

Hi Kathy,
I'm back : )
The best big tomato slicer type I can recommend is Prudens Purple(actually a pink tomato.) It is large, early for its size, and very meaty and tasty. the plants are vigorous and always productive even with uncooperative weather.
This next type I recommend is not well known, but would be great for you, an Italian Giant Red Pear. I grew the gransasso strain last year. It was a very vigorous plant. This year, I'm growing an fairly unknown heirloom from an old Italian couple in the Detroit area. The tomatoes are really huge pears! They are not ripe yet, so I have to wait on taste, but they look promising. Anyway, the large pear types are very meaty, but I think much taster than regular paste/roma types. Plus they are bigger so you can use them as a slicer.
If you want a meaty orange, I suggest Kellogg's breakfast. It is a favorite of so many people.
Heart shaped tomatoes are another good choice if you like sweet. They are also very meaty. Two popular hearts are German Red Strawberry and Anna Russian.
An actual paste I would recommend is Polish Linguisa. They are large for pastes, and I think they taste like sauce. (Some people like Opalka, but I found it just ok.)
If you want to try something on the odd side, Polish Pastel, would be a good one. They are blocky bi-color(yellow with some red) paste tomatoes. The plants are super productive and the tomatoes are very sweet.
I think that is a good list to get you going : )
Remy

    Bookmark   August 11, 2008 at 11:01PM
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jaleeisa(6b Oklahoma)

Thanks Remy! See, this is why I asked the same question in several different places! No one has mentioned ANY of the ones you listed! I've made note of these and will check into seeds/conditions/etc on them :) That Italian Giant Red Pear sound wonderful! Be sure to let me know on the taste!

Kathy

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 10:23AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

For years about all I grew was romas. I knew I could count on them for a good harvest.

Then I came across the Tomato Forum here at GW, and soon found I was researching tomato varieties often at 3AM...wanting to learn all about the approximately 10,000...yes...that is TEN THOUSAND or so varieties there are.

I know now that there will never be an inch of garden space wasted on planting any more roma tomatoes, when there are so many wonderful varieties out there to be tried. I will post more later when I have more time, on some I found to be great tomatoes.

Sue...an admitted tomatoholic

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 10:49AM
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plant-one-on-me(MI 5b)

I am new this year to heirloom tomatoes but do have a couple favorites so far and a couple I won't plant again. I have been getting a great amount of tomatoes with a nice flavor from the Cherokee Purple which I would say is like a beefsteak type tomato. I have a cherry tomato called Garten Perle that has given me tons of salad tomatoes. A nice flavored tomato I will freeze for winter use (if I don't eat them all first LOL) is New Yorker. They have a nice tomato flavor, the tomato is smaller in size and meatier than a beefsteak.

My big disappointment so far is San Marzano. It is a paste tomato but I find it lacks in flavor. Yellow Pear is prolific in cherry type tomatoes but now I am spoiled on a better tasting cherry so probably won't grow again next year...although they do look good in a salad and are SO easy...maybe.

I still have a coupe more that have either not ripened or have been eaten by the rabbits before I could get to them so still have no opinion.

Thanks Remy for the above list. I would love to try some of the varieties you mentioned. Kim

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 9:46PM
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jaleeisa(6b Oklahoma)

Excellent! More opinions and varieties! You ladies have no idea how much all this is helping me work up a list for next year! Heh, with the sound of some of them, I'm wondering if I have a chance of getting any kind of harvest if I started a couple from seed this week :)

Any input on that?

Kathy

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 10:16PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

I'm wondering if I have a chance of getting any kind of harvest if I started a couple from seed this week :)

Any input on that?

Way, way too late to start seeds, or even for setting out plants. About the minimum DTM (days to maturity after transplanting) is maybe 60 or so for some very early varieties....and a 60 day variety would take a lot longer with the shorter days, and with the temps cooling.

Sue

Here is a link that might be useful: Some early season varieties

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 10:45PM
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bill449(7)

Been growing tomatoes for a long time. For taste it is The Abraham Lincoln Original and the Marion in the red line and for the yellow type it is the Golden Jubilee and the Amanda Orange tomatoes.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 7:39AM
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jaleeisa(6b Oklahoma)

Hi Bill! I will certainly look into those! May I ask what you like to use them for, or are they just slicing toms? Are there any characteristics aside from flavor that make them you're favorites?

Thanks!

I know Sue,I don't have a real chance and it would just be wasting seed :) Though we do still have until at least the first week of November here before our first projected frost. I still wouldn't take the chance of squeaking that close to the maturity rate. If I'd had seedlings ready, I'd have time to get a good bear and really be able to judge flavor and texture. But as is, I'll still with the fall toms I have. Actually got them into the ground after the rain we've gotten, thankfully, the last few days. They had to stay in their pots a little longer than I usually do because we had some serious drought conditions here. But I think they will be fine. I'd have just left them in their pots, but they were outgrowing the largest ones I had available.

Now I'm getting eager for next year and trying new types!

Kathy

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 8:35AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

I am an optimist (usually anyway) and figure there will come a year when the first frost will be very, very late and the first hard frost, very late, and the first freeze very late.

Sometimes I will cover a couple tomato plants when especially cold temps are expected, and extend the harvest some.

You can also pick some of the green ones, and allow them to ripen. They won't be as good as vine ripened, but still they will be your home grown tomatoes. there are some varieties that are 'good keepers' and that do well ripening up after being picked green at the end of the season. One member at the Tomato Forum told of enjoying tomatoes in FEB that had been picked at the end of the season in Oct.

Sue...who will talk more maters later...gotta go outside and play now at some things that are 'needing' done. I might be making salsa tomorrow! Just need to pick up the yellow onions as I have the rest of the stuff ready now

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 10:05AM
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bill449(7)

Hi Bill! I will certainly look into those! May I ask what you like to use them for, or are they just slicing toms? Are there any characteristics aside from flavor that make them you're favorites? The Abraham Lincoln is a great canner and all around great table tomato for slicing or even in cooking such use for home made stews and such. We quart jar can our tomatoes, and mix the Abraham Lincolns with the Golden Jubilee tomatoes in a cooking batch or two for canning. I tried canning the jubilees alone, but had trouble getting the jar leds to seal. Must be the lower acids in the yellow type that caused it I really don't know. Anyway the Abraham Lincoln tomatoes are a top canner for taste and rich flavor
alone or mixed with the Jubilees. As for the Marion tomato, it has the very same taste and flavor as the Abraham Lincolns does and the Amanda Orange is a great tasting yellow orange type. I have never canned either of these, but I bet the Marion being an off spring of Rutgers would can well.
Bill

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 10:23AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Just wanted to post a pic of some Hybrid Big mama paste tomatoes. They averaged over 8 OZ a piece. Sure beats all the work of those nasty little roma paste tomatoes.


Note butternut squash to the right for size reference. That is a good sized mixing bowl.

I'm also growing some Romeos, another paste type, and some of them are HUGE...pic and weights to follow as they are still ripening.

Check this out!...Romeo roma tomato

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 1:21AM
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