Ah, sun-ripened, juicy tomatoes! There are so many tantalizing varieties. Have you seen the newest varieties introduced this year? Many are All-America Selections winners, chosen because they taste delicious and have other special qualities.
Even though I am a big fan of heirloom tomatoes, there is something to be said for the earliness and disease resistance of the hybrids.
'Celano' is a grape tomato that bears many fruits on a 40 inch tall, bushy plant, perfect for container growing. Sweet and tasty, the tomatoes weigh about 1/2 ounce each, perfect to pop right in your mouth or throw in a salad. The vigorous, semi-determinate plants may need some pruning and the support of a tomato cage or trellis; they will keep on producing into September. An AAS National Vegetable Award Winner. Don't let a lack of space keep you from growing the tasty tomatoes you love.
Photo courtesy of All-America Selection
'Crokini' (below) is a sweet cherry tomato yielding up to 300 fruits in clusters of 10-12 on an indeterminate vine. Resistant to late blight and multiple other diseases that plague tomato plants, it is especially recommended for southern gardens, winning the AAS Regional Award for the Southeast. Fruits hold well on the vine, don't crack, and are similar to 'Sweet Million' or 'Supersweet 100' but with a better flavor and texture.
Photo courtesy of All-America Selections
'Citrine' (below) is an new orange cherry tomato from Johnny's Selected Seeds. Unlike my favorite 'Sungold' this one does not crack! It boasts a rich flavor well balanced between sweet and acidic. The indeterminate plants start bearing in 60 days.
Photo courtesy of Johnny's Selected Seeds
'Early Resilience' is a meaty Roma-type, good for canning or fresh eating. Fruits are about 2 inches long and weigh in at about 3 1/2 ounces. Each plant should produce at least 25 ripe fruits in mid-July. The determinate plants are strong growing and healthy due to their high resistance to blossom end rot and other diseases. Topping out at only 24 inches tall, they could be grown in containers. An AAS National Award winner bred by Heinz, they have been called a canner's dream!
'Mountain Gem' (below) is a new 8 ounce slicing tomato in Randy Gardener's Mountain series. Firm red fruits have a good balance of acid and sugar giving them a nice flavor. Maturing in 75 days, the determinate plants are compact, growing about 3 feet tall and wide and are highly resistant to late blight and many other diseases. We have grown several in the Mountain series and have been very pleased with them.
Photo courtesy of Seedway
'Buffalosun' is a beefsteak-type with an heirloom look and taste. Similar to 'Striped German' it is yellow with a red-orange flame coming up from the blossom end and is marbled inside when sliced. The meaty, sweet 4 inch fruits weigh about 18-24 ounces each and are not prone to cracking. Plants are indeterminate, growing 5-6 feet tall and are resistant to late blight and many other diseases. An AAS Regional Winner for the Southeast and Northeast.
'Chef's Choice Bicolor' is another yellow slicer with red marbling inside. Its fruits are smaller than 'Buffalosun' weighing in at 7-8 ounces. Skin is thin but still does not crack. It is an early determinate, growing 5-6 feet tall and bearing fruit in 75 days. Each plant can produce up to 30 fruits! This is an AAS Regional Award Winner for the Heartland.
'Galahad' was bred from 2 tomatoes with high resistance to late blight, giving it double the strength to fight it off. If you have been growing 'Defiant' or 'Iron Lady' for their disease resistance give this one a try. Plants are determinate, only 4 feet tall maturing in about 75 days. Meaty, round red 3 inch fruits weigh about 12 ounces each. An AAS Regional Winner for the Heartland, West/Northwest.
These are just a few of what the plant breeders have come up with for adventurous gardeners this summer. The proof is in the planting so give one a try. It might become your new favorite!