Monday, August 31, 2009

2009 Review: Winners and Losers

This was by far the worst tomato season I have ever had. Too cool, too much rain and disease problems. That made me un-able to rate some tomatoes due to poor conditions and crop failure. But...... I was able to form an opinion on some of them. You know the rules: to be an all-star it has to have a 10 in all areas. Taste, appearance and texture. Here's the all-stars and waste of space maters from this year:
Liz Bert: A potato leaf purple developed by Keith Mueller. I loved this one. The taste for me was right up there with Carbon. Even with so much rain they resisted splitting and scarring.

Chocolate Stripes: Wow! What a winner. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but the plant was disease resistant, huge producer and perfect texture. Definitly has the sweetness of a black. Perfect balance of meatiness and juicyness.

Jewish: A really nice red. Not beefsteak shaped but more bomb shaped. Almost all of them were huge.
Very productive, very meaty just enough juice without being watery. Not very acidic tasting. More of a sweet, mild flavor.
Orange Minsk: A big size yellow/orange from Minsk. I got my seed from Andrey.
Good producer, flawless appearance. Very meaty. Mild but firm. I would say I liked it as well as KBX. It's more of a mid-season so if you like KBX you would like this one and it's earlier too.

JD's Special C-Tex: Well, I finally found one I love as much as Carbon. Very nice purple/black. Firm, sweet and flawless appearance. Resisted disease much better than some of the other blacks.

Absinthe: Another Alan Bishop tomato. A GRW that rivals Green Giant. I had given up hope of ever finding another green as good as GG but Alan has done it!! Two years in a row one of his tomatoes is on my all star list. This tomato is soooooo good. Perfect balance of juice and meat. The gel really is the color of Absinthe.

Waste of Space:

Zelyone: "sorry Andrey :( "....... A russian GWR. It produced well and had a nice appearance but I couldn't get past the taste. Very sour to me. I kept trying them as the season progressed but it never improved.

OSU blue or P20: Ok, only if you want to grow this as a curiosity. It is a total waste of garden space if you are limited. It's cool to show people the blue tomato but taste wise....forget it. Plus they are very small.

Roger's Best Black: This one was a huge producer of early blacks. Tastewise it was very sub-par compared to other blacks. It had serious scarring problems too. I don't think I ever picked even one that didn't have concentric scarring.

Yellow Cookie: Ok...this was a heart shaped yellow. Almost no seeds at all in them. Very meaty but mealy and mushy. Tons of scarring and cracking. I just couldn't get past the texture.

Now there were a lot of what I call good tomatoes that are worth growing again but not OMG good. It's possible under better growing conditions they might have made the all star list. Here's a review of some of them.

Claude Brown's Yellow Giant: This by far is the most huge yellow tomato I have ever seen. One slice almost covers an entire dinner plate. Nice, mild yellow flavor and not mealy. If you like the mild yellows, it's a good one.

Olive Hill: This one was a very good producer of large pink beefsteaks. Mild flavor and near perfect appearance.

Heatherington Pink: I really did like this one. More flavor than Olive Hill but not as productive.

Gary'O Sena: Another Keith Mueller purple tomato. Really good but not quite as good as Liz Bert to me.

Frank's Large Red: (The pic is a few greens ones) This is by far one of the biggest red tomatoes I have ever grown. When you first taste it, it hits you with sweet but then it has this old timey tomato flavor. Reminds me of how tomato juice tastes from the store.

I wanted to comment on Fritz Ackerman and Marlowe Charleston too: You know last year I grew both and they were regular leaf plants. I absolutely loved the ones I grew last season and they both made my all-star list. Then I find out they are supposed to be Potato leaf. So I chased down the PL seed for each one and grew them both this year. The PL version of each was was nothing like the RL versions from last year. They are entirely different tomatoes. Maybe the RL ones I grew last season were crosses but they were superior to the PL varieties I grew this year. So....if you want to grow either one of these varieties I would suggest the RL variety.

Now I'm going on hiatus..ha...See you all in a few weeks. That is if I ever come back. I don't think I would mind living in France for the rest of my life. I can grow tomatoes there too...right?

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!