Article by Sabine Harvey, Kent County:
The first observation is that the bed
with the plastic mulch did indeed do a lot better, as the experts claim,
than the bed covered with mulch. In fact, by the middle of September,
the vines in the bed with the red plastic mulch were still doing okay,
whereas several plants in the other bed had died already.
the cultivars: as always Celebrity Hybrid and Early Pick performed
steadily and well. They both produce nice size tomatoes. They start
early and they keep going after other tomatoes are done.
never liked beefsteak tomatoes but I thought I should give them a try.
After this season I must say, I still don’t like beefsteak tomatoes!
First of all, they took forever to turn red; not just in my gardens, but
this was a complaint all over the county. Secondly, they take so long
to grow that between the hot temperatures, downpours and insects, we
actually did not harvest many edible tomatoes of these plants. Sure, the
ones that we did get were gigantic, but I think over the entire season
they produced a lot less than other plants.
Heirlooms. We tried
three different varieties: Amish Paste, Mr. Stripy (like Striped Zebra)
and Black Krim. I wish I had something good to say, but Mr. Stripy and
Black Krim were an absolute bust. The tomatoes went from not ripe to
rotting in no time, or they started to rot before they were ripe. They
also seem to have been the favorites of all the critters that like to
munch on tomatoes. Since heirlooms don’t have much disease resistance,
the plants got sick fairly early in the season.
As for the Amish
Paste the verdict might still be out. The plant in the bed with the
straw died in mid July. The plant in the bed with the red plastic was
still doing pretty well by mid September. The problem with this plant
was that the bottom part of the tomatoes would be very ripe, while the
top part stayed green. Eventually we got all red tomatoes, but that was
at about the same time that it didn’t stop raining: all the tomatoes cracked severely.
Maybe it is just me! So far I
have not grown a paste tomato that does well. If you have grown
paste/roma tomatoes successfully, I would love to get some suggestions!
Boy/Better Boy. They both seemed to perform pretty well, all things
considered. Perhaps Better Boy did a little bit better, but there was
not much of a difference.
Long Keeper. This plant produces
tomatoes that you can keep in your house for a long time. The tomatoes
are a nice small size and there were a lot of them. The problem is the
taste, in particular the skin. I guess you can save these tomatoes
longer because they have a really thick skin, kind of unpleasant. To an
extent, these tomatoes reminded me of the ones you buy in the store. So,
although the plant performed well , I am not sure I will plant it again.
had two more varieties in my own garden: Tomosa and Juliet. I have
grown Tomosa for three years now and I SO want to like this plant. It
makes beautiful 4 oz tomatoes, it produces early in the season, then it
slows down and keeps producing until frost. What is not to like? Well,
it is more suitable for a European climate and ultimately I am not sure
it can really withstand the high humidity and crazy rain. I did not
harvest an edible tomato of this plant since early August. When it is
happy, it makes great tomatoes. The question is, is it happy here?
but not least, Juliet. Yes, I did save the best for last. This is a
keeper!!! This is a grape tomato, recommended by our state Master
Gardener, Jon Traunfeld. Well, obviously Jon was right! The tomatoes are
about twice the size of a cherry tomato and they are possibly the
sweetest tomato I have ever eaten. The vine produced all summer long,
but not in the overwhelming crazy way that a cherry tomato does. It was still producing beautiful tomatoes in October!
This variety was the success of the season; it will become a regular in