Tips and Tricks for Growing Delicious Tomatoes in 2021 - A Season of Unexpected Findings
This year's tomato season had its ups and downs due to fluctuating weather conditions. A couple of plants purchased from a local nursery threw averages off since they were not what the labels indicated. The two most productive tomatoes in the garden, which turned out to be neither Brandywine Red nor Cherokee Purple, were less than average for flavor.
Fortunately, yellow/gold/orange/bi-color varieties saved the year. More of these colors were planted this year and their flavor was judged by those who ate them. On a five star scale, Amana Pink Heart, Tom's Yellow Wonder, Bull's Heart, Orange Oxheart, Kellogg's Breakfast, and Delicious scored 5/5s.
The two "not" varieties actually ended up being around red and medium sized for one, and small round red just bigger than salad sized for the other. Unfortunately, there is no way to know what they truly were as seeds of these two varieties are in inventory.
On the other hand, another gardener had a very good year with plenty of large catering trays full of tomatoes from late July until recently. New varieties were tried but some did not have great flavor so they went into the sauce pot where the flavor issues disappeared.
Overall, it seems that 10-12oz varieties are the sweet spot when it comes to production quantity versus size. This season has been an interesting lesson on trusting someone else to grow plants and managing expectations for taste and yield.The best advice for next year is to start with seeds from a reliable source and plant more of the varieties that have proven themselves in past years. Also, it's important to remember that tomatoes are not all created equal when it comes to flavor. Some may be great producers but lack taste or vice versa.
Finally, don't forget about companion planting! Tomatoes love basil and other herbs like oregano, parsley, thyme and chives can help keep pests away while adding flavor to your dishes as well. Planting flowers such as marigolds around the garden will also attract beneficial insects which can help control bad bugs without using chemicals or sprays.
In conclusion, this season has been an interesting one for tomato growers everywhere due to weather conditions and unexpected surprises from plants purchased at nurseries. However by trying new varieties along with old favorites plus utilizing companion planting techniques there should be plenty of delicious tomatoes available come 2022!
What happened in the garden this year?
This season had its ups and downs, mostly caused by fluctuating weather conditions. There were a couple of plants purchased from a local nursery that threw averages way off since they were NOT what the labels indicated.
What varieties did you plant?
The two most productive tomatoes in the garden were NOT Brandywine Red and NOT Cherokee Purple. The year was actually saved by the yellow/gold/orange/bi-color varieties. These included Amana Pink Heart, Tom's Yellow Wonder, Bull's Heart, Orange Oxheart, Kellogg's Breakfast, and Delicious.
How did you judge the flavor of the tomatoes?
We judged the flavor of the tomatoes on a five star scale based on taste. The best flavors were rated 5/5.
What was the production like?
Production varied depending on variety. Hillbilly was low production for me, and Kellogg's Breakfast was average production. Generally, varieties with very large tomatoes don't produce as much total poundage as the 10-12oz varieties.
What were the "NOT" varieties?
The not CP was around red and medium sized. BW was small round red just bigger than salad sized. No idea what they actually were. So much for trusting someone else to grow the plants.
How did the tomatoes do in terms of disease resistance?
The tomatoes did well in terms of disease resistance. We had some issues with early blight, but it was easily managed with a fungicide spray. The varieties that seemed to be most resistant were Amana Pink Heart, Tom's Yellow Wonder, Bull's Heart, Orange Oxheart, and Delicious.
What would you recommend for next year?
For next year, I would recommend planting the same varieties as this year. They all performed well and produced good yields. I would also suggest adding some new varieties to the mix to keep things interesting. Some good options are Mortgage Lifter, Black Krim, and Green Zebra.