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Help! Too many varieties of tomato!!! Toplef10Help! Too many varieties of tomato!!! 1zd3ho10

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Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Help! Too many varieties of tomato!!!

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Pollinator
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Help! Too many varieties of tomato!!! Empty Help! Too many varieties of tomato!!!

Post  ericam 8/10/2012, 5:31 am

There are 155 varieties of tomato in my seed catalogue, Shocked I have no idea where to start. Never grown them before and don't eat them either! Razz

Hubby and eldest son would like to grow some though. Would basically be used for salads over summer.

I know I probably have some different varieties to you guys but some of the names sound familiar from your posts so I'm looking for advice on which ones are easy to grow and taste good.

Also have no idea re the determinate / indeterminate thing either!

Any help appreciated Very Happy
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Post  CharlesB 8/10/2012, 5:59 am

How many plants do you plan to have?

It takes a while to get tomato seedlings ready to plant out. You may want to buy starts instead. If they are available.

Can't really go wrong with Rutgers Determinate if you can get them there.
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Post  ericam 8/10/2012, 6:42 am

I don't have a lot of space so probably will only plant a couple of squares of each. Maybe a regular tomato and a cherry type tomato. Alex likes the cherrys and if a kid will eat a fruit/veg then I'm happy to grow it! Have had a bit more of a read and will probably go with a determinate type since I don't have much space for tall things and I'm planning on growing some corn so that will have to go at the back.

So determinate types that I can get are below, heard of any of these?

Ace 55
Arbanaski
Arcadia
Budiah
Burnley Gem
Burwood Prize
Campbell 33
Cherry Roma
Felders 36
Florida Basket
Golden Roma
Graf Zeppelin
Jaunne Negib
Lecase Di Apulia
Longkeeper
Mr Stripey
Northern Delight
Olomovic
Pacesetter (Roma type)
Pearly Pink Cherry
Pink Queen
Prosperity
Quickpick
Red Colussus
Roma
Romano Burghanese
Rumsey's Cross
Scoresby Dwarf
Siberian
Sputnik
Sweet William
Swift
Tatura Dwarf
Thai Pink Egg
Tiny Tim
Tomatillo (Toma Verde)
Walter
ericam
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Post  ericam 8/10/2012, 6:47 am

Forgot to say, my garden app says I've got Aug and Sep to start seeds and I can transplant Oct-Dec in my area, so worst comes to worst I can buy some seedlings later but I'm happy to start from seed.

It's all a learning experience for me and if nothing else my son loves watching the seeds come up! Laughing
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Post  Goosegirl 8/10/2012, 9:09 am

ericam wrote:There are 155 varieties of tomato in my seed catalogue, Shocked

If you think THAT is scary, look on www.tomatofest.com. Over 600 varieties of heirloom tomatoes! What a Face I always end up buying more varieties of seeds than I can fit in my garden for the year.....

GG
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Post  littlesapphire 8/10/2012, 9:32 am

Try not to sweat it! Here's what I would do if I was in your place. First, decide what type of tomato you want. Cherries? Big slicing tomatoes? Now decide how many you want. I can tell you that with four tomato plants (two slicing and two cherry), my hubby and I are pretty sick of tomatoes by the end of the season. I had enough with those four plants to eat tomatoes daily, freeze about a gallon for winter use, and I had enough green tomatoes to make a large batch of green tomato jam!

Determinates save you vertical space, but from my experience, they take up a lot of horizontal space. I even think, if I remember correctly, that the ANSFG book says that determinate toms take up 9 squares. I planted mine in 5 gallon buckets and they're taking over the yard.

Ok, so to get back on track, lol. First decide what type you want (cherry, big beef, medium size). Then decide how many you want. Next, decide if you want determinate or indeterminate. Good so far? Now look at the pictures of the tomatoes in those catagories, and pick the ones that you think are really pretty or really cool! Laughing Since this is your first year, it won't hurt to do something you think is really neat. I would stay away from green tomatoes though. I hear it's really hard to tell if they're ripe even for an advanced gardener.
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Post  CapeCoddess 8/10/2012, 9:44 am

For cherry maters, Sweet Million can't be beat, imo. Altho the Sungolds are running a close second and catching up!

CC
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Post  Pollinator 8/10/2012, 12:23 pm

The problem with determinates is that they produce all at once, then they are done. That's great if you want to can them or make sauce. But if you want salads all summer, you want indeterminates.

As to variety, I would start with ones that do well in your area already, and branch out from that. You might want to check with other local growers, or garden supply stores.

I live in the southern USA, and many of the varieties that do well in northern USA, highly recommended by others, are about worthless here. So we've been busy trying to see what does best in our hot, humid summers. My favorites so far are Abe Lincoln, Ozark Pink, Marion, Purple Calabash, Yellow Pear, and Park's Whopper. Best flavor has been Southern Nights, Black Cherry, and Black Krim, but they haven't held up in the heat like the first group.

I'm just guessing here, but if you have hot summers with LOW humidity, you might want to look at what does well in southwestern USA, where the climate is like that.
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Post  CharlesB 8/10/2012, 1:56 pm

If you can find the variety Sweet n Neat, may be called Sweet n Neat Cherry F1, this is superb for SFG. The plant structure acts determinate but yield is indeterminate. Plant won't get over two feet tall and is perfect for one square in your garden.

Determinate growth isn't a problem, it is a feature Very Happy

Sometimes it is nice to have the tomato plants finish up so you can get on to planting something else in the square instead of having a beast that grows and grows for the whole season.
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Post  Cincinnati 8/10/2012, 2:50 pm

ericam wrote:There are 155 varieties of tomato in my seed catalogue, Shocked I have no idea where to start. Never grown them before and don't eat them either!...Very Happy

You obviously don't buy from TomatoFest.com — they have nearly 600 varieties. Believe me, I understand the temptation. I have 24 packs of seeds. It's not practical to plant every variety.

Here's what I recommend:

Start with a few that you might like. Last fall, I started with two varieties of each: beefsteak, cherry, and paste. That is 6 varieties. I wanted to have 4 plants each, but ended up with 6 plants each.

It can get overwhelming in a hurry.

Unfortunately, I had a few problems in my area; namely it looked like blight hit many of my plants. I got very few producers.

This fall, I have already started seeds from 12 varieties, and wanted 4 plants of each variety. Unlike last fall, I got nearly perfect germination; I now have 100 seedlings in 16 oz Solo drink cups. I just couldn't kill off the extra seedlings. Now I'll either have plants to give away, or I'll run a small farm instead of a garden.

In addition to the seedlings I started, Just in case, I put in a few transplants that grow well locally. Here it's Better Boy and early Girl. Plus Roma Grapes. This is simply insurance against those seeds that came from plants from other climates and other countries.

I prefer the indeterminate varieties. They produce all season long. I simply train them up a string, and keep one main stem (prune the suckers). If you want to can or dry them for storage, then a determinate bush variety typically yields a lot of fruit all at once.

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Post  Cincinnati 8/10/2012, 3:00 pm

ericam wrote:... determinate types that I can get are below, heard of any of these?

Go to tomatofest.com and look through the description of the varieties they carry. Some of yours are on their list. They have descriptions and growing data.
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Post  cheyannarach 8/10/2012, 6:29 pm

I would suggest going with indeterminates as well! If you only want fourish I would go with a yellow pear and sweet 100 for salads and a couple of slicers for sandwiches, nothing beats a fresh tomato sandwich! Happy choosing!
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Post  ericam 8/10/2012, 7:28 pm

Darn, thought I had it narrowed down to only 37 varieties but from what you're all saying I think I want indeterminates. I definately don't have the space for a tomato to take up 9 squares! Also would prefer longer cropping so that I have tomatoes over the whole season.

So that leaves me with 118 varieties to pick from....

We get hot summers here but we also get quite a bit of humidity mid to late summer, February is usually pretty bad so it sounds like my area might be similar to yours Pollinator. I can get a few of the ones you listed so I'll do a bit more reading of the catalogue and try to make a decision.

Mind you last summer was a write off, cold and LOTS of rain so if we have another one like that the garden might not do so well no matter what I pick!
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Post  walshevak 8/10/2012, 8:27 pm

snip "Mind you last summer was a write off, cold and LOTS of rain so if we have another one like that the garden might not do so well no matter what I pick!"[i] The gardener's lament. Razz

snip "I now have 100 seedlings in 16 oz Solo drink cups. I just couldn't kill off the extra seedlings. Now I'll either have plants to give away, or I'll run a small farm instead of a garden." Sounds like my problem last spring. 18 varieties, 2 starter pods with 4 or 5 seeds each per variety, most germanated. 20 plants in my garden, 32 plants in my son's bucket brigade garden, 20 plants at my daughter's garden and gave away some in exchange for some cow manure and others to the neighbors. But I just couldn't snip them. Embarassed

As far as taste goes, I highly recommend the sungold cherry for hot humid areas. Arkansas Traveler has done well for my son this year and so has the san marzano paste. All are indeterminates. The roma determinate has also done well. I'm currently in Kenya Africa and Roma is the seed I see on the racks. And the tomatos in the market are all roma looking.

Kay

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Post  ryan 8/10/2012, 8:51 pm

my favorite is yellow pear tomatoes.
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Post  ericam 8/26/2012, 12:54 am

Oops, just realised I had forgotten to come back to this thread! Embarassed

I ended up going with Baby Red Pear, Earl of Edgecombe and San Marzano.

I wanted to get the Baby Yellow Pear but the 7yo vetoed that, he wanted red ones. Rolling Eyes
Earl of Edgecombe is apparently a NZ variety great for eating fresh. A round tom with a yellow/orange colour
San Marzano is a pear shaped one like a Roma which is good for sauce, paste, drying and purée.

So the plan is to have one plant each of the Baby Red Pear and the Earl of Edgecombe and two of the San Marzano with the hope that I'll be able to afford some canning equipment and be able to can those ones.

I got the seeds a few weeks ago and I started them yesterday in a little mini greenhouse thing. Since I don't have a heat mat or grow lights I put it in the sun yesterday and brought it inside for night time.

After a few of you said you ended up with too many seedlings I have only planted double what I need that way if they all sprout I don't have too many to get rid of!

And if they fail, I still have time to start again...
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