Tomato Time

Potted tomato success!

I am so chuffed to be writing this.  I’ve never had success with tomatoes grown in pots, but this year I was determined to make it work.  Looking back over the season, there have been more hits than misses, and I’m rather proud of how our plants fared.

Summer has gone by quickly, but it seems like forever ago that we drove out to Tree And Twig Heirloom Vegetable Farm to buy our tomato plants.  Having perused farmer Linda’s extensive list ahead of time, and cross referenced for mainly determinate plants that would suit pots, I chose nine plants (six varieties) and with much care, potted them up (determinate plants require less support, as they do not continue to reach skyward, but rather grow to a set size and set fruit).

We bought two determinate plum tomatoes (Martino’s Roma Bush), three of the most adorable little plants ever (Micro Tom), a lovely green variety (Lime Green Salad), two indeterminate plants which needed larger pots and support (Peche Rose and Miel De Mexique) and a very interesting, lanky plant which produced an abundance of pear shaped grape tomatoes (Elfin).

The weather has been responsible for not only an abundant tomato crop this year, but also some problems.  Ours came in the form of blossom end rot, which wiped out 80% of our plum tomatoes, as well as nearly half the Peche Rose fruits.  Blight seems to have claimed the Micro Toms, but not before we got a healthy harvest off of our tiny plants.

But how do they taste?

Our plants are nearly finished for the season.  I am going to miss walking into the yard for still warm from the sun tomatoes.  Most of them have been devoured by the kids and I, either straight off the plants or shortly after picking.  Some became salsa, many mingled with other garden veggies in salad, and squirrels seem to have enjoyed a few too.

If you’ve only ever tasted store bought tomatoes, or even farm stand hybrids, you’re missing out.  I’m sure you’ve heard it all before.  Heirloom tomatoes have remarkable flavour, diversity and complexity.  But really, how different can one tomato be from the next?  Let me share a little about each of our summer beauties.

Miel De Mexique – Golf ball sized red fruits, which are super sweet, with a good balance of acidity and very juicy.

Martino’s Roma Bush – Meaty and dry, the perfect plum tomato, with a slightly floral taste.

Micro Tom – Acidic and sharp, these itty bitty fruits pack a big punch.

Peche Rose – These may have been my favourites.  The ping pong sized fruits have a deep, meaty tomato flavour, which was intense, sweet, juicy, and a little grassy.  They also have a slightly fuzzy skin, like a peach.  Truly amazing.

Elfin – These small, pear shaped tomatoes have good flavour with a nice balance.  Perfect for yard snacks.

Lime Green Salad – This one the only slight disappointment, due largely in part to its thick skin, which was hard to eat.  I wonder if the summer heat contributed to that?  They proved to be a very juicy tomato, small and brilliant in salads.  The flavour is nice, well balanced and pleasant.  It had some stiff competition, but is a decent tomato in its own right.
If you’re able to get to Tree And Twig next May, I strongly encourage you to.  Or you could order seed from Linda and try your hand at starting your own plants.  Or just seek out heirloom tomatoes wherever you are.  They are well worth the hunt.  A few of this year’s plants are going on our “must grow” list for next year for sure.

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