Tomato season began inauspiciously with unseasonably cold weather for Southern California. I simply couldn’t get any seeds to germinate. Thankfully, Craig of gardenedibles.com came to the rescue with a couple of seedlings for us. Here’s a recap of our tomato successes and failures:
Red Pear. I’ve grown this one before. It’s a plump, ribbed, meaty tomato. It’s flavorful and amazing both fresh and made into sauce. Craig concurs that this is a must grow variety.
Napoli. A paste variety with a short bushy growth pattern. Like San Marzanos this vine cranks out a ton of fruit. Did not taste great fresh but made the best canned tomatoes I’ve ever grown–I’m guessing this variety is bred for canning.
St. Pierre: not much to say about it. O.K., but not all that exciting.
Yellow pear. This small cherry tomato sprouted out of the compost. It’s kinda bland, but we got a ton of them. I borrowed some time in neighbors Anne and Bill’s dehydrator and dried them.
Sun Gold. Mrs. Homegrown stuck a Sun Gold tomato in the backyard which I failed to care for properly. Nevertheless, it still produced a decent crop.Very sweet and prolific.
Failures. I had three vines fail on me due to a combination of not transplanting soon enough and not paying attention to them–mainly, I think they got root bound in their pots.
This year I took the watering advice of tomato guru Steve Goto of Gotomato. Goto suggested a thick layer of mulch and a very deep watering when transplanting. The next watering comes when the plant droops in the morning–a whole month for me. Thereafter you water deeply only when the plant droops again in the morning, which worked out to be about once a week. You ignore any droopiness during midday and only water in the morning. I used in-line drip emitter tubing and all seemed to go well. Goto has tomato growing instructions you can download here.
Another big lesson is that even in sunny Southern California you need a cold frame to get good germination in the spring. We’ll blog about the cold frame I just added to our back patio soon.
So how did your tomatoes do this year? Drop us a comment with your geographical location and the tomato varieties you liked the most/least.