If you only grew 3 tomatoes this year – which cultivars would you choose?
I’ve never had this dilemma before as the greenhouse is usually a jungle of tomato foliage by June and I always defend my excessive tomato habit by claiming that growing for the school fete necessitates producing several extra trays of tomatoes – as indeed it does. But this year, having passed the responsibility of the stall onto fresh hands, I might have to acknowledge the other reasons for the tomato chaos, which include:
- An inability to compost unwanted seedlings
- An endless desire to try out new cultivars
- Too much focus on sowing: not enough on growing
So this year, with no pressure to grow for others, I’m going to raise fewer plants and make more time and space to care for them better. I’ve decided to choose only my 3 favourites – the ones with the best flavour – along with 4 new cultivars. I’m just intending to grow one of each type (please hold me to this) and thus I’ll be reducing my normal tomato numbers by three quarters.
Reading back through my records to decide on the 3 ‘keepers’, I’ve come across a few which just don’t quite make the grade:
- ‘Millefleur’ – a centiflor variety with hundreds of small yellow fruits, but a little disappointing on taste
- ‘Indigo Rose’ – a deep black cherry tomato with beautiful red skin under the calyx and a sweet, meaty taste, but doesn’t quite make the top three
- ‘Black Russian’ and ‘Black Krim’ – lovely mellow beefsteak tomatoes, great for salads, but not quite enough yield to make the grade
- ‘Gartenperle’ – my favourite hanging basket tomato with a sweet taste and excellent yield – would be my number 4
Other good tasting tomatoes have included ‘Tumbling Tom’ – red and yellow, ‘Tigarella’, ‘Sungold’, ‘Black Opal’ and ‘Heinz 1370’, but my self-restrained top 3 would have be:
- ‘Green Zebra’ – my children’s favourite with vibrant green stripes and a fresh tangy flavour which adds a real zing to summer salads
- ‘Gardener’s Delight’ – an unsurprising favourite for its reliability, thin skins and sweet taste
- Golden Sunrise – a deliciously sweet yellow tomato and my top tasting cultivar
Tomatoes form the basis of so many summer meals
Alongside these I’m trying:
- ‘Rosella’ – a smoky rose-pink cherry tomato with high anti-oxidant levels and very few seeds
- ‘Red Zebra’ – high levels of lycopene, excellent flavour and I can’t resist the stripes
- ‘Sweet ‘n’ Neat Red’ – a sweet container tomato for the kids to grow, reaching only 30cm
And I’d like to add another tomato based on flavour recommendation, so please leave me a comment about your top tasting tomato. I’ll choose one from your delicious favourites and sow all my tomato seeds in the next few weeks. Then hopefully, come June, the greenhouse will be home to seven healthy, heavily-cropping tomato plants, with plenty of room left over for my chillies, cucumbers, marigolds and cucamelons.
Happy sowing and growing! If you’d like to follow the progress of my tomato crop in 2018, do keep in touch via social media and subscribe to the blog below…