Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Hardiest Tomato Varieties of 2012

The late fall and early winter rains were missing this year. The lack of rain and the slightly cooler temps (in the low 80's during the day) were ideal conditions for powdery mildew to thrive. It was raging through my garden in late November through January and it affected the tomato leaves and blossoms. Normally I can't keep up with my January tomato harvest but this year I was lucky to harvest any tomatoes.

Sweet Carneros

In September I planted 22 tomato plants from 16 varieties. There were 3 super-stars that were hardy enough to produce a somewhat normal quantity of fruit in the challenging conditions.

I've been more than impressed with the tomatoes from Wild Boar Farms. They're some of the most beautiful and delicious. In September I planted Beauty King (my favorite), Berkeley Pink, Brad's Black Heart and Sweet Carneros. Sweet Carneros was the only one that bore fruit this season - it was an early, lovely 2 to 3 oz round and delicious striped tomato. 

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Paste tomatoes don't seem to like the warmer temps - I've trialed so many through the years with poor results. This season I planted Amish Paste, Kiev Paste and Plum Lemon. The Amish and Kiev plants succumbed to the powdery mildew but Plum Lemon was a survivor. Plum Lemon weren't impressive as a fresh tomato but they were a good cooking tomato and the plant was prolific in spite of the powdery mildew.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Luscious and delicious Green Moldavan was an early beefsteak. The plant bore beautiful 6 to 8 oz tomatoes with a citrus-like flavor and striking blue-green coloration in the shoulders.