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My Favorite Tomatoes

Submitted by: runningtrails on March 14, 2011
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My Favorite Tomatoes

Over the years we have grown a large variety of tomatoes, more recently sticking with heirloom or organic types. We don’t want to grow or eat anything that has been genetically modified.

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Although we have tried all shapes, sizes and colors, we prefer to stick with the normal, …

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p1
Over the years we have grown a large variety of tomatoes, more recently sticking with heirloom or organic types. We don’t want to grow or eat anything that has been genetically modified.


Although we have tried all shapes, sizes and colors, we prefer to stick with the normal, round, red tomatoes. Of all the tomatoes that we have tried, our favorite tomato is grown from the tomato seed that I got in a trade years ago from a fellow gardener whose ancestors brought the seed from Portugal. We just call them our “Portugal” tomatoes. We never did know that actual variety, if there was one. These may have been handed down through the family for generations. We just don’t know.

I have had them too long for them to be GM seeds and I know they are not hybrids, as they breed true year after year.

p2
These tomatoes are MASSIVE! Some as big as my hand. They are meaty, sweet and a great size for sandwiches. One slice is all you need!

These are a large beef heart style tomato, which is hard to find. There are a few more out there but I don’t know how they compare to mine.

p3
We love this tomato and nearly lost it last year! The tomatoes did so poorly and had so much blossom end rot, I feared that we would not get any ripe enough for seed. Fortunately, I did have some seed saved from the year before. (The smart gardener never plants all the seed.) I also managed to salvage a few of the ripe “Portugal” tomatoes and collected the seed from those, but not a lot. This year we will do better 🙂

Another favorite tomato is the ‘San Marzano’. It’s our only paste tomato and is touted to be the best in the world. It’s from Italy. We grow these every year and they do make great sauce!

p4
They have a thick wall and very little water, which is why they make such good paste.

We also grow: Matt’s Wild Cherry, ‘Ailsa Craig’ and the ‘Manitoba’ tomato, recently developed to grow big in the short Manitoba prairie season. It is not a GM seed nor a hybrid, so I am growing it for a few years on a trial basis.

p5
I would like to spread the ‘Portugal’ seed around so that it does not get lost in a bad year. Anything can happen and I would hate to lose this one completely from our heirloom seed pool! Save those heirloom seeds!

The ‘San Marzano’ did well enough last year for me to collect some seed, but not well enough, unfortunately, for me to make tomato sauce or paste. I do not have the other three seeds due to such poor conditions last year. I am planting them again this year.

Let’s hope for a great tomato growing season this year. Nothing beats a juicy, ripe tomato fresh from the garden!


Editor’s Note: You can see Sheryl’s seeds for sale on her website (link below).


Sheryl – Runningtrails blogs at Providence Acres Farm.


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Comments

11 comments | RSS feed for comments of this post

  1. 3-14
    8:14
    am

    Sounds like you have your tomatoes down to a science Sheryl. I am still working on that and need your intelligence. Thank you for this post.

  2. 3-14
    8:38
    am

    Blossom End Rot can be prevented by watering regularly with a weak solution of Epsom Salts. 🙂 BER is often due to calcium deficiency. Awesome post, I’d like to try the San Marzanos. I had terrible luck with my tomatoes last year, too. Mine was due to what I was growing them in, though. lol Hopefully I’ll get that fixed this year.

  3. 3-14
    8:40
    am

    What a great post! I really needed this info. I want to do paste this year for the first time. How many plants should I set out to yeild 24 pints? Im not good at estimating yield. Where would you suggest I get the seed or plants? I genrerally dont do well with seed for tomatoes. This is my first year doing heirlooms. I even bought them as plants. Thank you so much!!!

  4. 3-14
    9:18
    am

    Enjoyed your article about tomatoes I only grow heirloom tomatoes now and have bgun to save their seed.

  5. 3-14
    10:01
    am

    Wow, those are beautiful!

    Feel free to send me some seeds, anytime. 😉

  6. 3-14
    12:41
    pm

    All of these, except thte Manitoba tomatoes are heirlooms. I try to grow only heirloom vegetables now too, if possible. Sometimes I will plant non heirloom hybrids but never GM seed.

    I plan to use epsom salts this year ;-)I know I need to add lime to the tomatoes, also to prevent blossom end rot. I will be using both this year, and anything else that might possible give me better tomatoes – soft music, encouraging words…

  7. 3-14
    6:32
    pm

    Those fabulous photos are making me long for summer tomatoes right now! Nothing like a homegrown tomato, on a piece of buttered toast. Thanks for making me salivate!

  8. 3-15
    12:14
    am

    I love San Marzanos. I grow them most years but rotate with some other favorite pastes. This year it’ll be Romas & Polish Opalka.

  9. 3-20
    10:09
    am

    LOVE this post! I’m a big tomato grower myself. I’m in Central Florida and I was able to extend my fall tomato season all the way into February this year. I planted the tomatoes in big pots and would drag them in and out of the garden shed as need to protect them from cold.

  10. 9-28
    7:46
    pm

    I purchased some of the portugal tomato seeds this past spring. OHHHH they are wonderful. I saved all of my seeds I could and plan on passing some to our local FFA Chapter to grow next spring. I can not wait for another crop of them come next growing season.

  11. 9-28
    8:01
    pm

    I am so glad you liked them! They truly are fantastic tomatoes! I have more seed for sale this year.

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