Homesteading In The Pacific Northwest

Friday, January 4, 2013

Decisions, Decisions ....

It's one of my favorite times of the year ... the seed catalogs have arrived and I am exploring possibilities.  First and most important! ...

Why is the choice of the tomatoes for the year so hard to make?  Because we have one chance at it and if you pick the wrong ones we're stuck with it until next year (duh!)?  I'm rolling the dice and going with almost all new ones this year.  My goal is to come up with an early and a later season canning tomato (San Marzano fills one of the late slots), early and late slicers (Cherokee Purple is one of these) and early and late general salad tomatoes. (Here is this years' cast of characters and what the seed catalog says about them ...

OP : Early Season, 52 days. Determinate.
Developed by Dr. James Baggett of Oregon State University. Plants do very well in cooler climates producing deep-red, excellently flavored round, slicing tomatoes 8-10 oz. Very good flavor considering how early a tomato it is.

Bloody Butcher
OP : Early Season, 55 days.  Indeterminate
A sensational and very popular, early producing tomato variety. A good choice for a tomato as you wait for later varieties to harvest. Our organic tomato seeds produce indeterminate, vigorous, potato-leaf plants that yield copious amounts of 2", 4 oz, fruits that are deep-red color, inside and out. Five to nine fruits per cluster with a rich heirloom tomato flavor. Plant produces well until frost. A good tomato variety for cooler growing regions since fruits ripen quickly. A good canning tomato. 

Beaver Lodge Slicer
OP : Early Season, 55 days.  Determinate
Bred at the Beaverlodge Research Center in Alberta Canada. One of the earliest maturing tomato varieties (55 days). Our TomatoFest organic seeds produce short, compact, determinate, plants that are loaded with 2", smooth, red, round tomatoes that contain rich and well balanced flavors. A surprisingly big flavor for such an early tomato. This is a perfect tomato variety for growing in a hanging basket or in a patio container. A good choice for cooler and foggy growing regions like Northern California.

Heirloom : Early Season,  60 days.  Semideterminate.
An wonderful, extra-early tomato. This heirloom yields an abundance of deep red, 4-6 oz., smooth, cold-tolerant, round and slightly flattened fruits with a luscious, rich taste.

Heirloom : Early Season, 67 days. Indeterminate
French heirloom. Produces dependable heavy, clusters of 6-ounce deep red, slightly flattened, oblate fruits that are meaty, lightly lobed and contain an excellent, complex, slightly tart taste. I have found that this variety also does well in the cooler summer conditions of California's bay areas. An all-'round great tomato for slicing.

Black Krim
Heirloom : Mid Season, 75 days.  Indeterminate.
(aka Black Crimson and Black Crim) Originally from the Isle of Krim on the Black Sea in the former Soviet Union. This rare, and outstanding tomato yields 3-4" slightly flattened dark-red (mahogany-colored) slightly maroon, beefsteak tomatoes with deep green shoulders. Green gel around seeds. Fantastic, intense, slightly salty taste (which is great for those not wanting to add salt to their tomatoes).

Sam Marzano
Heirloom : Mid Season, 78 days.  Semi determinate
From Italy. Compact and prolicic producer of bright-red, slim, 2-3 inch, plum-type, fruit over a long season. A paste tomato with pointy end, heavy walls and little juice, so it's great for tomato sauce. Crack resistant. Better tasting than Roma.

Cherokee Purple
Heirloom : Late Season,  80 days.  Indeterminate
Heirloom from Tennessee cultivated by Native American Cherokee tribe.  Very productive plants producing loads of dusky rose to purple colored, 12 oz.-1 lb., beefsteak tomatoes with deep red colors to the interior flesh and dark shoulders. A very popular market variety because of it's rich, complex and sweet flavors. One of the best tasting heirloom tomatoes

I ordered all of my seed from TomatoFest this year ... mostly because the were the only place that had both San Marzano and Bloody Butcher and since they have a minimum order amount I just continued with them .... 

We'll see ... hope I'm not posting the "Attack" poster again later this season ....



  1. For as poorly as they do in our growing region - tomatoes really do take up far too much of my gardening time. LOL! I really appreciate Siletz. I skipped it last year to make room for a different variety I wanted to try and was kicking myself heartily for doing that. I missed it tremendously.

  2. Glad to hear that about Siletz ... thanks!

  3. Our growing season is very short here in the high desert of Oregon. We have had good success with Stupice which tolerates our sometimes colder nights and erratic weather. We also grow Juliet which is a roma grape type tomato and is a heavy producer for us. This last season we tried the newer Indigo Rose. While a beautiful sight in the garden visually, it ripened very slowly and was quite a bland tomato for us.