Heirloom Tomato Fest

What a year for tomatoes in Toronto.

I'm having trouble keeping up, but I'm still eating fresh from the yard!

This year has been all heirloom and all in containers. I've learned that tomatoes sure can grow tall and wide, even bigger than me! I continue to use my ball of twine to tie up the branches to anything I can find that supports the heavy fruit.

My favourites have been the Black Zebras and the Purple Princes. Both visually beautiful and amazingly tasty. But the Brandywine are pretty nice too. I find the Brandywine interesting because they have potato shaped leaves, rather than the highly indented common tomato leaves.

I really like the family of orb spiders that have set up home on my tomato plants. I know they are catching and eating bugs that would otherwise be feasting on my tomatoes. I think they are basically just called 'garden spiders' but I really find them interesting. They know when I come out to watch or photograph them. Some of them run off and hide in the closest leaves, and others just hang out in the middle of their web and tough it out. They watch me very carefully (no composite eyes like insects).

The yellow tomatoes are reasonably tasty, but they simply look so good that you will want them in any salad, or cut into sections with a touch of salt. They make a great visual contrast to the black (and really tasty) varieties.

Another variety that amazed my taste buds was the Green Zebra (no photo unfortunately, I ate them too fast). It doesn't turn red when ripe. It looks like it would taste totally sour, but No! It's amazingly sweet and flavorful!

There are a few varieties that I didn't grow this year but are on the list for next year. After tasting the Purple Calabash that my friend grew, I knew I wanted this tomato. It's thin skinned and ugly and is best eaten as soon as possible after harvesting. It's so good!

My first few fruit developed blossom rot so bad that I had to compost them. I think it was a problem with consistent watering (which is difficult with container plants) and that the tomatoes were growing their leaves and stems so fast early in the season that there wasn't enough energy and nutrients left over to keep the early fruit healthy.

As the season developed, my worst problem has been the cracking of the skin. Again I think it's a watering problem. I've been harvesting a touch early and letting the tomatoes ripen inside rather than let them crack on the vine.

Lots to learn for sure...


Erin said…
mmmm...I love the smell of ripe tomatoes from the garden. I'd love to try some of those varieties and grow my own some day!
The Turnbulls said…
Glad to have found your blog! You're tomatoes look amazing...there sure was a glut last year (2010). Here's hoping to similiar results this year. So much deliciousness to eat and preserve!
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