Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Little Piece of Earth: Tomatoes

Beefsteak -- Hybrids -- Romas -- Reds -- Yellows -- Better Boy -- Early Girl

Any of these names sound familiar :)? Well, if you've gone tomato-plant shopping recently, you'll know what I mean. More options than a Payless store full of shoes!!! In our present deep freeze, I can only DREAM of the warm spring evenings when I will browse the nurseries, select stocky looking plants, and come home and nestle them root-deep in warming soil.

And until then, I intend to do a little research :).

I always get overwhelmed when I go plant shopping, because there are a bazillion options (well, narrow that by about a million because of our zone 2/3 area!) and I don't know what to look for so I just randomly pick something that looks --  well -- tomato-y, and call it wonderful.

This year, I swear I'll do it differently :). I'll let you know how it goes....

Until then, here are a few pointers to help the selection process:

Beefsteak/Supersteak - great slicers for sandwiches and those great bbq burgers! Big Beef is a great new hybrid
Early Girl/First Lady - juicy, tangy, compact fruit; available varieties provide a range of plant sizes
Better Boy - Larger fruit than the Early Girl
Hybrids - can blend the "best of both worlds" - large, meaty tomatoes with more disease resistance and/or earlier yield
Yellows - lower acid taste; novelty
Romas - less seedy, firmer, fruit; great for canning, sauces and salads

Staking vs. Bush - Bush are more compact and require less support than the staking variety; however, that certain special tomato might be worth the extra staking effort!

Great questions to ask - what do I want to use these tomatoes for? Do I prefer bush or staking? Can I get a hybrid with the qualities I want in a tomato with the added benefits of scientific adjustments :P?

More info can be found in the T&T Seeds Online Catalogue

Oh yum. I can't WAIT until that first sun-ripened tomato sandwich!

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