For some gardeners there is only one size of tomato – a large one!
There is nothing quite like biting into a large tomato, with the juice oozing out like a melon. One thin slice can cover a whole sandwich and when they are fully ripe, the taste can be exceptional.

Large varieties for taste and a successful crop.

Brandywine & Cheese

I would recommend Brandywine, an old heirloom which comes in a number of different strains and colours. The pink (Sudduths Strain), dates back to around 1900 and there are also red and yellow varieties.

Caspian Pink which along with Brandywine is considered one of the finest tasting large tomatoes and lastly Oregon Spring which is a bush variety, unlike the other two just mentioned which are tall types.

Some of the disadvantages when growing large varieties is that the tomatoes usually take longer to reach maturity – they’ve got a lot more growing to do.

Also, if the weather is poor towards the end of the season, getting the fruit to ripen may also be difficult.

Caspian Pink

Lastly, the amount of tomatoes produced by a plant may be disappointing and these fruit are more vulnerable to Blossom End Rot – leathery bottoms!

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Of course the taste is what makes a great tomato, not quantity, and these three varieties excel in that department.

If you find these seeds difficult to obtain, you’ll get them from Plants of Distinction.

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Tomato Taste

Oregon Spring - Bush Variety

Much is written about the qualities of tomato taste, the sugar/acid balance, whether a tomato has a “traditional” taste or has the taste characteristics of a hybrid.

For those gardeners who grow outside, there is very little control over the amount of light or heat or moisture that plants receive, so tomato taste, or more importantly – intensity of taste, can be a bit of a lottery.

Too Much Water Affects Taste
The fact is that every variety has its own unique taste, but when plants receive too much water by over-watering or too much rain, the taste also suffers and is “watered down” or diluted.

This is because the nutrients that a plant absorbs greatly affect the taste intensity and too much water can dilute nutrients to the point of causing nutrient deficiency and loss of taste.

One Lump or Two?
If for example, you like two teaspoons of sugar in your tea and you need two sugars otherwise you can’t function in the morning, you could have one cup of tea with two sugars (best choice), or four cups of tea with half a teaspoon in each.

The problem is that a plant can only absorb so much liquid, depending on temperature and the amount of leaves it has – so if it can only drink one cup that contains only half a teaspoon of sugar, it only gets a half of sugar, even though it may need two (not good).

The result is, the plant is under-fed and over-watered because the nutrients (sugar in my example) are reduced.

There’s probably a much simpler way to explain this!

Of course there are other things that contribute to tomato taste such as sun and temperature to name just two, but water and nutrients are two things that we have some control over.

Sow-a-Long
Starts on Friday, 4th of March and will follow the progress of a sowing of tomato seeds, on a weekly basis, through to the end of the season.

If you would like to join in, you’ll need seeds, a small bag of new seed or multi-purpose compost and a few pots to get started, so why not join me!

Next week
we’ll discuss various types of compost and whether or not to feed seedlings – are we killing them with kindness?

Another podcast will appear tomorrow on the subject of watering from below rather than above and why it matters!

Best wishes,
Nick

Please email me if you have any questions or leave a comment below if you would like to.

4 Responses

  1. Derek
    | Reply

    Thank you for the newsletter, you’re dealing with issues that I want answers to 🙂
    I intend to join you in the sow along, I think it will be interesting seeing our progress since I’m all the way in East Africa.
    I’ll try to post some pics and vids, I hope there will be provision made for that.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Derek,

      If you have any pics or videos, just send me the pics by email and the links to the videos and I’ll put them on the website.
      It will be great to see the progress of your plants from a warmer part of the world!

      Regards,
      Nick

  2. Jim Gorman
    | Reply

    I would like to have some help with all types of veg as I am 70 years of age and permanently in a wheelchair I wiil be growing in pots as I do not have a garden but I do have a greenhouse that the wife bought for me.
    jimjk ngorman

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Jim,

      I recommend runner beans and seed potatoes to get started in growing veg.
      Runner beans and potatoes can both be grown in containers of different types, and the great thing about growing in containers is that you won’t need to reach down to floor level to pick them or dig the potatoes out of the compost.
      I like to grow potatoes in heavy duty gravel sacks – any first early variety is good to plant in March or April.
      I’ll send you more info. shortly.

      Best wishes,
      Nick

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