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.
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.
Lastly, the amount of tomatoes produced by a plant may be disappointing and these fruit are more vulnerable to Blossom End Rot – leathery bottoms!
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.
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.
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!
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!
Please email me if you have any questions or leave a comment below if you would like to.