Twenty Years Ago
If you had visited the “tomato plants” area of a garden centre twenty years ago, you would have seen mainly tall, cordon varieties for sale such as the old favourites Moneymaker, Alicante, Ailsa Graig and Gardener’s Delight with perhaps a large, beefsteak variety too.
Cherry varieties, of the cascading type, were still largely undiscovered and the hobby of growing tomatoes was mainly for the really keen gardener with a greenhouse and lots of experience.
Popularity of Container/Patio Growing
Times have changed a bit since then, and cherry varieties for containers and hanging baskets have become extremely popular. Furthermore, many gardeners are finding that cherry plants often produce more weight in tomatoes than larger tomato varieties!
For me, growing cherry/bush varieties in large containers produces the best results. My cherry toms are always the first to mature each season and produce, not only the biggest quantity, but the heaviest weight in tomatoes when compared to the beefsteak varieties.
Of course there are different sizes of “cherry” tomato – some of which are golf ball size and some are literally the size of a cherry that might sit on a cake. To complicate matters, those tomatoes that are the size of a cherry are really a “cocktail” size tomato!
I consider cocktail size tomatoes to be more for decoration and fun for kids than a serious addition to the food supply, but that’s just my opinion.
What I do know is that the taste of a Red Alert tomato, nearly golf ball size, is among the best tasting tomatoes I have ever tried and can hold its own when compared to even a Brandywine or Caspian Pink! These two large varieties are considered to be two of the best tasting toms on the planet!
A Variety of Varieties
However, for me it’s all about growing a variety of varieties and not puting all my hopes in just one! When grown outside, a variety can even change its taste from season to season – depending on the growing conditions.
Three larger Ones
This season I’m trying out a few new ones for me … the following heirloom’s –
- Hill Billy Potato Leaf from the USA
- Eve Purple Ball from Germany
- Black Russian from – mmm let me guess!
A sort of “around the world in tomatoes”. The idea of experiencing the same tastes as those who grew these wonderful tomatoes years ago, is an appealing idea.
If you have grown any of these varieties and would like to say something about them, please leave a comment below.
The three heirloom varieties all produce large tomatoes but I shall still be growing the cherry varieties of Red Alert, Maskotka, Tumbling Tom and Garden Pearl – I know which ones I’ll be eating first!
If you have a story, experience or would just like to write a few words about growing tomatoes please email me here.
The answers to this week’s quiz (quiz 2) may be found in the text above.