I’m waiting until after the new moon to start tomato seeds. It’s a little later than I’d usually start, but I’m counting on the boost of the waxing moon to move them along.
I start tomatoes in a germinator, or channel flat. That gives me a little more time before they take up all the space on my light shelf along with the peppers and eggplant–about enough so I can harden off and transplant out all the leeks and onions into the garden to get them out of the way. The germinator flats have twenty channels, so I’m starting a different variety in each. I’ll probably start 15-20 seeds in each channel.
Below is a list of all the varieties I’ll be starting this year. I may be bringing a few of each to the Farmers Market. I had a lot of positive feedback on the choose-your-own 4-packs I brought last year.
As usual, the only hybrid I’m growing is the Sungold Cherry, but I’m trying a new yellow cherry this year with seeds sourced by one of my garden partners. All the others are open-pollinated, and many are heirlooms, though heirloom designation is a little tricky–some catalogs list some of these as heirlooms that others don’t.
Coyote Cherry (Heirloom) (new to me): small, slightly soft whitish yellow cherry.
Sungold Cherry (F1 Hybrid): golden orange fruit-tasty cherry–slightly soft as well, which makes it a good local market tomato.
Black Cherry (Open-pollinated): larger cherry with greenish shoulders up til it’s perfectly ripe. Nice purplish color, and the great flavor of black tomatoes. Dries nicely, too.
Red Pear (Heirloom) (selecting for thicker, non-cracking necks): Red pears are a nice addition to mixed cherry tomato packs, and they also can be dried or added to sauces, as they’re not as juicy as a standard cherry. They do have a tendency to crack, which is why I’m selecting ones with thicker necks that don’t crack as easily.
Red Currant (Heirloom): In the second year, this is still sort of new to me because the plants I put in last year didn’t make it. I’m trying again, as I’d like to have little sprigs of tiny tomatoes for garnishes, putting on top of mixed cherry tomato packs, etc.
Polish Linguisa (Heirloom): Really lovely long sausage-shaped sauce tomato that is also good for slicing–great flavor. Plants are a little finicky and don’t produce a lot. I’m working on it, and have selected a tougher, better-producing variety.
Principe Borghese (Heirloom): Smaller apricot-sized sauce and drying tomato that is very prolific, even under stress.
San Marzano (Heirloom): Prolific, very dry Italian paste and sauce tomato. Great even under stress, long-term yields.
Cuore di Bue (new to me): Continuing my fascination with weird-shaped tomatoes, this is a string-purse shaped tomato from Territorial Seeds with reportedly excellent flavor and great sauce ability.
San Marzano x Zapotec (spontaneous cross I’m stabilizing): This has shown up my the garden for a few seasons now, after saving Zapotec seeds from 2006. It’s a very dry, three or four-lobed sauce tomato–very prolific.
Stupice (Heirloom): One of the best new tomatoes I’ve tried–small round red tomatoes on potato-leaf plants that start producing really early (earlier than determinate tomatoes) and continue through the season. Nice flavor too, and really prolific.
Ananas Noire (new to me): Another “ugly” tomato–dark red with green shoulders and multi-colored within. Interested to try the flavor, supposed to be prolific.
Yellow Perfection (Heirloom): I can’t quit this potato-leafed variety that produces small yellow tomatoes regardless of weather. They have thin skins, so a tendency to crack in hot, dry weather, but they also ripen nicely off the vine, and make good green pickled tomatoes.
Nyagous (Open-pollinated): One of my favorite new varieties in the last couple years–smaller than a baseball, larger than a golf ball black tomato that replaced Black from Tula in my black tomato line-up. Great flavor and prolific–less tendency to crack than Tula.
Japanese Trifele Black (Heirloom): Black pear-shaped tomato I tried last year. It was in a bad spot, but still produced some good tomatoes, so I’ll try it again.
Nebraska Wedding (Heirloom): Medium-sized orange slicer. Nice flavor, and very pretty.
Hillbilly Potato Leaf (Heirloom): Gorgeous big yellow tomato with red streaks on the inside. Not as tasty as “Rainbow” or “Pineapple” in my opinion, but it’s still yummy.
Purple Calabash (Heirloom) (new to me): Via Territorial Seeds–a grooved purple slicer said to have good flavor.
Zapotec Pleated (Heirloom): One of my favorite tomatoes–really grooved and strange-looking red tomato with amazing flavor.
And I’ll also put Mexican Strain tomatillos in the flat.
The reason I don’t grow a standard big red slicing tomato is that all the bigger truck farmers grow tons of them. I’m happy in my weird, heirloom, and “ugly-tasty” tomato niche.