If you are ready to start those tomato seeds, hold on for some great advice from your neighbors. My friend is starting seeds in his greenhouse and we put out the call for people's favorite varieties. We received such an overwhelming response, we needed to share even more this week.
"Celebrity, Celebrity, Celebrity!" That is the variety John Trendell likes to grow. He has had a garden since1993. "I really just stumbled on Celebrities about four years ago. It has a good size, they are meaty, juicy, taste great, and are good producers. I can make tomato juice, salsa, marinara, and spaghetti sauce. I planted 17 plants last year and put up 104 quarts of tomato products."
Carol Yonov also votes for Celebrity. "I saw your article so I'm putting in my two cents," she said. "I will only grow either Celebrity or Champion. These are smallish tomatoes but very meaty. Since we don't have a really sunny spot in our yard I don't start picking until the season is almost over... but they are good and I've never had a problem growing them. In 20 years I bet I've only tossed less than a handful."
She has an amazing fertilizer. "Its called Tomatoes Alive made by Gardens Alive and is wonderful. A couple tablespoons when planting and another dose when the first flower comes, that's it."
Have you tried Fireball? Doug Fisher grows them in his clay soil in Riga. His Alpaca farm, Alpacas of Cross Trails, is just down the road from my parent's home. He says they amend their soil with manure from their alpacas.
"For an all around good tomato we found the (Fireball) being the best for firmness, long keeper and very tasty. It was a very popular tomato many years ago and we found the seeds in Canada. We still like Brandywine for a late variety, even though it isn't a very attractive tomato. But it is very delicious."
Leslie Shanteau likes to grow Amish Paste tomatoes. "I plant about six varieties each year and have been growing tomatoes for over 30 years. Amish Paste make good paste and are good slicers. I also like Gardener's Delight because they are a self seeding cherry tomato and taste like regular ones."
Stupice and Tommy Toes
Ken Robison said he plans to grow three varieties this year. "Stupice is a good tasting very early tomato. It has lots of fruit all year long. I've grown this for three years. I also like Tommy Toes. It is a very sweet cherry tomato and can be used in a salad or just eaten by the hand full. I first grew this about 50 years ago.
And he said he will round out his tomato planting with Sunset's Red Horizon. "I like to grow this one because it is a good slicer tomato with an old time tomato taste. Last year was my first for this one, but it replaced Brandywine for me. I save seeds from them so I can start my own in mid March."
Last week, we had tomato growers searching for their favorite seeds, and dozens of you have come to her rescue. One reader was looking for Oxheart seeds and many of you are finding those rare seeds at tomatofest.com.
Now, get out there and get growing.
Contact Kelly Heidbreder at firstname.lastname@example.org.