Friday, October 23, 2009

Evaluate tomato performance

Before memories fade, now is the time to evaluate what tomato varieties performed well for you this season.

The tomato variety that performed best in my southwest Denver garden was ‘Yellow Taxi’ (64 days, photo left) This was followed by the widely adapted All American Selection, ‘Celebrity’ (70 days). ‘Large Red’ (heirloom 82 days), ‘Sun Cherry’ (58 days) and ‘Green Zebra’ (heirloom 75 days) were poor performers. All were sorely tested by the July 20 hailstorm that hit the western Denver Metro area. ‘Yellow Taxi’ and ‘Celebrity’ recovered and produced.

The cool, early summer this year affected all Front Range tomato gardeners. Longer season varieties struggled more than others. Keep in mind that if you have part day shade, your days to harvest becomes longer because it takes 1 ½ of your part shade days or so to chalk up one day on the published days to harvest rating. For you, choosing short days to harvest varieties is a must.

What tomato varieties performed well for you in 2009? Make your notes to guide your choices in future years. Share your experiences with our readers and help everybody. Do note your location in your comment.

Photo credit: ‘Yellow Taxi’ tomato fruit, Carl Wilson


  1. I planted 2 varieties of cherry tomato:

    The Sweet 100 did great - slow starting in May, but perked up, spread out, and produced at least 40-50 fruit.

    Husky Cherry Red started out well, then caught some kind of blight. It only produced about 10 fruit and they tasted bad.

    These are both cheap varieties that I bought live at Home Depot.

  2. San Marzano and Super Marzano are two Italian paste tomatoes that worked well for me this year. They produce a lot of fruit per plant and were some of the earliest ripening varieties in my garden this year.

    I had some 1.5 lb. Striped Germans but had to bring them inside to finish ripening. I imagine they'd do really well in a warmer summer.

  3. I did not have great success with the Big Boys and Early girls. They developed something that made the tomatoes mushy. Being a novice at identifying causes, I don't have a clue yet as to what it was. However, my cherry tomatoes produced thousands of tomatoes off of just 6 plants. This is no exaggeration. I can only think that the soil in that location had a extra layer of amended soil and compost. They had such a good flavor too.