Monday, August 29, 2011

Banner year for tomatoes

Although many people on the Front Range may be tired of summer heat, there is always a plus side. One is that it has been a banner summer for productive tomatoes. This is due to hot days but more so to warm nights. Many nights have been in the sixties degrees F instead of fifties as is so often the case in Front Range summers.

After a cool May and transplanting better delayed until the first week in June, some people were despairing of realizing a tomato yield due to a late start. This has obviously resolved itself and many varieties are showing good performance.

In full sun, 80 day heirloom 'Cherokee Purple' in our garden is doing as well as 73 day modern 'Big Beef'.

Three short season varieites tried this year are of note. 70 day 'Azoychka' from Russia (photo above right) is a mild acid, yellow fruited type that is producing well. A 68 day pink Asian type, 'Zhefen Short' (photo left) from China is yielding a good crop of nice plump fruit. The heirloom 75 day 'Black Cherry' (photo right) is also bearing nicely.

Shorter season types of 70 days or less including 'Early Girl' (62 days) and heirloom 'Stupice' (52 days) from Czechoslovakia (photo right) are still good bets especially if you have only part day sun or a cooler location. They bear early and can perform well in summers that don't have warm nights. Both have produced well for us this year.

Harvest from the demonstration garden at our Denver office is donated to feed the hungry. Consider donating your excess bounty to a local food pantry or soup kitchen.

Photo credit: 'Azoychka', 'Zhefen Short', 'Black Cherry', 'Stupice' tomatoes - All Carl Wilson.

1 comment:

  1. I did Cherokee Purple and Azoychka last year. Azoychka produced like crazy, but at some point later in the summer, they started tasting terrible. I didn't get enough output from Cherokee Purple to do it again this year.

    This summer, I tried Amish Paste, Mountain Princess, and Pruden's Purple. All are doing well.