Monday, 7 March 2016

My Cherry Tomatoes Picks For 2016

2015 tomato growing wasn't the best for me, between the weather and me feeling rotten much of the time, I never really got to plant the main batch of tomatoes in the poly-tunnel. They sat in their little pots calling to me but, it was just too much work for me to get them planted and tend them. I did grow a selection in the greenhouse, mostly cherry types, with one or two experimentals and a couple of big beefsteaks. Oh and three Crimson Crush F1 plants outside (but that's another story.)  Luckily the greenhouse plants fruited well enough to take the edge of my worst tomato cravings and we ate some gorgeous tomatoes. I love cherry tomatoes!

This year I'm bringing back many of my favourite cherries to the greenhouse. Sungold have got to be pretty much at the top of my list. I love Sun Sugar F1 too, so very similar to Sungold. I'm not sure which of these two I like best, it often changes through the season as the flavours and sweetness develops.  

I'm introducing five new to me varieties, Amorosa F1, Bite Size, Garnet, Lucky Tiger and Sunrise Bumble Bee. Amorosa is a very red cherry, firm flesh with green gel, taste is meant to be good and sweet. Bite Size and Garnet are British bred and importantly open pollinated varieties (I can save seeds from ripe fruit and the resulting plants will be true to type).  They are from the same breeders, Gourmet Genetics, of Sweet Aperitif and Black Opal and Rosella. These three have all done very well here, easy to grow with good crops and they taste just delicious! I'm hoping the two new ones will follow in their footsteps and become firm favourites too.

Also new are Lucky Tiger and Sunrise Bumble, both open pollinated and have been bred in the USA by Artisan Seeds (Fred Hempel). I've grown several other varieties from Artisan including Blush and Green Tiger, Pink and Purple Bumble Bee and they really are beautiful looking tomatoes, unfortunately for me they don't taste as good as they look. Others would disagree, I'm hoping these two hit the mark for me this year. 

Here's my full list of cherries for the greenhouse (though you never know!)

Amorosa F1 *
Bite Size *
Floridity F1
Garnet *
Green Pear
Lucky Tiger *
Medovaya Kaplya
Suncherry F1
Sungold F1
Sungrape F1
Sunrise Bumble Bee *
Sweet Aperitif
Tigris F1

* varieties that are new to me this year. 
Sown in Jack's Magic compost 5th March and set in a Vitopod propagator. 
I'm hoping they combine to give a good selection of cherry tomatoes with different colours, shapes, stripes, anthocyanin and flavours. There should be something to snack on in the garden and also keep summer mealtimes supplied. Can't wait!

Monday, 29 September 2014

New Blog Started

I have started another blog at growingfoodsavingseeds.blogspot for all the non tomato entries I've been making and to run alongside Growing Food Saving Seeds forum or GFSS for short. The tomatoes were starting to get a little lost amongst posts for pink flowered and red podded peas!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Dancing Val (first published 2nd May 2014 now updated)

This cross is in it's early days, currently at  F2. I really like the two parent varieties, Dancing with Smurfs x Variegated Lange Ærmer (DWS x VAL), both bred by Tom Wagner and released by him not yet fully stabilised. See links Variegated Lange Ærmer , Dancing with Smurfs

I made this cross as there are such a varied lot of traits to go into the melting pot, with loads of potential for fruit colour, taste, shape, stripes and with or without 'antho'. Ideally cherry size would be good for me or perhaps a small saladette on strong healthy plants with great taste. I'd be particularly interested in any early plants and if I'm really lucky variegated foliage showing up in the mix too!

Dancing with Smurfs F1 x Variegated Lange Ærmer 

Dancing with Smurfs F1 x Variegated Lange Ærmer 

I had both round and oval fruit shapes in the F1 with faint anthocyanin showing on the shoulders and faint sparkling possible stripes. I've sown a mix of seeds from  the F1 plants, which will I hope give a range of types in the F2 plants. Just ticking some of the boxes will give interesting types and I'm looking forward to these progressing through the season. Updates to follow.

Update 10th June
A surprising number of the plants I'm growing out are determinate. I'm not sure why when both the parents are cordons, I guess it is the mix of unstable genes they have?

I only have a few plants that are variegated from this cross, I really like the looks of this one pictured below. I can't wait to see the colour of the ripe fruit and best of all tasting the first fruits!

DWS x VAL an elongated striped fruit with variegated foliage and
determinate growth habit.

Oh I forgot, looks like faint anthocyanin in the fruit too!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Blonde Boar

These gorgeous looking and tasting tomatoes are bred and developed by Brad Gates from Wild Boar Farms. I'm not normally a huge fan of yellow tomatoes as I find they tend to be on the mild side and lack the flavour balance I love. But I was knocked over by these, I loved the beautiful striped tomatoes, so very tasty and packed full of flavour. My plants this year are young yet, the first truss of flowers are forming, so I have quite a wait yet! I first grew them in 2012 alongside several other yellow striped tomatoes and for me Blonde Boar was by far the tastiest. 

Blonde Boar grown 2012, stripes are more noticeable whilst still green,
once fully ripe they are less striking.

Pictured, Yellow Furry Boar, White Zebra, Blonde Boar, Yellow Spot, Yellow
 Vernissage (Vernisazh Zheltyi) and bottom right hand corner Big Yellow
Zebra ( although the one just in shot is very small!

Savananas, bred by Tom Wagner

I grew these for the first time in 2013 and I am growing them again this year, sourced from Tom Wagner Seeds. Savananas, a combination of Ananas Noir and a greenhouse cluster type tomato, I'm unaware of their generation. Cordon variety with varied traits. 

I saved seeds from 5 plants, although I think I only have pictures from two plants, they are quite different from each other. 
A striped bi oval, orange/yellow.
Smaller red, crunchy flesh and good flavour
Thick walls, keeps well. Sweet, mild and tomatoey nice.
Red Heart shaped (pictured)
And one I saved seeds from but didn't describe for some reason.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Dancing with Smurfs x Black and Brown Boar F2

The parents
Dancing with Smurfs (DWS) is one of my favourite anthocyanin (antho) tomatoes, it does very well here. 

Black and Brown Boar (B&BB) was bred and developed by Brad Gates, it is a beautiful black, striped tomato with delicious flavour. The plants grow and crop well here. 

So from DWS x B&BB I'm hoping for a great tasting striped cherry with some antho, black striped would be great. I first made this cross in 2012, saving the resulting F1 seeds to be sown the following year. This year I have sown several F2 seeds and eagerly await their progression.

DWS B&BB F2 plant

DWS x B&BB F2 plant expressing anthocyanin in the

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Variegated tomatoes

I really like the beauty of variegated tomato plants, I started my collection with the variety Variegated (although incorrect it's sometimes called a Splash of Cream) and have gone from there. This year I bought 'Potato Leaf Variegated' bred by Keith Mueller and Cherokee Purple Variegated, which was named Faelan's First Snow by the person who found it growing amongst other Cherokee Purple plants at the nursery he worked at. The remainder are varieties I've bred and I'm hoping to develop over time. 
These are some of the plants I'm growing this season;

The variety 'Variegated', this plant has a lot of
Potato Leaf Variegated, young plant just waiting to be planted out.
Faelan's First Snow, healthy plants with some
variegation showing on the leaves. 
F3 selection, looks like it will be a Micro Dwarf type
Looking for a variegated heart
Love the variegated patterns on these potato leaves
Variegated Dwarf type, variegation is from paternal line.
I think pretty, looks a bit like frosting
A variegated F1, both parents have this trait.
Another variegated F1, looking for combination of traits but at some point
dwarf, potato leaf, slight possibility of stripes.
F3 selection
F3 potato leaf seletion
Unsure of this one as miss-labelled
Green Zebra Cherry x Variegated Lange Ærmer F1. I had
similar results with the F1's last year.
Small growing determinate
With Antho?