Tomato Progress & Selection

I’m always trying to think of different ways to compare the different cultivars. In the early days (when I was even keener) I weighed the harvest from each of the different cultivars to see whether there were significant differences that would influence my decisions as to what to grow.

What I learned was that there is significant difference between individual plants of the same cultivar and that therefore using the quantity as a measure was not a good idea. (Do you reject a cultivar because it happens to have a few “bad plants”.

Taste is easier but more personal. There are fruits that I like but my better half doesn’t and you can almost certainly guarantee that cherry tomatoes will have a sharper taste than beefsteaks. Again, if anything, I’ve learned that ripeness is the most important thing, picking fruit before its ripe will (in all probability) lead to a less pleasant tasting tomato but leaving them for too long to go overripe in general will result in something that loses flavour. (That said, there are some cultivars that never seem to have a decent flavour and others where I struggle to decide if they are ripe or not).

Then there’s resistance to pests & disease. Some cultivars seem to be more likely to get Blossom End Rot regardless of what you do and (in my growing conditions) late ripening cultivars are more likely to get mould as they have to stand through some of the autumn and perhaps into early winter. Blight is also a problem if growing tomatoes outdoors. However, I’ve found it unlikely under cover and away from allotments.

So this year I am keeping a record of how long it takes the cultivar to go from seed to first (and last) harvest. That will allow me to compare and contrast another aspect of the cultivars and to confirm the figures I’ve included in the descriptions.

Watch this space to see the answers for the 30+ cultivars I’m growing this year.