I’ve got tomatoes on the brain these days. Last weekend I had a table at Seedy Saturday at the Brickworks here in Toronto and the highlight was trading for some new tomato varieties. I walked away with at least ten new varieties feeling like a kid in a candy shop. That giddy feeling hasn’t worn off. I love tomatoes! The hard part comes next in deciding which to grow.
Later, when I got home from the event I took stock of my total tomato seed collection and was shocked to discover that I have collected over 130 varieties. I had never bothered to count before now. No wonder I have a harder and harder time narrowing down the list that will end up in the soil each year!
Last year was my best tomato season ever. By the time the hard frost hit we had harvested 110lbs of ripe fruit (NOT including cherry or currant varieties) plus another 30 or so pounds in green tomatoes. I don’t think I grew more plants than I have in the past as there were years when I was able to split the plants up between 3 gardens, and I recall one year just under a decade back when I was able to fit 16 plants into the community garden plot, plus the same on the roof. I think the windfall came down to even better, sunnier growing conditions and a really hot summer.
With an abundance of fruit and really healthy plants, I was able to save more seed last year than ever before. I have a generous collection of unusual varieties that are hard to find and more than I will trade, so this year, on a lark, I’ve decided to sell some. This is not a money making scheme by any stretch and will *maybe* make enough to pay me back for the amount of time I have put into it. Still, I couldn’t resist and I have to admit that I had a lot of fun designing the packages!
You can see all of the varieties I have on offer over here. I have a few more that I might do up, but these were the best, the hardest to find elsewhere, and most are very good for small space gardeners. I especially know you’ll love ‘Hahms Gelbe Topftomate,’ an insanely productive plant considering its diminutive size. I get a lot of questions about that one and people are always amazed by its beauty. This is your tomato if you only have a 1 foot square of space that receives full sun.
The surprise breakout star of last season’s planting was ‘Maglia Rosa.’ I’ve grown enough varieties by now that I no longer hold too much hope for the particularly gorgeous, striped tomatoes. Some are indeed very good, but many of the most ornamental types tend to be a let down in some way, whether its in taste, texture, or productivity. We absolutely loved this variety and I found that it made an especially good oven dried variety. It’s got a nice compact size that I am betting would work well in an extra large container like a garbage can.
I am planning to grow it again this year, but even I can’t say for certain that it won’t get knocked out of the running at the last second by some strange new weirdo that captures my imagination on a whim. Alas, there are so many incredible tomatoes to try yet, and never enough space to grow the number that my heart desires.
UPDATE: WOW! These sold fast. There are just a few more left. I am away this weekend but I do have a few more ‘Hahms Gelbe’ that I will post upon return.