I've been in love with Tomatoes for as long as I can remember. There is nothing like standing in your own garden eating a fresh tomato with nothing more than a sprinkle of salt.
I read a book about growing tomatoes a million years ago and I have been planting tomatoes based on the recommendations in that book ever since, with minor variations.
I dig a 1 to 2 foot deep hole, depending on the soil quality, the worse the soil, the deeper the hole. Fill the hole with composted steer manure, add a handfull of Super phosphate, bonemeal, organic fertilizer, worm castings and mix well with the native soil that came out of the hole.
Trim your tomato seedling of all the lower leaves with gardening shears, so there is just a few inches of leaves at the top (like a little umbrella) Plant the tomato deep in the hole so about an inch of the stem and the leaves you have left are above ground. With your feet, tamp down the soil around the tomato plant. Water well with a dilute solution of a B-12 starter fertilizer. Use a 1 inch section cut from a toilet paper tube as a cutworm collar. Cut a slit in the cardboard and slip it around the tomato stem.
I also use Wall- O - Waters around the tomatoes I plant in the early spring. They protect the tomato plants when nights are still cold. Using the Wall-O-Waters I can be eating a few tomatoes the end of June, first week in July.
Since the Heirloom Tomato craze started about 10 years ago, I have tried many different tomato varieties. The last few years I have stuck with my favorites, trying out 1 or 2 new tomatoes occaisionally that sound interesting.
My tried and true favorite tomatoes are, in order of preference:
- Pineapple - Large sweet yellow heirloom tomato with excellent flavor. When cut the center displays a lovely spiral of red thru the yellow meat.
- Stupice - The earliest tomato to produce and the last on the vine. Smaller tomato, 2 - 3 inches in diameter, with a taste that is reminiscent of a beefstake
- Brandywine - Love the old time tomato flavor, not a great producer and it takes a while but worth the wait.
- Pruden's Purple - Similar flavor to Brandywine but a few weeks earlier
Not so Favorite Tomatoes I have tried
- Old German Striped - Mealy texture here in the Northwest, not the sweet flavor that I love
- Early Girl - Why anyone would grow this tomato when there are so many other great tasting tomatoes is beyond me. Watery mealy texture, sour flavor.
- Miss Lillian's Yellow tomato- Insipid taste, mealy texture, small size.
- Mortgage Lifter - Mealy texture, bland flavor, did not produce well here in the Pacific Northwest for me.