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Kitchen Gardening

How Do You Choose Which Tomato Varieties to Grow?

So many heirloom tomatoes; so little space.

  • The dark ones are 'Black Prince' heirloom tomatoes - the green striped ones are 'Green Zebra'. Aren't the fabulous?   Photo by nowviski under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.
  • Here's the wonderful 'Black Krim' heirloom tomato.   Photo by Rubber Slipper under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.

I don’t know about you, but I had a hell of a time trying to choose which tomato varieties I wanted to grow this season. Having a theme made it a little easier: heirlooms. Okay, so not that much easier. Considering there are hundreds and hundreds of those bad boys to choose from. But, I ended up narrowing them down to about 60 different varieties.

Of course, there was the most obvious reality check; I dwell in suburbia. Unless I wanted to grow close to nothing else, 60 tomato varieties were out of the question. That wouldn’t do because I had to have space for my ‘Golden Midget’ and ‘Moon & Stars’ watermelon and all things delicious here on the suburban farm. I’m also one of those that worries that if I grow just one plant from each variety, that I may lose that plant – and not get to bite into it’s fruit at all. Can’t have that.

So, I settled on 26 plants. How smart-gardener of me, right? I thought about what I would like to grow, then what it was actually possible to grow, and then made sure I had different colors, textures and types of tomatoes. Then I remembered – I wanted to compare certain varieties to one another. You know, my own up-close-and-personal taste test. I’d done it last year with ‘Brandywine’ and ‘Caspian Pink’, and for me, ‘Caspian Pink’ came out the clear winner. Some disagree – but not many.

This year I was going to try ‘Black Krim’ and ‘Black Prince’ in a side-by-side taste test, but inadvertently forgot to grow any ‘Black Prince’. It’s pretty late to start them from seed now. So, I’m asking my fellow tomato growers out there; have you done a taste-test between the two tomato varieties? What was your conclusion?

(And if anyone went crazy with ‘Black Prince’ tomato plants and started too many – let me know, m’kay?)

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