Choosing tomatoes

Canned tomatoes - satisfaction in a jar...

Canned tomatoes - satisfaction in a jar...

I started my tomato seeds this week. 

The ground my garden is in has been home to a vegetable garden for probably the last 50+ years (by the previous home owner and then by me). Even though I rotate and mulch and stake and all, I still have some challenges with tomato disease – especially leaf spot.  Looking around my neighborhood I think it’s pretty common.

So I’m always on the lookout for tomatoes that can resist the disease and still bear well. I like to can and make sauce, so I grow more than 20 plants each year.

There is an amazing variety of tomatoes to choose from.  It’s a bit mind boggling to me.  I defiantly have a “oohhh, new and shiny” kind of attitude. It can get me in trouble because every year I find myself trying new varieties.  Sometimes it works out, other times not so much.

I do have one I grow every year though (at least since I found it about 4-5 years ago).  It’s called “Amish Paste”.  It’s an heirloom that is kind of a cross between a plum and an ox heart, so it’s not too seedy, great for canning but can still be used as a slicer. It has great flavor and bears well for me.  It seems to resist the leaf spot even better than some of the modern hybrids.

I also always grow some “Big Beef” because I love harvesting some of those big slicers.  This year I’m trying a Roma called Paisano and and a new variety called Damsel (I know.... ohhh... shiny...).

A flat of tomato seeds, getting some bottom heat from the house radiator.

A flat of tomato seeds, getting some bottom heat from the house radiator.

I’m also growing an heirloom called German Johnson.  I’ve grown Brandywine and Cherokee Purple.  While I like the heirloom taste, these varieties really don’t produce well for me.  German Johnson is supposed to be an improvement (and hey, the catalog wouldn’t lie right??)

Sigh.... I’ll report back and let you know how it goes...