It has been my experience, tomatoes planted late are far superior to early or standard planted. As the temperatures start to cool down, you get better flower set and consequently better fruit.
I prefer to cage my tomatoes for better foliage cover to reduce the chance of sun-scald. Heirloom tomatoes have superior taste and texture. However, the plants can exceed the size of the cage!! Next year I plan to grow the plants on 5 foot centers to allow for easier harvesting and increased air circulation.
BTW, the plant to the left of Papa is a variety called Granny Cantrell. This beloved heirloom has quite a following. The plant to the right is Daniel’s, which produces very large pink red fruit and appears to be well suited for our Missouri Ozarks climate.
The above variety has the unusual name of “1884”. The plant was discovered after a flood in West Virginia in 1884. This beauty weighs in at 1 pound 10 ounces. BLT sandwiches are written all over it!!!!
Kellog’s Breakfast is the name of this bright yellow/orange sweet confection. Boasting a good balance of sweetness and acidity with few seeds make Kellog’s Breakfast a highly desirable choice.
The expanded list of tomatoes grown are:
- 1884 – large pink/red beefsteak
- Black Prince – small purple/red 2-3 oz
- Black from Tula – medium red/purple, meaty/few seeds
- Coyne – red Roma type, large 4-8 oz
- Daniel’s – large pink/red beefsteak, many over a pound
- German Johnson – medium pink/red beefsteak, one of the parents of Branywine
- Granny Cantrell – medium/large pink/red beefsteak, plants are huge!
- Hannah – medium/large, pink/red oxheart, meaty, few seeds
- Hazelfield Farm – pink/red, medium beefsteak, well adapted to hot/humid
- Kellog’s Breakfast – large yellow/orange beefsteak, sweet and meaty
- Mary Robinson German Bicolor – large, red/yellow, beefsteak
- Omar’s Lebanese – large pink/red, may exceed 3 pounds
- Pineapple – large, yellow/red, very sweet and juicy
- Pink Boar – pink with green streaks, small 3-4 oz
- Rutgers – small, orange/red old fashioned for canning, juicing
- San Marzano Lungo #2 – 3-4 0z Roma type for sauce and paste
It never ceases to amaze me, how traditional tomato eaters are about the color of their tomatoes. As one man said to me “If it ain’t red, I ain’t going to eat it”. However, when they try the different colored tomatoes, they often change their mind.
For the Ozarks, start your tomato seeds the second week of May and plant your seedlings the first of July. Your tomatoes will start coming in by late August through October. BTW, for you market gardeners, late tomatoes command a higher price by late September/October due to limited supply.
Plant late, I promise you, you will not be disappointed!