Posts Tagged ‘tomato plant’


Unless you are planning on making ketchup, or canning a year’s supply of tomatoes, one pack of seedlings purchased in the spring is likely to provide you with all the tomatoes you want come fall. However, in order to enjoy a variety of tomatoes, I purchased four different kinds and three of the four our now ripening. The last, Brandywine, requires a longer season, and no fruit is yet ripe.


The remaining three varieties all have names that include “sweet”. Pictured above are Sweet Million, a popular cherry tomato. The plants are well-loaded with fruit and the little tomatoes are firm. They work well in salads, or as a snack.


These are Sweet Gold. One review I came across notes: “These tomatoes are naturally sweeter than red cherry varieties with a fruitier taste. Once you taste them, you’ll be spoiled forever.” Now that I have tasted them, I have to agree. The Sweet Golds are noticeably sweeter than the Sweet Million tomatoes, and juicier. Perhaps because of this last feature, they are also more prone to splitting that the Sweet Millions, making them a bit less attractive. Their orangey-gold colour makes them a nice accent to add to a plate of sliced red tomatoes.


Ultrasweet produces nice, medium-sized fruit. The tomatoes have a very nice, sweet flavour and good texture and I prefer them to locally-grown tomatoes I purchased at the market. The tomatoes do seem prone to developing concentric cracking around the stem end. According to Carolyn Male, concentric cracking is a genetic characteristic and can’t be prevented.


A few tomatoes have also had longitudinal cracking. Ms. Male notes that when ripe tomatoes split from top to bottom it usually indicates heavy rains or overwatering. The skin of the mature tomato can’t expand any more in response to the absorption of water, so the skin splits open. We certainly have not lacked for rain this summer.

If you start your own seeds in the spring, the sky is the limit when it comes to tomato varieties. Greta’s Organic Gardens, in the Ottawa area, offers some 200 varieties of tomato seeds! I’ve never done much seed-starting myself, but in the dark days of winter, it is lovely to browse through the pages of seed catalogues and garden books. A very enjoyable book for browsing on tomatoes is Carolyn Male’s 100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden.

Tomato book

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I took advantage of a bare patch of ground in the front yard to plant a few annuals. For a bright splash of summer colour in the garden, there really is no match for a grouping of quick-growing annuals. In addition to some shorter orange and yellow marigolds, I planted a selection of taller plants, including an amaranthus variety with bright wine-red and pink leaves.


Behind the amaranthus is a grouping of “White Queen” cleome.


Their unusual, spidery flowers add a touch of the exotic. What a fabulous return on a small spring investment in a six-pack of seedlings!


At the rear is bright pink “Silver Cup” lavatera.


The Four O’Clocks (Mirabilis jalapa) are so named for their habit of opening late in the afternoon. These particular blooms could be called Nine O’Clocks! It is nearly dark before they begin to open and the best time to view them is early in the morning, before they begin closing again for the day.


Three tall sunflowers are blooming at the back of the pack.


But there’s more than meets the eye in this pretty picture. Look closely, just in front of the sunflowers, and you may see some green vegetable vines.


Although sadly under-attended and outgrown by their flowery companions, a half dozen tomato plants have soldiered on and are producing fruit.


Was there ever a better treat than a juicy, midsummer tomato, straight from the garden? Mmmm!

When Fiddlegirl was here last, she told us about a visitor to whom she offered a cherry tomato, just picked. The visitor, sadly deprived of garden tomatoes her whole life, remarked “Is there something wrong with this tomato? It tastes funny. It’s so sweet!”
Considering how very easy it is to grow a few tomato plants, you’d think anyone with even a container on a balcony would avail themselves of this summer delight. They don’t know what they’re missing.


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