5 Great Tomatoes for Cool Climates | Veggie Gardener (With Commentary from The Tomato Lady!)

this is a good article that I got in my email. it showcases early tomatoes. I  have grown all of these but Novia. I am carrying SubArctic, Legend, and Black Prince. Look for my My Two Cents Worth: I will tell you my thoughts on the variety.

Here’s a tip for early tomatoes. I will try it and let you know how it works. Or you can try it and let me know how it works for you. Flick the blossoms (they are self pollinating) or take a cotton swab/paint brush to pollinate your early tomatoes. Sometimes we don’t have the necessary wind or the bees aren’t out yet so they aren’t being pollinated, therefore no fruit. I don’t know why I never thought of this myself!

Tomatoes are very adaptive plants, and can produce fruit in a wide variety of climates and regions. Whether you live in zone 4 or in zone 10, you can grow tomatoes without too much trouble.Although this is true it is important to choose varieties that are well-matched for the climate you live in for the best results. Some tomato varieties perform best in very warm climates, while others are bred for better production in cooler climates.If you live in a cool climate (from zone 6 to zone 4) here are five tomato varieties that should thrive for your area.

Northern Exposure

Northern Exposure is a determinate tomato variety that performs very well in cool climates. They are generally ready to pick in about 67 days after transplanting outside which is great for shorter seasons.The compact size of this tomato plant makes them perfect for containers. According to my sources it is now sold on Burpee seed racks as Burpee Early Harvest Hybrid. I honestly don’t know why they change the names! My Two Cents Worth: I have grown this for sale but not put it in my own garden (I only have so much garden space). I have heard from my customers that they love this tomato. It is a very healthy plant in my greenhouse.

 

Sub Arctic

With a name like Sub Arctic you know this tomato does well in cooler, short climates. It is a determinate variety that produces four ounce tomatoes in about 42 days after transplanting.Ideal for short seasons in the north, or for a quick harvest in southern vegetable gardens. My Two Cents Worth: I love this tomato. Grew it for years but never put it in my garden until I had a leftover plant. I put it into an enormous container and loved, loved, loved it. They are a smaller tomato, about the size of a ping pong ball, sometimes larger and very sweet and bright red. I am offering this one this year.

Legend

The Legend tomato is another variety that produces well in cool climates and is resistant to late blight.It produces large fruit that can measure four to five inches in diameter and are a bright, glossy red color. This is one of the earliest maturing slicing tomatoes available. My Two Cents Worth: This is a lovely tomato, good flavor, consistent size, shape and color. Plus, it doesn’t want to take over the world. In my garden the fruit didn’t get to 5″ across but about the size of baseballs. I am offering this one this year.

Novia

The Novia tomato variety is an indeterminate that produces seven to nine ounce fruit and is very disease resistant.They contain a high level of lycopene which is a beneficial antioxidant. These tomatoes perform well in cooler climates, but can also be grown as far south as zone 9.

Black Prince

The Black Prince tomato variety comes from Siberia, so you know it is used to some cold weather and short seasons.This heirloom tomato features medium-sized fruit that are a deep red with green to purplish shoulders. They are loved for their rich, almost smoky tomato flavor and excellent hardiness in cold temperatures. My Two Cents Worth: This is very pretty tomato. One of those that are considered “black” Mine were a dark, dusky puprle with green shoulders and about the size of large eggs. The inside is a  beautiful dark red and the taste is good but I honestly don”t get the “smokey”  flavor. I think that is a trick of the mind!  I am offering this one this year.

Source: 5 Great Tomatoes for Cool Climates | Veggie Gardener

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The Letter of the Day T: “T” is for the Tomato, Tumbler and the Pepper, Tabasco

Tumbler

Specially bred for hanging baskets. Bushy plants look fantastic mixed with lobelia and alyssum. Sweet, bright red fruits. We sell them in the small pots and as baskets. Perfect for someone who wants to hang it on their balcony or patio. Determinate, early

This is a picture of one I had hanging on my patio. It is planted with flowers. Who says veggies can’t be pretty?

tumbler-for web

Tabasco- HOT

Originally from Mexico—and taking its name from a Mexican state—this small, very hot pepper’s a favorite in the South and East, where the plants can grow tall and are covered with the petite light yellow-green to red fruits. Best known as the pepper that lends the kick to the namesake hot sauce from Avery Island, Louisiana.TOBASCO

The Letter of the Day is J: “J” is for the Tomato , Jetsetter and the Pepper, Jimmy Nardello,

Jetsetter
Short season gardeners especially will be happy for this variety that doesn’t sacrifice size or flavor for early maturity. Tomatoes are at least 8 ozs. and often larger with really good, rich flavor. Yields are plentiful on vigorous plants that have lots of disease resistance. VFFNTA  Indeterminate, 64 days

jetsetter2-12

Jimmy Nardello
I love these peppers, they look fiery hot but they arent.

From the small village of Ruoti in the Basilicata region of southern Italy, this heirloom was brought to the states, and introduced in 1887. jimmy nardello

These are a popular frying pepper.

Growing 20-24″, these plants produce loads of long, thin peppers, up to 10″ long. 

The peppers are delicious and sweet. Cooked in a little olive oil, and grilled or fried, or chopped and used raw in salsas and salads. 

These peppers are perfect for pickling or drying.

 

The Letter of the Day is F: “F” is for Tomatoes, Fiorintino (Costoluto) and Fireworks

Fiorintino

tomato-fiorintino

My description on my website: A fantastic old Tuscan Heirloom variety with dark red skin and juicy delicious flesh. Shaped slightly flattened with fluted shoulders. Fruits are typically about 8 ounces, with a smoother shape than the heavily ribbed Costoluto Genovese. The flavor is high in sugar with excellent acid, making for outstanding taste that’s wonderful fresh or made into sauces. Fusarium resistant too!

My Notes: These were prolific and most were of a medium size. The taste was pretty good too. I liked to cut their tops off and stuff them with chicken salad. The fluted edges really stood out. Great for cooking and salsa.

Indeterminate, 80 days

Fireworks


My description on my website: This is one of the largest, earliest red slicing tomatoes available, and it has excellent flavor. Fireworks is an exceptional variety. Its bright red fruit are 6 to 8 ozs., round with a pointed tip, and borne quite heavily on vigorous plants.

My Notes: One of the earlies that is an indeterminate and a larger tomato which is unusual for an early tomato. Jetsetter and Siletz are all a good size. I will be growing it in my garden for myself this year. I had so many customers who raved about it’s size and taste that I need to see it for myself!

Indeterminate, 60 days

Tomato Terms: What Does It Mean When I Say…Early, Main and Late Season?

ImageSiberia This might be the earliest tomato ever – only 7 weeks from transplanting to table. Capable of setting fruits at 38 F on sturdy dark green plants. The fruits are bright red, 3 to 5 oz. and bunch in clusters. Also good for a patio. Determinate, 48 days

Along with these words usually comes a range of days in which you can expect to start eating tomatoes. (The days are from transplanting not sowing the seed).

Where I live, it can be colder in some areas than others. For instance, Deer Park, is about 10-15 miles north from Spokane. It has predictably colder weather and earlier frosts than we do. Their growing season is a lot shorter than ours and we aren’t geographically that far away. Cheney is colder plus they always have a lot of wind. Different growing conditions is a small area.

After reading my descriptions (www.thetomatolady.com) on my tomatoes or peppers, one of the things my customers ask is if it really will be ripe in 45 days or 60 days. I have to be honest with them and say I can’t give a definitive answer. There are so many variables involved in growing a garden. Weather, soil temps, amount of watering and fertilizing, where did they site the plant and variety.

The biggest one is  the weather, which we have no control over. Last June, it seemed like it rained avery day and was cold. That will keep plants sitting there, in the ground,  just waiting. (The only good thing about that is the plant is working on root development so that when it gets warm they have a good foundation to shoot up). I think I remember having a light frost in early June.

I would like to change my descriptions to early, mid, late and really late. It’s true that a Siberia or a Fourth of July will produce fruit before a late season variety such as Orange Russian or a Gold Medal.

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Gold Medal These are fabulous, reminiscent of Big Rainbow. A Ben Quisenberry tomato. Wonderful, 1-1/2 lb., yellow and red bi-color beefsteak tomato with pink marbeling in blossom end, thin skin and luscious sweet, well-balanced flavors. Indeterminate, 85 days

That being said, I have seen some early varieties (48-60 day) that are only about 2 weeks earlier than a 70-75 day tomato. There again it depends on a lot of variables.

It must be nice in the South where have you a longer growing season, if you have to wait longer to get them into the ground it’s ok because you won’t get a frost until November.

There are many ways you can extend your season. Some years  if you wait until all signs of frost are gone you won’t have any tomatoes. At some point you have to get them into the ground. Especially if you live in an area the gets an early fall frost.

I will discuss some ways in later posts

Tomatoes For Container Planting

Some tomatoes are more ideal for containers than others although you can put any tomato in a pot. Just be sure to make it a big pot. It will be constrained by the size of the pot. Determinates, meaning they grow 2-4 feet, are good choices. It will have plenty of room to grow and the pot won’t require as much watering due to it’s mass. A half wine barrel size is perfect. For those with small spaces that can’t accommodate a pot of that size, there are a few tomatoes that will grow quite nicely in a smaller pot than that just mentioned. Or you could try a hanging pot. One note: don’t expect to pick enough to put up 25 quarts of tomatoes. You will have enough to put into your salads and meals and if it’s a cherry tomato, enough to share with your friends. Below are few that I recommend:

 Better Bush Small, compact bush for patio, deck, or balcony containers; fruits to 8 ounces, with old-fashioned tomato flavor; from 3 to 4 feet tall; requires staking. Indeterminate, hybrid VFN, 68 days to harvest.

 Bush Early Girl Small, compact plants with top yield of 6- to 7-ounce fruits and very good flavor. Determinate, hybrid VFFNT, 54 days to harvest.

 Early Wonder Compact plant produces round, dark pink fruit to 6 ounces; full tomato flavor, great taste. Determinate, open-pollinated, 55 days to harvest.

 Patio Perfect for container gardening or limited space. Vines are extremely compact, yet produce medium-sized, deep oblate fruits that are smooth, firm and flavorful. This was a nice tomato and had surprisingly large fruits for a plant this size. Determinate, 70 days

 Mountain Princess  This early tomato from West Virginia has been grown for generations in the mountain climate of the state. Bright red and mildly  flavored, the 8 ounce fruit is round, smooth and solid.  A good short season variety that is also very productive. First introduced in the United States by Heirloom Seeds. Determinate, 68 days

 Season Starter Always grow the first tomato on the block with this super-fast determinate variety! It sets huge yields of juicy-sweet 6 oz fruits. Resistant to cracking, they hold on the plant very well after ripening. A great choice for northern climates, where the growing season is short. Determinate, 60 days

 Green Grape  – Personal Favorite These are the first, fully ripened green cherry tomato. You don’t expect them to be as yummy as they are when you bite into them. Fruits are delicious, juicy and sweet. They turn a lovely golden green when ripe and are wonderful straight from the vine. Mix with Sweet Million and Sungold cherry tomatoes for a rainbow  salad. Use in a large container planting on your deck. Determinate, 70 days

 Hundreds and Thousands  Hundreds Yes. Thousands? Not really, but you won’t go short of tomatoes with this variety. A single plant in a 13” basket produced a very impressive 504 fruits from the start of August until the end of September. The sweet, mini-cherry fruit measuring just 15 mm in diameter and are very flavorful. 

 Tumbler  Specially bred for hanging baskets. Bushy plants look fantastic mixed with lobelia and alyssum. Sweet, bright red fruits. Determinate, 45 days

 Polar Beauty  Developed in Alaska for colder climates, it bears small to medium-sized oblate tomatoes with a good, full tomato taste. Short, bushy plants are productive. Determinate, 63 days.

Siberia This might be the earliest tomato ever – only 7 weeks from transplanting to table. Capable of setting fruits at 38 F on sturdy dark green plants. The fruits are bright red, 3 to 5 oz. and bunch in clusters. Also good for a patio. Determinate, 48 day.

Bushtsteak This surprisingly compact (20-24”) plant is just loaded with large, flavorful tomatoes. Well-suited for a patio, small garden and containers, the dwarf plants offer big meaty fruit (8-12 oz.) and early maturity. Determinate, 65 days

Cougar Red  This is a new red tomato that has been grown and tested for cool summer temps with a short growing season. This meaty, medium sized fruit is good for home processing. The flavor is a good mixture of sugar and low acid. Plants of Cougar Red are vigorous and semi-determinate

Glacier Extremely early, cold-tolerant, high yielding special strain of tomato plant. Begins flowering when only 4” high. You can expect 2 to 3 oz. fruits with outstanding flavor for such an early tomato. Semi-determinate, 45 days

 

Pictured is a green grape cherry tomatoImage

 

Whew! Tomato Transplants Are All Done, 6500!

Took me almost four days but they have been relocated to their own little patch of heaven, a 3.5 inch pot! Better yet, I got the website up and updated with all of my 2013 varieties, all 161 of them. My peppers have been updated too, 41 varieties. If you are interested in tomatoes and peppers, check it out. There is a lot of info on how to plant them and grow them to great heights. Plus, you will be amazed how many kinds and colors there are.

the website address is:   http://www.thetomatolady.com

Watering Tomato and Pepper Plants

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Watering Tomato and Pepper Plants

After an initial watering from the top, we bottom water so as not to encourage damping off. They will wick it up from the bottom getting right to where it needs to go – the roots.

Starting Seeds Under Lights in the House

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Starting Seeds Under Lights in the House

This is a shelving rack with ordinary fluorescent lights hovering just above flats full of tomato plants. The lights need to be close to provide light and warmth otherwise the plants will get leggy