Notes from the Tomato Jungle

Well, we knew that we would be in for a lot of tomatoes this year, and boy oh boy, we were not wrong!

This photo had to be taken from an elevated position just to get everything in the shot!
This photo had to be taken from an elevated position just to get everything in the shot!

In a matter of just a couple weeks, we went from getting a few tomatoes a week to a healthy bowlful every day! We collected the haul picture above in less than a week. It’s bananas! Err…tomatoes. But still, bananas!

Not all of the tomatoes you see there came out of the “tomato jungle,” (i.e. one garden bed that was seeded and taken over by tomatoes from last year) but the vast majority have, and every day we harvest more and more. Concerning the mystery tomatoes, well, we have our best guesses as to possible hybrids, but we can say exactly what crossed with what to make what we’re eating today. Oh, and by the way, these tomatoes are utterly delicious! Every one that we’ve eaten, from raw to roasted, have been winners. It’s going to be terrible going back to “store” tomatoes over the winter. (Though we might no have to do that if we preserve right. We’ve got some upcoming and early canning plans, so fingers crossed!)

After going through the selection that we have, we identified the several listed below.

First off, we have some lovely Marmandes. We got these a little early, and they’ve been ripening very nicely. They should go further into a deep, rich red soon. (Though we may not be able to wait that long!) They taste very tomato-y, tart and a little acidic.


Next, we snagged some Yellow Gooseberry tomatoes (and lots more are on their way to ripening). We should have put something in this picture to help with scale, but these are much bigger than the tomatoes of the same variety we got last year. They are supposed to be cherry tomatoes, but they’re probably double in size of what you’d think of as an average-sized cherry tomato. These are not as sweet as the smaller tomatoes we got last year, but they are still very delicious, especially when roasted.


But speaking of sweet, the Sun Sugar Hybrid cherry tomatoes have got that covered! Though it’s a little hard to tell in the picture, these turn an amazing shade of gold when fully ripe (unlike the Yellow Gooseberries that turn bright, bright yellow). They are small, sweet, and are absolutely perfect on a salad of bitter greens.


We also hastily picked a few unripe Indigo Blue Berries, only to find a little something unique in the way they were ripening. Seems that the tomatoes don’t  or can’t ripen all the way when the leaves at the base of the stems are in the way of the sunshine! These we haven;t tasted yet as we’re waiting and hoping that they’ll ripen further.


So from the known tomatoes, we move onto the mysteries, the first of which are the Romas. Though we’ve planted Romas from seed the past few years, we’ve no idea what variety these tomatoes are. What we do know is that they are excellent in sauces. Unfortunately, we’ve found that our Romas are prone to internal…rotting? Not too sure what else to call it, but more often than not, we’ll cut open these particular tomatoes only to find black, moldy interiors. 😦


Then, we have some mystery cherry or miniature tomatoes of one sort or another. We’ve said before that some of these, particularly the larger of the small varieties, could be hybrids of larger tomatoes and either Super Sweet 100s or Rite Bites. The smallest of the small are definitely regular ol’ Super Sweet 100s, which is fine by us. Some of them are bright red, while other have pinkish hues. (No idea where that trait came from as we’ve never planted any pink varieties, at least not yet.) Some of them even show signs of developed ridges or lobes. What ever they are, they are simply good — sweet enough to eat like candy!


Then there are the cherry or miniature tomatoes that we definitely think have been influenced by Black Krims, a favorite, dark purplish tomato that we first planted a couple years ago. We planted them (from seed) again last year but they didn’t take very well. This year it seems that they hybridized with smaller varieties to produce some beautiful, dark mini-tomatoes! No complaints — some of these spruced up some pizza we had the other day. Sweet and tasty!


So that rounds out the tomato situation as it stands today. Over the coming weeks, we’ll no doubt be up to our elbows in tomatoes. It’s a little overwhelming, and it’s definitely putting our culinary skills to task. We’ll certainly be getting enough Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Potassium, and Lycopene (all present in tomatoes) this summer!

We’ll leave with a shot of some of this year’s ground cherries. Maybe we’ll get enough to cook with, but right now were getting enough to snack on. So wonderful!




4 thoughts on “Notes from the Tomato Jungle

  1. A Really Small Farm 07/28/2015 / 10:47 pm

    Lots of tomatoes and nice mystery ones, too. I’ve had problems with a black rot inside my paste tomato varieties. It looks like an internal mold that affects the seeds and seed cavity. No clue as to why it happens. I just cut out the bad parts and cook up the good.

    • Garden State-ments 07/29/2015 / 8:27 pm

      Yes, that’s exactly the problem we have as well with any elongated tomatoes we try to grow. As long as the internal damage isn’t bad, we’ll salvage what we can. But it’s always disappointing to cut open what looks like a great tomato only to find that it’s not. We figured soil conditions and watering might be our issue, so it’s interesting to know that we’re not alone in dealing with this problem.

      • A Really Small Farm 07/29/2015 / 9:02 pm

        I’ll keep track of my paste tomatoes regarding the black mold. The weather has been dry lately but there’s still a month left for that to change.

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