When I moved to my next apartment, I tried to grow a tomato in a north-facing window box. I have always been an optimistic gardener. After we came home from living in New Zealand, I covered a patio with tomatoes in containers along with all kinds of flowers. I think the gardening prowess in New Zealand must have rubbed off on me because I came back a much better gardener, despite not doing any gardening there.
I’ve been growing tomatoes for 20 years now and I have never started one from seed.
That’s about to change. This year I’m going to be starting most of my tomatoes from seed (I’m allowing myself an out to buy a couple plants that might catch my eye).
It’s not that I’m afraid to start tomatoes from seed. It’s quite the opposite: I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop starting tomatoes from seeds.
I have room for about eight tomato plants in my garden and various containers and that’s probably pushing it. Every packet of seeds has about 25 seeds in it. And yes, I can give away excess plants. But will I?
I’ve struggled more than a little with making my selections as well. Depending on the source you consult, there are between 3,000 and 10,000 types of tomatoes. I need eight or fewer.
I picked up Craig LeHoullier’s book Epic Tomatoes, which had information on several interesting sounding varieties as well as everything else you need to know about growing tomatoes. (The most interesting thing I learned is that not all suckers are bad and you don’t need to get rid of them all.
My personal priorities for tomatoes are:
- They have to grow and produce reasonably well in our short growing season.
- Taste. (Although I’ve never met a homegrown tomato that wasn’t 1,000 times better than a tomato from the store.)
- Disease resistance.
LeHoullier said his wife would never forgive him (or maybe divorce him) if he didn’t grow this tomato every year. This very small cherry tomato grows on large trusses and provides amazing flavor. If this one is as good as LeHoullier says it is, I don’t expect many of these to make it in the house.
This may be my favorite of all tomatoes and I can’t imagine not growing it (or substituting Black Krim) every year. It’s sweet and dark and meaty and everything I want a tomato to be.