Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Tomato Lessoned Learned

The Andine Cornue tomatoes that I grew this year taught me this valuable lesson: It is not fair to judge the performance of a tomato variety, or really any vegetable, by growing only one plant.

The collage above shows three different Andine Cornue tomato plants on the same day at the same time (the day after the big frost), all grown from the same seed packet, planted side by side by side, same soil, same ammendments, same same same. If I had only grown the plant in the center I would have thought what a dud, never again because it started to decline early on and never did produce a decent tomato. The plant on the right grew pretty much as expected, with tomatoes that conformed to the description and to my experience with this variety in previous years. The plant on the left is extra vigorous, but the tomatoes are pink instead of red.

So, if I had grown only one of the seedlings that I started I had a good chance of not getting what I expected. That is, in fact, exactly what happened with one of my all time favorite varieties this year, the Aunt Ruby's German Green turned out to be a pink beefsteak.

I don't have the room to grow multiple plants of each variety that I want to grow, so perhaps I will have to give plants that don't perform as expected another try in a following year.

Another factor in how well a plant has performed for me is seed source. Paul Robeson in another one of my all time favorite tomatoes. I always thought that it was disease prone because my plants always succumbed to something when all my other tomatoes were still working hard. I always tolerated that because the tomatoes were so delicious. When I purchased new seeds from a different source my disease problems disappeared. The Paul Robesons that I've grown with the new seeds are some of the best performers and are just a delicious as ever.


  1. So, what was your source for the Paul Robeson seeds this year?

  2. The seeds were from Association Kokopelli, which a friend purchased while she was in France. What's interesting is that I also grew "Black Cherry" from Kokopelli seeds this year and they were not as good as the ones that I had previously grown from Tomato Growers Supply. But, all three cherry varieties that I grew this year were not what they should have been. So... ?


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