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BlackBear May 25, 2015 09:49 PM

Cool Temp Tomatoes That also resist Heat
I have been gardening on the West Coast for a few years we are mild
wintered ...but one year we only had 4 days above 70 F/ 20 C by the august long weekend usual strategy was to pick all Cool and early types and put seedlings out in the ground /containers May 2nd and early and cover them if it got any where close to frost till safe ...I seemed to be rewarded by the ones that seemed to respond and still progress in the (sub 70 F) cold ...Siberia (rugose dwarf), Silvery Fir, Cosmonaut Volkov, Sasha's Altai ,Stupice ...and others. Choosing this strategy with cool/early and cool climate produced outstanding yields ...and many were surprised I could pull it off in the cool years .
lately the last few years We seem to have had record heat in May ( so called Maugust) my old strategy is maybe not Quite as a perfect match for what the local weather is providing ........ I am Thinking there are some Tomato cultivars that are known for BOTH Cool Temp setting fruit as well as Heat resistance and good fruit set.

I am not really looking for a scientific list.. more like a Tomato grower anecdotal observation collective wisdom List :



Yellow Pear

Gold nugget (parthenocarpic ?)

Gregori's Altai

Bloody Butcher

Sweet Chelsea

lollipop ?

Hybrids : Big beef Sungold

Does anyone have any ideas/ Suggestions for Cool Tomatoes (Set fruit at Low temps) but would also Withstand the heat ?? I would welcome any comments advise corrections etc.

wormgirl May 25, 2015 11:08 PM

BlackBear, your post intrigues me. I know we have had warm weather but I haven't actually been worrying about it being *too* hot for my tomatoes. I know fruit set is compromised above 90 but I didn't seem to have an issue with that last year... did you? You're quite a bit farther north than I am.

I did go to a local plant sale (they are usually pretty good about selecting decent varieties for the area) and they had Sioux and I know there's also a Super Sioux. I was a little surprised to see them since I had just read they are heat tolerant. Perhaps they tolerate the cool too and that's why they selected that variety? You might want to check into it.

I do like Gold Nugget a lot, it is usually the first to ripen in the garden and to me, it has a better taste than Yellow Pear which takes a lot longer anyway. I am not sure how it tolerates heat, but if you haven't tried it I definitely recommend it. Very easy plant.

EDIT: Well, I just happened to glance at a weather map and see that we are having very different weather indeed! So, I guess you are right!!!

BlackBear May 25, 2015 11:50 PM

Last year actually worked out great ....but I had fruit set

in early may ! (Cosmonaut Volkov , Sasha's Altai, Big beef , Sungold , early Girl etc. ) then it got "Maugust " ( August in May ) it did seem to all work out ...

Gregori's Altai, bloody Butcher were all large huge Mutant Blemish free fruit due to the weather ...I even had Monamahk's hat go crazy .

The yellow pear did develop later but prolific (of course ).

When things were cool in previous years ...when using the cool tomatoes for the cool coastal climate ....Bang ...fruit set easy peasy early and even in mid summer ... not like the heat fruit set problems in Texas .

I believe this year is record breaking heat for the area and I notice the cool ones
have not been able to give me the extra early advantage of previous years .

I do notice the cool ones do operate better in the cool ...better than the regular ones that need a certain amount of heat to prosper. but most cool get knocked back a bit more than the regular in the heat ??

The solution may be to plant a variety that is best guess for growing season

some 'cools " some regular all arounds and a few heat resistant .

OR perhaps find some that would be able to set fruit in the cool extra early

and still prosper if the weather pattern did get extra "record breaking " hot .

I believe that Cool/ Heat types are : Stupice , Kimberly, Yellow Pear , Gold Nugget , I also noticed a post some where of Gregori's Altai being a cool climate yet heat resistant type .

I guess the potato leaf types like Stupice could be also ( Matina , Bloody butcher , Kotlas , moravsky div etc. )

and the Parthenocarpic types (Legend, Siletz ,Gold nugget etc could be good ones as well for the cool/ heat etc.

I just wish there was a way to identify the ones with the early cool set advantage that would still be ok in heat .

Stvrob May 26, 2015 12:00 AM

Just how hot are we talking about? Is it hot enough there to interfere with fruit set?

Ive had no particular problem getting gregori altai to set fruit in Florida. I mean no better or worse than average.

Dang Me May 26, 2015 01:34 AM

Porter is pretty much indestructible.

BlackBear May 26, 2015 01:54 AM

Well part of My discussion was that for the extra cool ones that set fruit in lower temperatures than other normal range " ? temp fruit set ) there are some that do very well in heat as well ....Gregori's Altai seemed to be one of them (Cool set with Heat tolerance )
like Stupice .also .

Some other "extra early cool fruit set " ones also seemed to shut production down when the the heat got into even
highs barely over 25C / 78 F (Which some years is not very often in our coastal area ). They did not seem to Tolerate much regular heat at all but shined in the cool temps that would have been marginal for other varieties ...even hybrids .

I Just would like to identify a few candidates that would basically be a Pacific Coastal or cool/ cold climate fruit set type that would tolerate the heat a bit better as this year in May we have had more days over 20 C /70 F already than we can get in many years ...methinks it could be a hot one ...again ( in relative terms for our area....admittedly we normally do not know much about extreme heat or cold here)

and the cool ones early fruit set advantage here is no advantage if the Temp. is going up into the shut down temperatures range for the "cool ones " .

I really hope I find other heirloom varieties that will fix this niche as I don't want it to be a Juliet , Sun gold , Big Beef sort of year LOL

Stvrob May 26, 2015 02:27 AM

Very interesting. I didnt know that there were any tomatoes that would have difficulty setting fruit in 78 degree weather. For some reason, I thought all the cold vs hot variation among varieties was only a matter of a few degrees or so.

BlackBear May 26, 2015 03:43 AM

I am not sure this is accurate or why just seems the ones geared for extra early "cool set " climate response can slow down during what some would consider "moderate heat " and they definitely are not geared for the heat like the Sioux, Super Sioux....Porter etc.

Interesting that Sioux , super Sioux are being sold in The Washington State Tacoma Market ..this year ????
I guess part of my search is I wish to identify some heirloom type choices that would be both extra cool set and yet heat tolerant....I believe there are a few more out there beyond the Stupice and Gregori's Altai.

As here on the wet coast we don't usually expect to get the accumulated heat enough for Classic Big Late season Tomatoes ..(not like inland ). I have gone to early/cool set /cold climate varieties. Some folks here stick to cherry or small Tomatoes .
There seems to be a difference when you choose cool/ cold climate varieties and then your "odd" Climate year is hot ! Your crop is kind of a mismatch/disadvantaged for the year . OK production ...but not Stellar like a normal cooler year to match usual normal heirloom cultivars . If the cultivars were selected to match the odd "heat year " with some built in heat tolerance then things might be better.

BlackBear May 26, 2015 06:10 AM

I just looked at the Porter tomato and though it is amazing for Texas and the South heat tolerant and all looks like it has troubles in the cool and wet etc. ... not the one for the cool WET coast .

Some other Toms that seemed to come up as good in cool and as well Heat Tolerant

were : Anna Russian and Fireworks

Tracydr May 26, 2015 07:16 AM

Have you considered using high tunnels? You could keep them covered until it gets hot,then roll up the sides. You can replace the plastic with shade cloth if needed in the heat of summer.
I thought about doing this in AZ due having such a short season between cool nights and extra hot weather but had some health problems and then moved to NC.
I'm prepared to shade my tomatoes,or at least part of them,if needed, if we have any extended hot temps. Harbor Freight sells cheap but nice shade cloth.

b54red May 26, 2015 07:34 AM

I have had really good luck with Berkely Tie Dye Pink and Carbon. I am always amazed at how well they both ripen in very cool temperatures. They both are very early fruit setters for me when I get my plants transplanted into the garden extra early when it is really still too cool.


BlackBear May 26, 2015 01:02 PM

I was looking for suggestions for tomato varieties that would solve this problem ..I put the Toms out very early (no frost just "frost potential" ) and have been rewarded by using the extra early cool varieties . Our area can have gray overcast summer days ...NO Air conditioning needed !
I think the Carbon and Berkley Tie Dye are good suggestions to look into.

My problem could well be my garden Micro climate setting is " amplified " on years where the temps are over the norm / record setting as well as pure sunshine vs the normal cool and overcast season . So I guess I should look into more shading and other adjustments...........BAH ....this is not normally a problem as we are mostly trying to get as much sunshine and heat as possible and can't seem to get quite enough.We still do not get enough of the accumulated heat for the Classic Large late Season varieties.

I also am trying a 23 ' dome this year with Turbine ventilation and 2 doors completely open and Top open hemisphere can roll completely up for the inevitable summer heat is a mixed culture dome so not just Tomatoes.

Most of Cool Tomatoes that also resist heat concerns is for the outer Tomatoes containers and raised beds not in the "Dome "season extender.

wormgirl May 27, 2015 01:28 AM

I agree, BlackBear - I was really surprised to see Sioux being sold here - it's not seen in nurseries. But at the school plant sale they order whatever seeds they want, and had some other varieties not offered elsewhere (I bought a Mountain Princess there, I've never see that variety before at all. They also have Stupice, Oregon Spring, Gold Nugget, Silvery Fir tree, etc.) As I mentioned, they do tend to choose ones suited for our climate. I was curious but have the "too many tomatoes problem" so I did not buy one this year. If I happen to go back, I will try to ask someone, the same ladies have been running it for years and have a lot of experience and information.

How hot are your temperatures right now? I see in Central Canada, it's as hot as the American South!

Gardeneer May 27, 2015 05:23 AM

This is my 4th season gardening in PNW.
I don't see HEAT an issue hear. From time to time, once in a blue moon we might get some 90s ( ~32C +) but that does not not last. Dealing with cool, rainy, cloudy conditions is normal.
So when I am trying to pick a variety. "HEAT TOLERANCE" never crosses my mind as a requirement. I want varieties that preferably do well in cool. There are several bred by OSU that I grow:
Siletz,,, Legend and Willamette . But I also grow many different varieties despite the cool climate.

BlackBear May 27, 2015 05:27 AM

Well it is "hotter" than historical norm for May with heat records being broken .... our local rivers are also at historical lows ..the kind nobody ever thought we in the cool wet would ever have to worry about. One community canceled a water boat event that has gone back to WW II because this year there is not enough water for the boats to hold it.
If we don't get some major storms soon to fill up our reservoirs we actually will have some major decisions to make over... water/power/ fish .....Nooobody ever thought we would have to worry about this much in the "Rain Forest " .

So yes I have fruit set ....but I am impatient as it is not as good when I matched the cool early cultivars with the dependable cool coastal early spring. I know this is a mute point for some as many around here subscribe to the view as to not put your tomatoes out till June 1st due to the cool cold (gasp...can you imagine !)

The actual temps seem actually perfect now for great growth ...but I will wait and see how a bump of temp. would affect the micro climate of my garden site .

All of a sudden having higher seasonal temps and FULL sun instead of normal temps and normal am overcast with pm sun seem to amplify temp in my particular garden site setting . We shall just have to wait and see for June/July/August if the hotter /Sunnier /dry season persists.

Yes Silvery fir seems to be one that can take the heat but produce in marginal cool settings also ....but many do not like the taste....bah....they still are great ! ..ornamental and flexible for climate as well as container inside and out.
I will always have a couple Silvery Fir in "the Tomato Portfolio " LOL:lol:

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