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Member discussion regarding the methods, varieties and merits of growing tomatoes.

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Old September 18, 2018   #1
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Chicago IL
Posts: 842
Default review 2018 growing season

My 2018 summer was interesting to say the least. Weather has been different and unpredictable. June was either uber hot in 90 or cold and rainy in 60. Early Fruit set was abysmal but plants grew 6 ft...
which is somewhat unusual for Chicago area, we generally do not have 90 in June and my tomatoes do not shoot up 6 ft with no tomatoes ...
One thing that I did not do is use TTF early, but I did use growers 4-18-38... I was hoping it would be a good sub so I do not have to order TTF on line as it is a bit expensive, I also have all those ingredients, as in fulvic acid etc cept proprietary "zymes" from TTF...
well, it did not work. Whether it was just bad luck... I ended up buying TTF mid June and things have improved.
July and August was very dry and hot and tomato taste was amazing.
Because of unusual summer I will take note of what did great and give other varieties a chance to shine some other year.

Descriptions are copied from Tania site or from other sources, my comments are in bold

late to mid-season, indet., large potato leaf plant with large pink beefsteak type fruits, 10-24 oz, excellent flavor.
Winner. Large beautiful productive.

Babushkin secret
Russian , Grandma secret translation, bred and selected for Siberian region. Ind, pink, beefsteak, slicer, sweet
Winner. Large beautiful productive

Indet, regular leaf, large pink beefsteaks up to 1 lbs, juicy, with delicious rich flavor. A perfect tomato to slice for your sandwich
Later than mid, nothing even close to 1 lb

Indet., potato leaf.. Large pink beefsteaks, 8-17 oz. Very few seeds. Excellent sweet flavor
Going to give it another chance but was on later mid side

indet., regular leaf, 4-7 oz smooth red round-oblate fruits, good balanced flavor, juicy
Nice surprise, fresh and tasty and easy to grow

Gran's Portuguese neighbor
85 days, indet., regular leaf, 10-16 oz, pink oxheart fruit, very good flavor, high yield
Oy, huge, tasty and prolific Super was about 78 days

Joe's portugese
Indet., regular leaf, large pink beefsteak fruits, 10-18 oz. Very good sweet flavor.
Had difficulty germinating, but ended up being midseason and decent productivity, large

Joe Pink Oxheart
Huge pink oxheart tomato with huge flavor and few seeds and little juice ...
80 days. OP. Indet. Heirloom. Vigorous vine produces big bunches of huge pink tomatoes which are oxheart shaped, meaty, and have fantastic flavor. The tomatoes are relativley dry and have few seeds - perfect for processing. But also great on a sandwich due to its superb flavor - a good balance of sweet and acid. The plant is unlike other oxheart tomatoes. It is sturdy, not wispy, and has plenty of foliage. grew it in his backyard here in Alton, Missouri, for years.
One plant was small round to oblate, second plant was correct, not very productive but did good and not very wispy. Keeper

Indet., regular leaf plants with very good foliage cover. Red medium beefsteak fruits are 5-8 oz, with very good balanced flavor. Extremely productiv
Just about first plant to produce, loaded, considering how bad my early summer was this one is coming back for sure

African Queen
indet., potato leaf, high yield of large pink beefsteaks of variable shapes, 12-20 oz, excellent sweet flavor, meaty flesh with small seed cavities, few seeds.
Late one for me, maybe but I really do not like to bet on September tomatoes

Russian Bogatyr
Midseason, large indet., regular leaf plant, large red fruits are firm and mostly round, but other shapes may also show up. 6-13 oz. Excellent tomato flavor
Repeat, superb as usual

Biyskaya Roza
Indet., regular leaf plants with good foliage cover. Large, 10-18 oz beefsteak fruits, smooth and shaped like Brandywine tomatoes, with most beautiful rose pink color. Very few small seed chambers with few seeds. So meaty and deliciously sweet. This is one of the first large-fruited tomato varieties that ripens in our garden. Early to mid-season maturity.
My most favorite and superproducer, does well no matter what

Matsu express
Brandywine and Bloody butcher cross from Alaska. Early, great taste, large beef early then round
Early but not too early, repeat, somehow I ended with smaller than usual fruit. Might ask for new seeds for next year

indet. tall plants, potato leaf, pink beefsteak fruits, 8-14 oz, excellent flavor, meaty and juicy
Repeat, great as always

Violaceum Altaysky
Indet., regular leaf. Pink beefsteaks, 6-12 oz, with very good sweet flavor
Did good in less than ideal circumstances, will grow, was a bit of heart shape with some fruit

Tarasenko 6
indet., regular leaf, round red fruits, average 6 oz. Juicy, with very good flavor, more sweet than acidic. 5-10 oz An old Ukrainian variety, developed by the Soviet tomato breeder Fedor Tarasenko, who specialized in breeding large-fruited and productive tomato varieties.
Repeat, heavy producer, will be back
Striped, midseason early, large, delish
was not as early as last years but superb as usual

Compact indet., regular leaf plants. 4-8 oz red fruits shaped like beefsteaks, with some green shoulders. Flesh is very meaty and juicy, with small seed chambers.
Did well and early under currently conditions, on larger side does well in pot

Elgin pink - late but super Ind., PL, pink, 1 lb+, beefsteak, extremely sweet
Loved it. Huge plant. Not late for me, sure midseason

Maya and Sion Airdrie Classic
ndet., potato leaf plants. High yield of flattened and ruffled red beefsteaks of small to medium size. 3-8 oz. Excellent 'tomatoey' flavor, juicy flesh. Early to mid-season.
did well as usual, early and prodcutive

Carolyn seeds

That Russian Tomato 8 seeds Ind RL Red Beefsteak/blunt heart Huge Slicer great flavor
Heck of a tomato, huge, gnarly, distorted early fruits, mid season to later, pretty dry for a slicer

Rubinka 9 seeds Indet. RL Red Round Cherry Multiflora. Not a multiflora, but very long trusses of excellent red charries..
Best cherry, superb, just loved it and was totally unfazed by anything this weather presented

Rozovye Krupnye 7 Indet. RL Pink Beefsteak Slicer
Super. Large productive, tasty, just like my childhood tomatoes, winner

Leon Noire 7 Indet. RL Red/Black
great productive black midseason,maybe more on sweet side

German Johnson Benton strain 8 Mid Indet RL Pink Beefsteak Large Slicer
Later one, not sure, might have better varieities but might give another chance

Rosedale 8 maroon, clear skin, flat beefsteak, PL, has Cherokee Purple as part of the parentage.
Nice midseason, productive, great taste, keeper


Giant Orange
80 days, indet., regular leaf with a good yield of 4-10 oz fruit with good flavor.
Not giant and not orange, but very productuve with heart like texture, very meaty, keeps real well too

Sakharnyi Zheltyi
Indet., regular leaf, large golden fruits, 8-24 oz, very meaty, typical beefsteak shape, very pretty. Quite early for a large beefsteak. High yields. Excellent flavor.
Outstanding and keeper


75 days, indet., regular leaf, light yellow, 3-5" sweet fruit, beautiful and super productive, 100-year old heirloom from Urals near Tobolsk, Russia
Yep, did very well

Grand Belgium
Indet., regular leaf plants. First flowers have slightly exerted stigmas.. Fruits are irregularly shaped large orange beefsteaks, 8-20 oz, with some fruits exceeding 2 lbs. Delicious sweet flavor
Not very productive but tasty

Captain Lucky
85-90 days. Indet., potato leaf green/yellow/pink medium-large tricolor with a striking appearance and great flavor, from accidental cross of Lucky Cross and an unknown variety.
Repeat from last year, later than usual but did well, keeper

Dark or darkish

Rozovyi Kilogramovyi
Indet. plants with regular leaf foliage. Huge pink beefsteaks, 10-26 oz. Very juicy and meaty. Delicious sweet flavor
Loved it, everything you want in a tomato, more dirty pink, huge and productive

Indet., reguilar leaf plants. Medium to large pink fruits are almost heart-shaped, but have beefsteak-type seed locules inside. 6-16 oz. Excellent sweet flavor.
Container plant, tasty, heart shaped but juicy, keeper

Olimp Malinovyi
ndet., regular leaf plants. Large pink beefsteaks, 10-16 oz, meaty and juicy, with excellent sweet flavor. Very productive.
Keeper, early large than smaller ones but is good steady production

Malinovyi Charodei
Indet., regular leaf plants.. Large pink beefsteaks, 8-12 oz, with thick walls and meaty flesh. Outstanding sweet flavor
OMG OMG OMG loved it

Mikado Black
indet., compact plants with potato leaf foliage, purple-black round oblate fruits with green/brown shoulders, 3-6 oz, very good flavor similar to many other black tomatoes.
Probably winner of entire season, seed from Doublehelix, taste was sublime and absolutely loaded. Nothing came close considering how lousy my early fruit set was

Kardinal Tchornyi
80 days, indet., regular leaf plant with high yield of 6-12 oz reddish black fruit with excellent flavor
More sweetish taste but started early and kept producing, will be returning

Tomato Not Purple Strawberry
NPS is a 4-6 oz beefsteak with a purple color. Cross of German Red Strawberry with Cherokee Purple. Highly productive, RL., indet. delicious.
Heavy producer and early enough, loved it

Black Bear
Indet., regular leaf plants. Large purple/black beefsteak fruits are quite juicy, and have excellent flavor. 8-12 oz 5 days, indet., regular leaf, 8-14 oz pink-black fruit, excellent flavor, high yield

Morado Chocolate
Indet., regular leaf plants produce ruffled chocolate brown beefsteaks, 4-7 oz. Excellent rich sweet flavor 85 days, indet., regular leaf plant with a high yield of 10-16 oz purple-black fruit with excellent flavor
Keeper, on large side and sweet

Deep space
dark plum, trusses, productive, sauce
tolerated decent abuse and still did greeat

Purple dog creek
85 days, indet., regular leaf plant with a good yield of 16-24 oz pink beefsteak fruit, excellent flavor.
Was only in container and did well, keeper for that alone but taste is great too

Eva Purple Ball
Large vines, needs caging or staking. First maturity about 65 days. Plants provide a steady crop of 3-4 oz. deep pink juicy globes, very good sweet rich tomato flavor. Ripe fruit sometimes fall off vine.
Excellent producer, did well and early enough for this louse start I had

Black Magic
A cross between Lucky Cross and an un-known variety discovered by Millard Murdock of North Carolina. This is a sister to Captain Lucky. Very meaty tomato. Solid slices with extra sweetness. This was one of my earlier ripeners and still pumping out like crazy at the end of my season. Perfect BLT tomato.
Perfect is correct term, it is a repeat and will be back

Marizol Korney
Indet., regular leaf plants. Medium sized round and slightly oblate dusky purple/black fruits, perfectly shaped and blemish-free, 2-5 oz. Flesh is rich burgundy color. Skin sometimes has a bit of mottling on the shoulders. Delicious rich flavor. Sets well in heat
Sets well, period, taste great too, it is repeat for me and will be back

Plum or paste

Gallo Plum
Indet. plants with wispy regular leaf foliage. Pepper shaped elongated red fruits with pointed end, 5" long, 3-9 oz. Beautiful meaty dark red flesh, small seed cavities that may be partially hollow. Excellent sweet flavor, great for eating fresh or it makes a great tomato sauce
Tolerated abuse and did well, bit on a later side

Carol Chyko's big paste
indet., regular leaf plants produce lots of blunt red hearts in 10-16 oz range. Some fruits are not heart-shaped, but not beefsteaks either, I would call them 'blocky'. Fruits have meaty interior with small seed cavities and very few seeds. This variety is too juicy for a paste tomato, but it is excellent as a slicer, as it has outstanding sweet/tart balanced flavor. Late
Was not late at all and excellent producer

Abbattista paste
Indet, mid late, paste, great for sauce
Did well but might have better paste

Giant Cuneo pear
Italian. Midseason in PNW area. Indet., regular leaf, beautiful red ruffled pear shaped tomatoes, 5-11 oz, early fruits are seedless. Paste type, fruits similar to Liguria in shape and color, but without the green shoulders. High yields. Excellent rich tomato flavor
OMG that plant does not know when to stop. Pear shaped. Totally worth the space

Dominick's paste
80 days, indet., regular leaf, large red bomb-shaped fruits, juicy, excellent fresh flavor, not a paste tomato in my opinion
Tolerated abuse well. in the pot on the corner area and still produced well, keeper

Principe Borgese
80 days. In the Tuscany region of Italy, racks of this small, 1 x 2 inch, fragrant tomatoes fill backyards, to be dried and used in winter sauces and cooking. This prolific little tomato is also well suited to growing for market and for selling as a complete truss. Can be stored well into the fall without drying. Determinate plants.
Interesting that size was varied from cherry to tennis ball in different containers, will be back

Uralskiy Ranniy
51 days, determinate — 'Uralskiy Ranniy' is an extremely early variety with enormous amounts of red, globe-shaped, one to six ounce fruits that are borne in clusters of six to ten. They have beautifully smooth skin and a deliver a pleasant, mild flavor.
Early and productive, taste is good for early

Titan Red
early det, round red productive, tasty
Did well, reliable, your typical early red

42 Days
Very early, compact determinate, regular leaf plants. 1 oz bright red round fruit, sometimes with slightly pointed end. sometimes the first fruits are seedless. Sweet excellent flavor, even when grown in a smaller, 3 gallon pot
Did well and early for container growth, nothing spectacular though

Talalikhin 186
Compact det. plants with regular leaf foliage. High yield of medium red and juicy slicers, with excellent acidic flavor. 2-6 oz. Ideal for growing in pots. Early maturity.
Great early container and large

Det., RL. producing lots and lots of red tomatoes, mostly size of an egg. Some thinner, some a bit more round. I had it 2 years in a row and in both years, it was "terribly" prolific,
Yep, excellent find

Cherry tomatoes

did not do well. Rubinka was probably most outstanding I tasted. Others were either currants which my family refused to pick or they did not start till very late.
Karma Pink survived big branch falling on it and growing in part shade, excellent taste and will be back next year.

Last edited by Lindalana; September 18, 2018 at 12:39 AM.
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Old September 18, 2018   #2
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Victoria, Australia
Posts: 533

Some very nice toms there Lindalana, sounds like the season was not to bad overall, especially considering the crazy weather you had. Some new keepers for you, me you've set wondering how many are in the land of OZ.
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Old September 18, 2018   #3
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Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 5,080

Excellent reviews and I am noting a bunch to try in the future!
Happy KARMA pink survived it’s bruises and that you enjoyed the taste well enough to want to grow it again!
Thank you for trying it.
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Old September 18, 2018   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Metro Detroit, Michigan
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Just love reading your concise reviews. Thanks for doing them. Some fodder for further consideration.
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Old September 18, 2018   #5
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Location: Newfoundland, Canada
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Yeah! Love your always interesting reviews!
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Old September 18, 2018   #6
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Location: Brownville, Ne
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Thanks for the information. Always fun to compare.
there's two things money can't buy; true love and home grown tomatoes.
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Old September 18, 2018   #7
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Chicago IL
Posts: 842

Thanks! Once I locate pictures I will post more. For sure there were some nice surprises this year, each year I think should stick with old and tried and true and this year proved to be good mix, repeat varieties do well and new ones had enough choices to find new gems.
Heirloom, will be sending some seeds to the MMM swap if you are participating otherwise let me know.
Karen, am looking forward to your new varieties, Karma Pink was great find. I really like full taste like a large tomato and appreciate size not being small.
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Old September 18, 2018   #8
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Pewaukee, Wisconsin
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Thank you so much for your wonderful and detailed, concise reviews. It was fun reading and I will be looking forward to trying a few of these myself.
~ Patti ~
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Old September 18, 2018   #9
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Omaha Zone 5
Posts: 2,323

Very useful info. Chef's Choice Orange turned out to be my #1, Elgin Pink was my #2 this year as C.C. Orange is unstopable. Tarasinko 6 was a first timer for me and a good producer in my garden too. I was not familiar with many varieties in your review after all my years here and would likely do well in my climate too. As Patti said, it was fun to get the full picture of so many unique plants.

- Lisa
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Old September 19, 2018   #10
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Location: Norway
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Thanks for another great and informative review!

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Old September 19, 2018   #11
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Location: Ontario
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Thanks so much for sharing all that information . Most appreciated!

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Old January 11, 2019   #12
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Metro Denver
Posts: 337

Thank you so much for sharing these really detailed reviews. I requested and received several of these from MMMM. Can't wait to try them in Denver!
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Old January 13, 2019   #13
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Chicago IL
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Glad to hear!
It is hard to appreciate enough what treasure T'ville is!
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Old January 14, 2019   #14
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: North Florida
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Lol, my list for 2020 is pretty much complete now. Thank you for sharing your season.
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Old January 14, 2019   #15
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Location: Tennessee
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So much fun, reading your reviews. Thank you!
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