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Old April 30, 2018   #1
Greatgardens
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Default A Small (Dwarf) Comparison

I'm growing 10 or so dwarfs this season -- quite a few that are new to me and several proven standbys. A little more than half are regular dwarfs and the others are the newer dwarf cherries. But there is a bit of a twist -- for each group, I'm growing one old-timer hybrid. For the regular dwarfs, it is Better Bush hybrid. For the cherries, it's Husky Cherry Red. It may or not be an F1 -- I've read both.

Here are all the regular contestants:
Dwarf Arctic Rose
Dwarf Pink Passion (a personal favorite)
Dwarf Purple Heart
Dwarf Golden Heart
Perth Pride
Chocolate Lightning
Better Bush Hybrid

And the cherries:
Dwarf Mary's Cherry
Dwarf Velvet Night
Dwarf Bendigo Rose
Husky Cherry Red

All of these are to be grown in regular Earth Boxes. I'm especially interested in how the cherries compare. My main focus is on overall performance: plant health, taste, yield, and fruit defects (BER, etc.). I'll document this with pictures and updates. I probably will not get to the point of weighing every tomato.

1. Germination and early growth.
All of the dwarfs except Perth Pride were planted on 3-10. PP was a late entry, when I discovered that I only had 3 seeds left, so I needed to replenish my supply. It was planted on 3-30, so to the extent that the weather may be a little different, its results might be skewed a bit. All of the varieties germinated normally and have grown very well. No wilting leaves, etc.

There are two anomalies -- both from the hybrids. The root system on Better Bush is much better developed than on any of the OP dwarfs (picture below). Every seed was grown in the same media -- Burpee's Organic (bagged) seed starting mix. In the first picture below, there is a comparison of the root systems. On the left, is Chocolate Lightning which was the most vigorous OP grower (by a slight amount). In the middle is Better Bush, and on the right is Husky Cherry Red. I looked at all the root bundles, and Chocolate Lightning's is very typical of the OP dwarfs. All had healthy looking roots, but fairly modestly developed -- and that included Husky Cherry Red. Is it significant? I have no idea, but if a prize were given for "best roots," then BB would surely get it at this point.

The second item of interest to me is that Husky Cherry Red's growth is much slower than all the others. It is short and stocky -- "husky" if you will. It did not germinate late, and the expected fruiting is in line with Better Bush at 68 days, but it clearly is growing differently. I've grown it several times, but have never done any type of a comparison in the past.

So here are the pictures taken on 4-21:

Note that in the pictures of plant size, Husky Cherry Red is in the foreground, and on the right. On the left is Perth Pride which is very small due to late planting. All the rest are dwarfs; all planted on 3-10.

I will update this as the season progresses.

-GG
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Dwarfs-root growth (Medium).jpg (221.2 KB, 347 views)
File Type: jpg Dwarfs-plant size (Medium).jpg (195.4 KB, 348 views)

Last edited by Greatgardens; April 30, 2018 at 08:30 AM.
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Old April 30, 2018   #2
Wi-sunflower
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I'm wondering if you got your seed for the Husky Cherry Red from me ?? I ask because none of the Huskys are commercially available any more except for Husky Red (the bigger 1). If so then what you have is not an F1 as all my seeds are my own grow outs and at F5 or better.

Carol
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Old April 30, 2018   #3
Nan_PA_6b
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Husky Red & Cherry are both available as plants at my HD.

Nan
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Old April 30, 2018   #4
Greatgardens
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Hi Carol-
Pretty sure I bought these this past winter from Totally Tomatoes

https://www.totallytomato.com/P/0035...rry+Red+Hybrid

There are lots of HCR plants sold by Bonnie, etc. It seems to be the most popular of the Husky series. You definitely don't find the Gold or Pink (originals) anymore, save something like maybe Reimer. I still have some of the Pink that I got from you.

-GG
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Old May 1, 2018   #5
Wi-sunflower
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OK, I just thought that the root difference seen might have been because they weren't a true hybred any more.

I knew H Red seed was still available and had seen a bit of the Cherry Red in a catalog or 2 last year. I suppose the big growers like Bonnie get some priority from the companies. And I wouldn't trust that what you get from Reimers is what you want.

Other than that, the seeds I have are about all that's left of the Huskys. Too bad because there were ahead of their time. Decent plants and nice tomatoes. Sure some of the new Dwarf project tomatoes may be better, but the Huskys aren't bad.

Carol
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Old May 1, 2018   #6
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Yes, I agree about the Husky varieties. I've grown all except the cherry gold. In an Earthbox, I always get a fair amount of BER with Husky Red, and I don't with Better Bush, so I usually grow BB. I find HCR good tasting, and for its size, good yielding. My only small complaint is that the skins are a bit chewy. And there are so many really, really good full-size cherry varieties. Hope I find a couple of the new Project dwarf cherries that I like!
-GG
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Old May 20, 2018   #7
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Default Dwarf Comparison Update:

Time for a brief update. All of the dwarfs except Perth Pride are now planted in Earthboxes. Perth Pride will be in a Grow Bag due to lack of available EB space. All of the dwarfs except Perth Pride and Dwarf Arctic Rose were planted on 3-10. The project cherries and Dwarf Golden Heart stretched quite a bit.

The standout at this point is Dwarf Arctic Rose (pic). Short and stocky, and has several tomatoes on it. The only other one currently with fruit is Dwarf Velvet Night (cherry). Of the regular dwarfs, DAR will be very early, and due to its compact habit, one of the earliest I've ever grown (excluding micro dwarfs). This will beat Fourth of July by a couple of weeks, since I can plant the seeds nearly a month earlier.

BTW, it was too late to edit my original post, but Dwarf Arctic Rose was actually started on 2-23 (not 3-10 as stated). Of the micros and near-Micros, Linda (Ukraine) looks like she will deliver ripe fruit by June 1 +/-. By comparison, but I'd say that DAR will produce ripe fruit by mid-June at the latest. Interestingly, Linda's fruit look to be nearly the same size as DAR, although DAR is oblate and Linda is a "tall round."

-GG
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Old May 29, 2018   #8
Don S
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Last year Husky Cherry Red outdid 6 other dwarf varieties for me. Healthier plants and bigger harvest. Taste was good, not great, but I was happy to have it when some "great" tasting varieties succumbed to blight. Although I grow mine from seed, this year I noticed that HCR plants were available in nurserys and WalMart.
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Old May 29, 2018   #9
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Update 5-29: All of the dwarfs are now in EarthBoxes. Ultimately, I made a space for Perth Pride in an EB by putting my pepper plants in a bag. Dwarf Arctic Rose has quite a few more green tomatoes, but none are blushing yet. Weather here has been hot and dry (hottest May ever), so no signs of foliage disease at all. All the dwarfs are growing great. Bendigo Rose cherry is the biggest and by far the bushiest of the bunch. The individual branches on BR are probably 50% longer than any other dwarf. Chocolate Lightning is second, but not nearly as bushy. A great start by all the contestants!


I'm also adding another contestant since it is growing like a true dwarf -- Coastal Pride Orange. These seeds were planted on 2-17, so it was started about a week earlier than Dwarf Arctic Rose. It is slightly larger than DAR, but still smaller than the other dwarfs. Tatiana also has good reviews of it in her TomatoBase. It has several green tomatoes that are similar in size to DAR. So now there are 11 dwarfs in the evaluation pool.


And although not a dwarf, I've got Patio F1 as another comparison for taste. It was planted 3-3, but as a determinate, it likely will not produce as long as the dwarfs.


-GG

Last edited by Greatgardens; May 30, 2018 at 09:56 AM.
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Old May 29, 2018   #10
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This is great! Thank you for posting! I've never grown a dwarf, but this post will give me recommendations for next year....
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Old May 29, 2018   #11
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A couple years ago I stated "If a person has room... Why grow dwarfs?"

Boy, was I wrong...
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Old May 29, 2018   #12
Greatgardens
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartanburg123 View Post
This is great! Thank you for posting! I've never grown a dwarf, but this post will give me recommendations for next year....
Thanks! The dwarf project was truly a game changer. There really is something for everyone! Still work to be done, but the results from all the volunteers is truly impressive.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #13
hl2601
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Thanks for posting all of your comparisons. Super interesting. I haven't grown any of the varieties you are comparing so I will be following your progress avidly.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #14
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The first results are in from Dwarf Arctic Rose. First ripe fruit on 6-17 with two of three having circular cracking on the top. Weight at 4-5 oz., rosy pink, as their name implies. Seeds were planted 2-23, and the plants into EarthBoxes early May. They are short and narrow plants -- I see no reason why four plants could not reside in a regular EB. Height right now is about two feet. Taste? Well, the first ones are nothing to write home about, but that may well improve. Their real virtue is earliness. Texture is soft and moderately juicy.

From the looks of the green fruit, Dwarf Pink Passion should be the next to ripen. It has been a winner for the past two seasons, so I look forward to them.

Last edited by Greatgardens; 4 Weeks Ago at 04:19 AM.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #15
JosephineRose
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greatgardens View Post
The first results are in from Dwarf Arctic Rose. First ripe fruit on 6-17 with two of three having circular cracking on the top. Weight at 4-5 oz., rosy pink, as their name implies. Seeds were planted 2-23, and the plants into EarthBoxes early May. They are short and narrow plants -- I see no reason why four plants could not reside in a regular EB. Height right now is about two feet. Taste? Well, the first ones are nothing to write home about, but that may well improve. Their real virtue is earliness. Texture is soft and moderately juicy.
That was my experience with DAR last year as well. It produced early and well, even under disease and environmental pressures, but nothing memorable about the taste.
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