Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Best Tomatoes for Central Wisconsin

A selection of grape tomatoes at 2013 Waushara County Fair

What is the best tomato to grow in central Wisconsin?

Like I might know...

Well, this is a very important question, almost every gardener plants tomatoes.  Whether you buy transplants or start your own seed, the choice of tomatoes can be crucial to having a good year in the garden.

I suppose I should be a tad more scientific in my analysis, but basically I have been checking out what gets the blue ribbons at the county fair each year as a integral part of my analysis.  Over the last few years we have had some drastically different weather patterns and this more than anything has affected my tomato harvest.

Also, as I like to grow tomatoes primarily to can, I tend to like the meaty Roma style tomato over the large mortgage buster types.  Also, there is the determinate versus indeterminate discussion.  Do you want your tomatoes to set and ripen all at once, or the grow on morphing vines that set out clusters of tomatoes and then just keep going?  Determinant tend to set and ripen all at once.  And those of your that feel you have to trellis or cage your tomatoes, indeterminate certainly go a long way to justifying your grounds to do that.

I think the best answer is you want to grow some of each of the types.

Two of my favorites are open-pollinated heirlooms that seem to come true no matter what sort of foolishness I have going on in my garden.  These are the grape type 'Chocolate Cherry' and the meaty low-acid 'Amana Orange'.  'Amana Orange' is an early ripening big, yellow orange tomato best picked a bit on the unripe side.  The 'Chocolate Cherry' will ripen on a window sill and hold well more than a month in your vegetable drawer  after the last gasps of autumn are heard.  As a larger, yet still sweet grape type that germinates and grows well and comes true from seed, it is easy to keep in your garden year to year at no cost.
When I have observed tomatoes for your typical middle of the road, red tomato with unblemished skin, no cracks, and consistency from tomato to tomato, in central Wisconsin that has to be 'Celebrity'.  My favorite canning Roma, 'Olpalka', and 'San Marano' both deliver.  I always grow these.

You could add the 'Sweet 100' to the list of good growing tomatoes here, as well as any of the 'Mountain'" series, 'Mountain Princess', 'Mountain Girl'.  From year to year grape tomatoes seem to grow well no matter what the growing conditions, particularly in cooler, wetter and shorter growing seasons.  For larger slicers, though in a hot dry year, grow 'Celebrity'.

What are your favorite tomatoes?

1 comment:

  1. I think my favorite is 'black cherry'.delicious!