2020 tomato review-the ‘darlings’ of the veggie garden

2020 Tomato Review

As the Tomato Lady of Santa Fe, this year was a great tomato year in the garden especially compared to last year’s tomatoes which were dismal. This year I started with 38 plants, lost 2 right away to curly top virus and lost several more to a soil fungal disease but overall the disease level was very low due to it being such a dry year.  I think I had good production because I started them super early this year-May 6, which is the earliest I’ve ever put them in the ground and I gave them the water they needed.

Here are the tomato varieties I grew this year. If you haven’t even heard of some of these, I encourage you to try some new varieties for yourself-keeps it interesting!  Some of you may have had a great year with some of these varieties, so use your own experience when selecting which varieties to grow. All varieties are heirlooms or open pollinated unless otherwise noted.

Moby Dwarf cherry tomato trial project-This is a wonderful larger yellow cherry tomato. Wonderfully intense flavor. I was involved 2 years ago growing this out for Craig Lehouiller, author of Epic Tomatoes. I found some of the plants I grew had a anthocyanin blush (purple blush) on its shoulders so I’m continuing to see if we can get this trait to stabilize for future generations. The plant is only 4 feet tall, very prolific and would be great in large pots as well in the ground as I do. You can get the original seeds now online at Victory Seeds. A must try.  63 days to harvest. YES will grow this next year.

Black Cherry-I only grew one plant but boy was it prolific! This is one of my favorites that I grow every year. No disease. Very dependable. Purplish color. Great intense full bodied flavor like a good wine. 64 days to harvest. YES will grow this next year.

Virginia Sweets-A yellow tomato with red blush inside that is sweet, sweet, sweet. This year they did well although in some years not as good. But I always come back to them because when they do well, they are great! 80 days to harvest. YES will grow this next year.

Lucky Cross-One of my all-time favorites. This year the mice seem to really like them so I didn’t get as many as I would have liked. Great sweet flavor. Yellowish peachy color with marbled red interior. Wish I had more plants since I was sharing with the mice! 74 days to harvest. YES will grow this next year.

Ananas Noire-One of my favorites. Don’t be put off by the colors-green with a red blush but the flavor is sweet like nectar. Takes all season to get them but worth the wait. 85 days to harvest. YES will grow this next year.

Large Barred Boar-NEW THIS YEAR! A wonderful tomato from Wild Boar Farms that is slighter larger than Black and Brown Boar which it came from and is a mid-season ripener. It is a med-large mahogany color with green stripes tomato. Great flavor and only 65 days to harvest. YES will grow this next year.

Black and Brown Boar-I’ve always loved this oval shaped tomato from Wild Boar Farms because it has super flavor and is a good producer. Mahogany with green stripes. 68 days to harvest. YES will grow this next year.

Cherokee Lemon-NEW THIS YEAR! This is a new Cherokee variety for me. Its color is a pure yellow with yellow flesh inside and has good sweetness. It was not very prolific though, so I will see if it makes it into next year’s roster but I usually give a new tomato two years to try. 75 days to harvest. MAYBE will grow this next year.

Cherokee Purple-I come back to this tomato every year. A great producer with outstanding flavor.  Purple with green shoulders. 75 days to harvest. YES will grow this next year.

Cherokee Green-A green tomato that turns a yellowish-green that is green throughout with suburb sweet flavor but was not as prolific as last year. 75 days to harvest. MAYBE will grow this next year.

Cherokee Carbon-I adore this hybrid. A cross between a Cherokee Purple and Carbon. Great flavor like Cherokee Purple but bigger and less cracks. Purple with green shoulders/ Great producer too. 75 days to harvest. YES will grow this next year.

Pink Berkley Tie Dye-Usually this is a good producer with great flavor but this year it was a disappointment for me as it did not produce many tomatoes. 65 days to harvest. NO will NOT grow this next year.

Captain Lucky-NEW THIS YEAR! I liked this mostly green with red blush tomato. All around good flavor. 75 days to harvest. YES will grow this next year.

Goliath-One of a few hybrids that I grow every year. Great old fashioned tomato flavor and it rarely gets cracks or blemishes. A good producer. 65 days to harvest. YES will grow this next year.

Pantano Romanesco-This year I was disappointed in this tomato when normally I like it. Good old fashion flavor but not very prolific. 75 days to harvest. NO will NOT grow this next year.

Mushroom Basket-NEW THIS YEAR! I’m kinda so-so about this one. Great big shape with many flutes but ripened unevenly for many of them. Also not a good producer. 75 days to harvest. NO will NOT grow this next year.

Paul Robeson-Another of my all time favorites-this ‘black tomato’ has a rich flavor that wins many tomato contests every year. 75 days to harvest. YES will grow this next year.

BKX-NEW THIS YEAR! An improved version of the Black Krim tomato that did not produce very well. For me the original Black Krim is never a good producer and this one is about the same. If I’m going to grow a tomato it has to be a good producer. 80 days to harvest. NO will NOT grow this next year.

Purple Calabash-NEW THIS YEAR! This is an heirloom from Thomas Jefferson’s garden so I was excite to try it. Sorry to say, I wasn’t impressed. They were small fluted purplish tomatoes with lots of catfacing flaws on bottom. Nice flavor though. 75 days to harvest. NO will NOT grow this next year.

Big Zac-Another good hybrid that can grow some colossal sized red tomatoes with old fashioned tomato flavor. One slice will fill a BLT sandwich. 80 days to harvest. YES will grow this next year.

Goldman’s Italian American-the only paste tomato I grow. It has the best flavor of any paste tomato I’ve ever tried. Makes wonderful pasta sauces. 85 days to harvest. YES will grow this next year.




5 comments on “2020 tomato review-the ‘darlings’ of the veggie garden

  1. Linda Phelps says:

    I would be interest to hear what other readers favor for their tomatoes.


  2. amy a bowen says:

    Hi Jannine,
    I first wanted to ask you about the purple on my tomato plant leaves this year. It seemed odd First one than all seemed to get it. It seemed to start with one then eventually all of my plants had it.It show where the sun would hit it. The leaves would turn dark purple.
    Maybe this is normal but the plants did not start like this. It was not the veins just the surface on top.
    I grew all from seed so would not get it from another plant.???

    I thought I would give a run down of tomatoes I grew this year.
    I grew all mine from seed this year and tried many new varieties.
    I too loved:
    Lucky Cross
    Black cherry (but also the chocolate cherry)
    Paul Robeson (but did not get many)
    Goldman”s Italian -this one is a crazy grower strong and prolific and the tomatoes are also very tasty as slicers.It was the largest plant of all.

    I also still love Pink Bumble Bee cherry tomatoes

    Another one I tried this year and really like was Blushing Bride -large tomato -although I did not get very many from it.

    I also liked this plant that was supposed to be sungold-I saved the seeds from last year and it came as a large red cherry tomato–very tasty. I assume I got one of the parents from sungold. I will grow that again too.

    I grew some of the dwarf project plants- All The Dwarf were big producers.

    The ones I liked:
    Rosella Purple-
    Tasmanian Chocolate
    They both reminded me of Paul Robeson.

    The ones I did not like
    Tennessee suited –just not tasty
    Mr Snow –boring -but I did use for fried green tomatoes.

    Thanks for all your information every year.
    I use it to pick the tomatoes I want to grow the next year.


    • Hi-Thanks for the wonderful reply with all your info.

      The purple leaves was probably due to a lack of availability of phosphorus in the soil. I notice when my plants get COLD they can not uptake the phosphorus that’s available in the soil or planting mix. I usually sprinkle rock phosphate powder around the base of the stem and water in. sometimes I have to do it twice. Is this happening when they are seedlings? My seedings sometimes get cold under lights as they are growing before I set them out. I usually try to warm them up. Now on the otherhand, some leaves might be naturally purplish, like the Indigo Rose family. I would try to give the varieties that were purple some form of phosphorus to see if that helps but usually it is not really a problem for production. However if your plants veins turn purplish and the plant looks sick, it might have bitten by the beet leafhopper so prevalent around here. In that case your plant would eventually die as the leafhopper gives tomato plants a deadly virus…I’m curious as to which plants this affected.

      AS far as growing a seed from a Sungold, yes you are right, the plant you got came from one of the parents which is why they say don’t save seeds from a hybrid because you don’t know what you will get, but who knows, it you keep growing out some of seeds from each generation, it could stabilize into a new variety. I do that quite often and it makes it more exciting. Sungold was originally from Japan and they protect their rights for that variety and won’t share the seed genetics, so I just replant commercial seeds of Sungold. Many people have tried to decipher which two parent plants are used in growing them. I have tried some of them but none are as sweet as the original Sungold.

      I like your favorite picks for this year. Do try the Moby Dwarf tomato. One of the few dwarfs that I thought was outstanding. And thanks for you input on the varieties you didn’t like. Helps us narrow down our varieties!


      • amy a bowen says:

        So you know all the plant had the purple on the tops only where the sun hit. If a leaf was covered by another leaf it was green. All my plants were in a covered dog kennel. It would be hard for the Leaf Hopper to get to them -but not impossible. they were in large pots with a drip going to them. I did add the supplements you had sugged along time ago. powdered milk, epsum, yum yum-at the start. Then added yum yum through the season- I think that I will go to a liquid fertilizer next year -I think they were not getting the nutrients because I change from two drips per plant to 1.
        A Thought –I just remembered at the beginning of the season I tried the new idea of spraying all the plants with aspirin- it caused the leafs to curl and get thicker so I stopped.– But this purple change all started to happen at the end of the season.??
        well next year I will just have to see.
        Thanks for your input–always appreciated.


      • Sorry i can’t help but it is good to know about aspirin. I have read stuff on the internet promoting it and always wondered if it worked.


What do you think??

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.