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

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Old September 7, 2021   #1
sic transit gloria
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: KS 5b/6a
Posts: 223
Default 2021 Best and Worst

I looked, but surprisingly so no "year in review" type thread. So, here were my favorites and duds for 2021.

Top flavor goes to Aunt Ginny's Purple. I've been growing heirloom tomatoes for over 20 years, and I've lnow about AGP for probably the last 10 or more years, and even attempted to grow it one year, but it didn't germinate. Well, this year was the year. I typically go for the acid/sweet balance, but AGP is on the sweeter side; nevertheless, it was a real standout this year. Not tons of production, but the flavor will put it in the yearly rotation.

Honorable Mentions:

Neves Azorean Red was great this year, and maintains its place in the yearly rotation.
Kitaskaya Princessa was new to me this year. A green-when-ripe (GWR), this plant was super productive and very tasty. I'm not sure it replaces Malachite Box or Green Giant, but I'll likely grow it out next year and have a shootout with Malachite Box.
Lucky Cross, although late, was really nice. As with most bi-colors, it was pretty sweet and large. I think it eclipsed Virginia Sweets as my go-to bi-color.


Well, there's always at least one dud every year, whether it be bad flavor or miserly production. This year Brown Cherry takes the crown of shame. I has such high hopes on seeing these giant clusters of tomatoes. The flavor was not good, unfortunately. The size was larger than a cherry, which is fine, and the plant was super productive, like most cherries, but the flavor left a lot to be desired. To be entirely honest, I'm not big on cherry tomatoes in the first place due to the high seed-to-flesh ratio, but these were not good at all. So, I will return to Black Cherry, which does have a nice flavor.
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Old September 7, 2021   #2
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Wasilla Alaska
Posts: 1,993

Im going to revisit Aunt Ginney's Purple. Black Cherry is hard to be in that category, I grow it every year.
For an OP that is circulated, I ate another very good Rebel Yell this year.

I was disappointed in the Chef's Choice series I trialed this year. I expected more marketable tomatoes shapewise, and the flavor was not spectacular. Just let down, not a dud.
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Old September 7, 2021   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Metro Denver
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Evil Olive-dud dud dud dud...and I wanted to like it. Really did. But what a spitter in my garden!
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Old September 8, 2021   #4
Koala Doug
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Location: Detroit
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Dester was my favorite this year for flavor (9 out of 10). It was moderately affected by the constantly changing weather though.

Summer Sweet Gold tasted very good (8 out of 10), but it didn't like the weather this year and dropped a fair amount of blossoms.

Dwarf Firebird Sweet was also quite tasty (8 out of 10)... and it powered through all the inclement weather to be very productive all season.

Black Cherry was better tasting this year than I had experienced it before (now it is a solid 7 out of 10). It was also very productive and quite tolerant of this year's crappy weather.

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Old September 8, 2021   #5
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Central MN, USDA Zone 3
Posts: 208

Hot and drouth. No serious standouts with two exceptions: Golden Bison, bred by Dr Ralph Yeager in ND during the dustbowl years, and Dakota Sport, a selection out of another Yeager variety.

Honorable mention to Dwarf Johnson Cherry; we about drowned in them: we had so many we roasted some and froze the roasted Cherries to eat over pasta or rice this winter.

Next up, Bonny Best, which delivered a bounty for canning.

Dissapointment? Probably Isis Candy, which didn't like the heat. Opalka paste didn't like 100 degree days either.

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
a day without fresh homegrown tomatoes is like... ...sigh
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Old September 9, 2021   #6
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Romania/Germany , z 4-6
Posts: 1,581

I grew an F2 of a spectacular store bought tomato. The shape and size was nothing like the original, and the taste was below average, it grew more like roma-shaped and meaty like a roma.

Spears Tennessee Green still one of the top producers and also good taste, a bit more watery this year but flavor still good. So is my hybrid that I make since a few years, fabulous taste, probably the best this year since the gwrs didn't perform as good as usual.
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Old September 9, 2021   #7
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Ontario
Posts: 3,808

I was disappointed in Candy Sweet Icicle. It was a short little runt which really attracted flea beetles. It could have been the weather, but taste was bland for the longest time. It tasted better later, but had a lot of competition by then. I won't be growing it again.
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Old September 9, 2021   #8
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: N.C.
Posts: 1,799

Carbon copy was my winner this year. Crazy production and taste.
Honorable mention- My Orange Slice grow out, Shannon’s, CP of course, Mexico Midget was insane...again. Sun gold is still going!

Duster was a dud. Nothing.
Orange Oxheart didn’t taste well at all

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Old September 11, 2021   #9
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Location: MA
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Aunt Ginny's Purple - My all-time favorite variety.
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Old September 12, 2021   #10
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Madison, OH, zone 6
Posts: 359

SOTW, Lucky Cross, Dester, & Polish were my best tasting varieties and my biggest disappointment was Karkiano. Green Giant and Casey's Pure Yellow were pretty good also.

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Old September 12, 2021   #11
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Indiana
Posts: 1,075

Best regular-sized was Mountaineer Pride OP (Southern Exposure Seeds). Best small variety was Ruby Crush hybrid (Totally Tomatoes). In addition to other good qualities, RC has incredible shelf life. RC did far better in an EarthBox than in the ground. Worst overall were Dwarf Arctic Rose and Rosella Crimson due to incredible sun scald.

"Biggest disappointment:" Burpee's Bodacious. (But still a very good tomato...) They are too big (for me)! Almost all at or over a pound, with virtually no cracks or BER. My largest was 1lb-6 oz. Beautiful dark green RL foliage with good cover. Juicy and not a lot of core. Good production (for such a large tomato). Does not do well in containers -- Burpee confirmed this. I grew mine in a 15 gallon bag, and it got wilted each day from heat and sun. The tomatoes still developed normally with little if any sunscald.

Last edited by Greatgardens; September 13, 2021 at 10:45 AM.
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Old September 16, 2021   #12
D.J. Wolf
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: Illinois
Posts: 132

Season is not yet over here...but so far I have to say that Cherokee Purple was the favorite as far as taste goes so far on the big tomatoes. Also biggest so far with a couple going just over a pound. It did seem to just shut down production fairly early though.

SunSugar blew me away for production and taste. Definitely will be in my garden next year, and more than 1 plan.

Burpee's Early Treat surprised me. Larger than expected, with lots of tomatoes at 10-14 ounces. It's still producing, and they are good tasting tomatoes.

Disapointments: Red Brandywine and Mortgage lifter. Both plants almost completely died in July. leaves and then stems turned brown and died back. The surprising thing is that now, 2 months later, both plants have totally recovered from looking almost completely dead, are popping out new blossoms and fruit. Just remains to be seen if I actually get any more ripe ones.

Strangest things this year: My porterhouse plants grew like crazy and then just sat there. No blooms, no fruit, no nothing. Now I've finally got the first couple starting to turn and by the looks of it they will upset Cherokee Purple for biggest tomatoes of the year.

Then biggest surprise was the 3 volunteer plants that came up. They were, as I feared, a non-spectacular tomato I grew last year that I didn't care for. However, production this year was better than what I grew last year on them. Taste was blah though. They did do really good in salsa however!
Kevin (aka the DJ)
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #13
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Madison, OH, zone 6
Posts: 359
Default Biggest tomato for 2021

My largest fruit this year was a 32 oz. Lucky Cross. Also had a 29.8 oz Volovie Ukho and a 27.88 oz Karkiano as well as a Green Giant at 26.2 oz.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #14
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: virginia
Posts: 632

Turned out to be a good year for tomatoes, but didn't start out that way. Flooding rains until July and then dry as a bone for the most part since.

Tried 3 new tomatoes from Russia and enjoyed all three.

Monomakh's Hat - This tomato is a huge heart from Russia and to my taste is is just as tasty as any of the Brandywine types and grows just as good or better. I see a lot of reviews saying it is determinate or semi-determinate but it is indeterminate. Wispy foliage so had to use an old sheet to shade in July and August.

Red Konigsberg tomato - Nice Tomato, very productive and good taste. Comes in all colors. Wispy

Siberian Miracle - Pink, round to oval shape. Very good taste and texture. Not wispy. Grows in all conditions and very productive

On a sad note olzzaas on Ebay where I purchased these tomato seeds for many years is no longer a registered user. Big loss as these tomato seeds were commercial seeds and the real deal and cheap

Cherokee Purple and Indian Zebra were great as always.

Earl's Faux and Stump of the World were outstanding in taste but I think the heavy rains early hurt the production a little. Still got all I wanted. First year growing Stump of the World and was a little earlier than Earl's Faux

Rose - Good Tasting pink tomato but the above pinks were better

Old Brooks - Big red tomatoes on about a 4 foot bushy tomato plant. Didn't get the acidic taste they are famous for but was good and a very pretty tomato.

Arkansas Traveler - This is my go to tomato. Never fails. Produces in all conditions and tastes great from start to finish and always gives plenty of blushing or green tomatoes to ripen inside for salads well into late December. Grew 6 plants this year. All others just one or two plants.

Abraham Lincoln - This is the real Abraham Lincoln from 1923. Strange tomato plant. It looks like it has two different kinds of tomatoes on the same plant. One is a huge pleated tomato and one is a perfectly round medium to large tomato. Most productive tomato plant I have ever seen. Very tall. I had to add an extention on the cage very early. When it was about 8 feet tall it was loaded with tomatoes from the bottom to the top. A lot had yellow shoulders. I will post a video below and in the video it says that this tomato did not take off like Buckbee's thought it would. The reason I think it didn't take off is that the tomato is very soft and almost mealy but the taste is ok I froze them

I guess the only dud I had was Pale Perfect Purple. Got wrong seeds from the seed seller. I knew it was wrong when they all came up regular leaf. Double checked by growing more seeds and they were all regular leaf. Turned out to be Rose
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #15
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Metro Denver
Posts: 599

@seaeagle- thanks for the informative report! I sure hope you saved seeds and maybe some of those Russian tomatoes might find their way to MMMM!

Pale Perfect Purple did really well in my garden from the Carolyn Male Tribute. If you want seeds I have some fermenting now. DM me.
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