One of the major tasks on the farm in the last couple of weeks has been finalizing our seed selection. Thankfully, the minus 30 degree temperatures are perfect for this kind of work so it has been an enjoyable process. We will be growing several new carrot and onion varieties this season and have made numerous smaller alterations in our seed line up, but the most significant changes have been in the tomato department so I will take some time to highlight these new selections.
We still want to devote a large proportion of our space to growing the more flavourful and colourful heirlooms, but after the experience we had last year with disease and cracking, we will attempt to lower our risk somewhat by also growing a few hybrid varieties. Hybrids, which are first generation crosses between two parent plants, are typically more resistant to diseases and often produce fruit that is less susceptible to cracking. Here is a breakdown of our tomato selection organized by size.
Cherry Tomatoes: These first 4 tomatoes are all indeterminate varieties that mature at about the same time. We are hoping to combine them in an attractive mix for snacking and salads. They are Juliet (top left), Blush (top right), Black Cherry (bottom left), and Pink Bumblebee (bottom right).
Mid-sized Tomatoes: This second group of 4 tomatoes are all heirloom varieties of medium size (golf ball to tennis ball size). The mid-sized heirlooms seem to hold up better against cracking and scarring compared to cherry or large slicing heirloom tomatoes. We are looking forward to interesting flavour variation among this group and plan to bundle them as a nice salad tomato mix. They are Taxi (top left), Jaune Flame (top right), Manitoba (bottom left), and Black Prince (bottom right).
Beefsteak Tomatoes: We wanted to offer at least one large meaty slicing tomato for those summer burgers and we are going to hedge our bets this year by growing one heirloom and one hybrid. The heirloom variety on the left is called Carbon and the hybrid on the right is called Big Beef. Their fruit should be in the 10-14 ounce range (soft ball sized).
Roma Tomato: Lastly, we will be growing our trusty San Marzano tomatoes again for a fall saucing and canning tomato. This is an heirloom determinate variety that matures slowly, but has proven to be hardy, productive, and dependable in past years so we are giving it another chance to perform this summer.