grow, marvel, eat, laugh, persevere

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Tomatoes I'm Growing In 2009

Sometimes coming up with a catchy title is exhausting

Now that my tomatoes are finally in the ground, I wanted to tell you which ones I'm growing this year. It's only my 3rd year gardening, but my tomato lineup this year blows the two prior years out of the water. 17 tomato plants total. 17! For two people! I can't help it. I love anything related to tomatoes from ketchup to straight tomato sandwiches, so since I have the space now, I'm going all out.

This year my tomato plants came from 3 sources. The plant sale supporting our future community garden in Forest Park (FPCG) the heirloom tomato plant sale sponsored by Slow Food Chicago, and good ole Jewel Grocery in River Forest who carried organic and heirloom plants for the second year in a row.

Looking at all these plants, it's easy for me to tell the source even without a tag. The ones we grew from seed for our community garden plant sale look the feeblest. In their defense, I bought them in early May and they've been sitting on my patio in their bio-degradable cups filled with nutrition-less coco fiber since then. So, I'm just glad they're alive!

The ones from Slow Food look better but still not all that lush. Damien commented to me that this is their 3rd year growing tomatoes from seed and that these plants look much better after the lessons they've learned over the past couple of years. And the best looking ones by far are the ones I purchased at Jewel. I don't really want to think about why. Period.

Oh, the other thing is that I have no labels on any of the plants that I purchased from the Forest Park Community Garden plant sale. I wrote on the cup with a black marker but it wore off in the rain. This has happened to me before. I never learn.

What I'm growing

  1. Roma by Jewel
  2. Super Sweet 100 by Jewel
  3. Rutgers by Jewel
  4. Mortgage Lifter by Jewel
  5. Cherokee Purple by Jewel
  6. True Black Brandywine by Slow Food
  7. Cuor di Bue by Slow Food
  8. Tappy's Heritage by Slow Food
  9. Tess's Land Race Currant by Slow Food
  10. Riesentraube by Slow Food
  11. Brandywine by FPCG
  12. Sugar Sweetie by FPCG
  13. Beefsteak by FPCG

This year I'm hoping to try canning. I helped my mom with it once years ago and we had a great time and made some delish Marinara and Salsa. I'd like to can enough of both to last us the entire season, but it'll be hard. We eat a lot of spaghetti!

If you purchased tomato plants from Slow Food, be sure to check out their Chicago Tomato Fest blog where Damien is asking us to report our tomato progress throughout the season. And even if you didn't, stop on by there for your tomato fix.

What kind of tomatoes are you growing this year?


  1. Hi Gina, my tomato babies are about the same size as yours--my list of types in on my blog... we have none in common because there are just a gajillion and six varieties (approx.). :)

  2. Your garden is looking great! I planted Black Krim and Fox Cherry tomatoes this year, and I have some volunteers from last year, potentially Cherry Chadwick, Subartic Red Plenty, and/or Tappy's Heritage Red tomatoes. It'll be a bit before we have any actual edible tomatoes, but I can't wait!

  3. Thanks for spreading the word. I took a spin out to my folk's garden in Hinsdale last night and can not believe how big the plants are. From the same seedlings as the plants we sold, we already have multiple flowers, and the plants are ready to be tied. I'll take a camera next time I go.

    If the Jewel plants are heirloom and organic, they might simply be benefiting from a professional greenhouse. They probably were started earlier and held in a warm, humid greenhouse.

    The staggered approach is a good deal. You'll have plants fruting at different times and with some many tomatoes for 2 people, that's a good thing. At the same time, June is never as important as it seems to be in my experience. Some nice hot July weather will be a great equalizer for sure.

    The raised beds look great. Are you doing any companion planting?

  4. I think I've got 7 varieties and 15 plants? I posted on it a while ago. I hear you on the coming up with catchy titles is just too much work sometimes.

  5. Mortgage Lifters? Love that name. I have 17 tomato lants with 9 different varieties, but Mortgage Lifters takes the cake, er tomato.
    We too love tomatoes!

  6. Looking good...congrats on getting the raised beds up

  7. Looks good--you'll soon learn you can never have enough tomato plants! Last year I had 12 plants of 5 different varieties (store bought hybrids)--got a ton of cherries, but not much else. Hoping for much better this year--45 plants of 27 (?) different varieties, all but 8 grown from seed. They will shoot up overnight--here in SE Texas (back at the end of April), I had 6" plants still in their 9oz cups, and a week later I had to transplant to 18oz cups because they grew over a foot in a week!

    Good luck--the beds look good!

  8. I have 4 Heirloom varieties started from seed from a fellow gardener. Black Prince, Wild Cherry, Italian Heirloom, Northern Lights. Good luck with your bunch!

  9. Hi Gina,

    I'm not growing any of those. I keep meaning to buy seeds for Mortgage Lifter, but I end up getting blindsided by all of the other pretty 'maters in the seed catalogs :-)

    We'll definitely have to do a seed swap (if you end up saving seeds, of course!)

    I have my list up on my blog right now, too.

  10. Hey Tomato Queen! Just be sure to save me some big plump juicy green ones :-) The brandywine's are supposed to be some of the best from what I hear.

    I'm growing two heirlooms-Czech Bush and a Russian which are extremely early and prolific.

  11. I completely understand the tomato fixation. I have six varieties for a small balcony garden! (Small-fruit varieties only.) I'll check back in to see how yours grow. Cheers!

  12. Wow Gina - that's a lotta maters! We have some in common - Cherokee purple, (trying for the first time,) Rutgers (my favorite,) and Brandywine,(close second to Rutgers.)

    Cherokee purple is pretty sizable already - it must be more cool-tolerant, the rest are pretty small, especially the cherries.

    I want to try Carolyn's two early and prolific heirlooms now after reading her post about her tomatoes.

    They'll all take off once the weather gets warmer and sunnier. It's pretty amazing how fast they grow.

    I'm jealous of all your veggie-growing space! :)