Saturday, April 4, 2020
April 4, 2020

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Gardening with Allen: New tomatoes win All-America awards

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Tomato Celano is an early grape tomato with phenomenal yield.
Tomato Celano is an early grape tomato with phenomenal yield. Photo Gallery

Seven new tomatoes have received awards from All-America Selections, the nonprofit testing organization for new flower and vegetable varieties. I am only going to describe the Four varieties which are best adapted to our climate.

Tomato Celano has fruit the size and shape of grapes. Early plants have bushy or patio type growth which is an advantage for our area. Half-ounce fruits are sweeter, have better texture and are a deeper red color than other grape varieties. It is late blight resistant, which can be a problem in our area. Hybrid plants stay healthier resulting in phenomenal yields. Tomato Celano can be grown is large containers if supported with a cage.

Tomato Chef’s Choice Bicolor has unique deep yellow fruit with pink stripes. Color continues through into the flesh. It is one of the earlier large beefsteak tomatoes with 7 to 8 ounce fruits rated at 75 days after transplanting. Fruit has sweeter flavor and better texture than similar varieties. Strong indeterminate (vining) type growth matures at about 5 feet. Chef’s Choice Bicolor is resistant to several diseases. Similar to sister varieties Chef’s Choice Yellow, Orange, Red and Black, all of which have been All-America award winners.

Tomato Early Resilience is a Roma type tomato with rounded fruit. It is earlier and produces higher yields than other Roma types. Fruit is sweet, meaty and crack-resistant. Bush type plants are very disease-resistant. Excellent for cooking and canning.

Tomato Galahad is a very disease-resistant variety with large, great tasting fruit. Three inch round, red-crack-resistant fruit up to 12 ounces. Bushy determinate plants are suited to our cool climate. Rated 75 days from transplanting.

Seed and plant availability

You seldom find plants of these new AAS varieties at local stores. If you contact local greenhouses that grow their own plants you may be able to order plants from them. Contact them as soon as possible.

Seeds of all four varieties are available online from Totallytomato.com. See all-americaselections.org for other sources. Tomato is one of the easiest plants to start inside. See my Jan. 18 column for directions.

Bush vs. vining growth

Vining or indeterminate tomato varieties produce long vining branches with flowers and fruit along the branches. They are an advantage in warm growing areas because they continue to produce fruit late in the season.

Bush or determinate tomato varieties produce flowers and fruit at the end of short branches. This causes plants to develop side branches which results in a bushy appearance. Plants develop multiple fruits at the same time resulting in higher yields early in the season. In climates with cool nights, bush or determinate tomato varieties produce more harvestable fruit than indeterminate varieties with the same days to maturity rating.

Days to maturity ratings

Days to maturity ratings refer to the number of days from planting either seed or plants in the ground. Ratings found in catalogs and seed packets are developed in climates with warm night temperatures. Warm season vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, squash and cucumbers grow more slowly in our climate with cool night temperatures. I have found that I need to add about 15 days to make them equivalent for our climate. For example, a tomato variety rated at 75 days will actually mature at about 90 days in our climate. Growth stimulators like red plastic mulch and plant covers will speed development of tomatoes and other warm season vegetables.

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