Heirloom tomatoes in Upper Midwest

Hi, We now have three ripening clusters of Stupice tomatoes, which appear like cherry tomatoes about 1 1/4" diameter, even though they are not classified as such. Also a ripening Beam's Yellow Pear tomato which appears " long. How long should they remain ripe-on-the-vine for optimum size and taste? Is the best time to pick after a full day of sun? Regards, Phil
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

You will have to taste them to find out. The taste depends on pH, manuring, sunshine. I have both your varieties, and this year the YP are sweeter than in the past. Mixed in with a sharper Stupice, they make better yellow-red salads than in years past. Stupice is the workhorse of the upper midwest tomato garden, great little tomato.
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simy1 wrote:

We made our first harvest last weekend. We had two Yellow Pears that have normal 3" size which were hibachi'd and tasted fine and were meaty. We had about 20 Stupice that still only about 1 1/4" diameter. The Brandywines are still all green but many fruits will be 3+ inch size and larger. Planted seedling 3rd week in June, about 3 wks after Memorial Day last frost date. Our vines are quite tall, over 6 feet and climbing! So far no disease or bugs; our first trial.
Why are our Brandywines taking so long? Why is there such a fruit size difference between Stupice and Brandywines? Only one Brandywine showed blossom end rot; bought some hydrated lime but not applied. They are planted in same plot. Our first frost date is October 1st. Regards, Phil
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Brandywine are late season. Stupice are ultra early, and yellow pear are early. I use wood ash to lime my tomatoes (and everything else). If you were to get San Marzano and Early Girl, you would be growing every tomato I am growing.
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simy1 wrote:

Since Minneapolis, Twin Cities, Minn end of tomato growing season is possibly 5 weeks away should we be doing any pruning to enhance fruit ripening? The vines are growing prolifically right now, 6 ft going on 7 ft, with lots of blossoms and setting. We have stopped fertilizing about 2 weeks ago.
On the Stupice, will reducing fruit load mean the fruit will be larger? Right now they seem to be OK fresh and maybe bagged for the freezer. Certainly not for canning!
Eg, cut off new blossoms, top the leader, prune off the suckers, other ideas?
Regards, Phil
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

don't know how to advise you on this one. I never do anything of the sort, though I do get earlier and poorer fruiting from stressed plants. In another post someone has suggested driving a spade in the ground near the plant to cut part of the roots.
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On 24 Aug 2006 14:57:43 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

They're different varieties, that's why. Brandywines have been selected to produce fewer but larger tomatoes, and it takes longer for them to grow. Stupice have been selected to produce lots of tomatoes quickly in cooler temperatures, thus the size of the tomatoes is smaller.
This fall, get some gardening catalogues or peruse the web for heirloom tomatoes. Read up on the different varieties, find out which ones do well in your area. Most catalog descriptions tell you how large the fruit is, and an approximate number of days from transplanting to ripe fruit. Think about what you want to do with the tomato; some are better for eating fresh, some make better tomato paste, and some are recommended for canning. Do you want large, slicing tomatoes, tomatoes for salad, ect. And then try not to get carried away by all the luscious sounding tomatoes, and order ten times more than you could ever plant!
I grow a mix. I like Stupice for my early tomatoes. In my zone 8 yard, I can sometimes get ripe tomatoes the first week of May with Stupice. But I like large slicing tomatoes, too, so I grow a few Brandywines. I tried a new tomato this year, Tropic, and I was very pleased with its performance. I also gave Ozark Pinks a try, and they did ok. I bought a tomato that started with a "z" at the Spring Flower Festival from a man with an heirloom tomato booth that did well, but I lost the blasted tag! I hope he comes back next year.
Penelope
--
"Maybe you'd like to ask the Wizard for a heart."
"ElissaAnn" < snipped-for-privacy@everybodycansing.com>
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Penelope Periwinkle wrote:

We bought Stupice seedlings from Seed Savers.org in Decorah, Iowa. Their description in catalog is:
"One of the four original Czechoslovakian varieties sent to the U. S. by Milan Sodomka. Potato-leaf 4' plants loaded with 2" by 2" diameter fruits borne in clusters. Extremely early, great flavor. Heavy yields all season. Produces well in northern climates. Indeterminate, 55-70 days from transplant."
Our Stupice fruit is 1" too small. It seems that the Brandywines are more typical,
"Our best selling tomato and one of the best tasting tomatoes available to gardeners today. Large pink beefsteak fruits to 2 pounds. Incredibly rich, delightfully intense tomato flavor. Indeterminate, 90 days from transplant."
We will harvest our first Brandywine tomorrow and tell you our opinion.

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Our first pink Brandywine was 4 1/2" diameter. It had a lot of fissures near the stem end but else was intact and had no blemished areas. After trimming away the fissures and cutting out the extended stem-like-green inside the tomato, we tasted it and it tasted just like all other tomatoes. Other than the size, it wasn't much different than other vine-ripened tomatoes or the Stupice. Is this the typical experience of other Hierloom growers?
Lucky for us there are many other Brandywines, still green, on the two 6 ft vines.
Our largest Stupice still is about 1 1/2", now into our third partial harvest. Any way to encourage growth to 2 1/2", the advertised size? Regards, Phil
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I'm still waiting on my Branywines but the Striped German tomatoes have just reached maturity. I was reading "The Politics of Food" by Marion Nestle, when my wife put the evening salad on the table. I finished a couple of more sentences when the purfume of tomatoes wafted into my consciousness. The tomatoes weren't overwhelming in flavor. No full body orgasm as you might expect fom heroin but subtly, persuasivly tomato-y (not to put too fine a point on it). I was pleased with my season's work.
I suspect that like wine tasting, the emotional component can influence taste. Sometimes your taste buds are best in the morning, or when you are very hungry, or when you are relaxed and having a good time.
And no I wasn't being a male sexist pig being waited on by my wife. We were having left-overs from the previous couple of days, "giant zucchini" lasagna, garden pesto, and smoked chicken breast salad that I had cooked. My "liebchen" took the opportunity to promenade the garden for the tomatoes for the tomato salad* and the pleasure of it.
- Bill
* red onion + mozzarella + basil + vinagrette
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William L. Rose wrote:

Hi Bill and All, Have made second harvest of Brandywines, about eight each of 4+ incher. The taste is much better. Since we have been having 2 weeks of rain and cool damp weather, mildew has appeared and attacked the Brandywines first. We got some organic mildewcide, but probably with the cool fall weather, it will be too late to be any use. Our first frost, in SE Minnesota, probably will occur on schedule in a couple weeks, Oct 1.
It appears that the Beam's Yellow Pear tomatoes is going to be far and away the most prolific heirloom, with vines 8+ft long. They are overtaking the Brandywines, Amish Paste, and Stupice. The Amish Paste were the least productive. Too bad the 1 inch long Beam's tomatoes are more trouble than they are worth!
During the cool, rainy spell, the Stupice are showing skin cracking on the shoulder of almost every tomato. What causes this?
Should we harvest all tomatoes (ripe or not) during the eve of the first hard frost?
Regards, Phil
-----

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Silicon, I guess if I were you I would harvest everything and put the green tomatoes on a window sill to ripen.
If you have the time and the energy, you may want to build a green house (tunnel) over your tomatoes, if you think there may be more good days ahead.
James wrote:
Huh? A PVC pipe for each hoop costs $1.60. 100 feet of 12 ft poly costs $27. The clamps will cost you another $20, and you have to have some bricks to hold down the poly on windy days (concrete chunks will do as well). If treated well, the poly lasts three years and the clamps and hoops last forever. You are looking at $15 per winter harvest.
Works if you don't live in a windy area. It's easier to hold down the poly than to keep it from tearing. Hoop tunnels 2' or 3' may work better in windy areas.
I live in a fairly windy area. It took me a couple winters to get the tunnels down pat. You need clamps, double clamps at the end of the tunnels, and a smooth tunnel with some poly laying on the path, wieghed down by bricks, so that no air can get inside. I never had a blowout when there is deep snow, it seals the tunnels perfectly.
Yes, the tunnels are low enough that you can crawl under. The beds are about 25 ft long, and 4ft wide, so one sheet, cut into three, covers them all with a few feet of waste. You need the sheets to be several feet longer than the beds to tuck the ends properly.
You buy the PVC pipes at Home Depot that are, from memory, 3/4" thick. You also buy the 100X12 rolls of clear plastic from the Paint section. I prefer 4mils, but 6 or even 2 will usually do (I have tried all three). The PVC pipes are 12 ft long. You cut them at an angle at the tips, bend them, and stick them one foot into the ground on either side. Total hoop length: 10 feet.
You can either put a hoop every four feet, which makes it a bit difficult to maneuver a wheelbarrow, or every 7 feet, like I do, and them put an extra pipe on top of the hoops for extra strength, secured to the hoops with cable ties and a screw to avoid slipping. The top pipes are connected to one another with PVC cement and a connector, exactly as if you were building your plumbing.
Once you have all the hoops in place, and I leave them there, summer and winter, you garden the beds normally until it is time to cover them. The clamps can be found at Territorial Seeds and are half cylinder that clamp onto the pipes tigthly, grabbing the plastic. They are excellent. The one foot of plastic on either side (12-10=2) can be held down with bricks. The ends, too, can be held down with bricks. The secret to keep the tunnels going in windy weather is to make sure as little air as possible comes in. Specially the ends, I put down a continuous line of bricks to eliminate air leaks. If there is snow on the ground, no air comes in and the seal is perfect.
The plastic I am suggesting is not UV-treated and is not indicated for summer use. In my case, I use it for about 3-4 years, and typically I toss it due to various mechanical tears, like when I try to get ice off of it. There is negligible UV degradation in the winter. I cover on the Thanksgiving weekend and uncover on April 1.
That's the best advice I can offer but with any luck someone else in the news group will come up with a different approach.
I'm in Northern California and my main concern is rain that can hammer my plants into a pulp. Hopefully I'll be able to address this problem but presently I am working 10 to 11 hours a day, 6 days a week, which leaves me precious little time for my garden. However, Sunday my wife and I smoked some ribs and the last of our corn. She made some potatoes with onion and garlic and I did a tomato salade with basil and mozzarella, and a side dish of romano beans. It was one of the best meals we have had this year. There is nothing like cooking from the garden.
Good luck and start planning for next year, if you haven't already.
- Bill
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William L. Rose wrote:

Hi William and All,
As the snow and ice drop into Minnesota today, 10/11, from the North Pole, we have harvested all the red (reddish) tomatoes and green peppers. Our top bearing heirloom tomatoes were Brandywine, Stupice, Beam's Yellow Pear and least Amish Paste.
We did experience mildew disease late in the season. But decided not to use the copper mildewcide so late in the season; just killed watering, and let our sandy soil stop it spread. The vines are held up with many 6ft bamboo poles.
The Beam's Yellow Pears were the most prolific bearing, but most are still green and the snow is gonna cover the still blooming flowers. The Beam's were least favored, as the tomatoes are too small, about 1 1/4" long and the flesh tastes meally and tasteless. However, the cluster bunches are attractive looking. Regards, Phil

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Phil, the Summer was disappointing here in Northern California. The season got off to a late start, for us, with heavy rains through April. Normally we are in the ground by the first of April. I haven't grown heirloom tomatoes before but they have given a good accounting of themselves. They even ripened before my "Early Girls". Right now, I am where we normally are by the first of August. But of course the mildew has arrived, killing off the squash, except for the lemon cucumber, and is starting to move on to the tomatoes. This must sound wonderful to you, but it is not what the locals expect here.
The Brandywines have been great, large, meaty, with good acid to give them that tang. The Striped Germans where large and meaty but with decidedly less tang (acidity). Both were good and both give lots of liquids if left over night. I'm glad that I planted some Juliets for my salsa sauce. The Early Girls, First Lady, and the Juliets are still producing unblemished fruit, whereas the Brandywines and the Striped Germans are showing considerable cosmetic damage.
I am surprised how quickly the Brandywine and Striped German deteriorate once they are picked. But they are large and delicious.
Next year, I hope to try more types of tomatoes but I know that the Early Girls, First Lady, Juliets, Brandywine and Striped Germans will figure into my plantings.
My biggest failure this year has been my peppers. The jalapenos and the habaneros have done just fine but the milder Italian and Hungarian haven't had the heat or time that they needed.
This was my first year to try to grow from seed and these and the medicinal herbs were among my disasters. Wait till next year.
Mean while I have been working the grape harvest for the last six weeks. We have brought in half of the winery's harvest and plan to finish this Friday! Lordy, Lordy. Overtime is not all that one could hope for.
Down with Bush.
Peace.
- Bill

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Phil, the cracking in your tomatoes was due to excessive expansion in the tomatoes because of absorbing too much water.
My cucurbits (sp?) have fallen to the midew.
The late rain (April) here in Northern California will probably translate into fewer excellent wines this year. The mildew established itself in the flowers and subsequently in the grapes which are now molding from the inside out.
Some of my experimental plants (tomatoes and peppers) are so close to producing fruit but the night time temps are falling into the low forties and the plants aren't responding. November is a couple of weeks away and the chance of more heat seems very unlikely.
I probably won't try the First Lady tomato again because the Striped German and Branywine are so good. I need a good early season tomato and maybe a good paste tomato.
I definitley will try to get an earlier start will my seedlings and hopefully the weather will cooperate.
I was trying for a fall garden, but one of my dogs wiped out 2/3s of it. Sigh.
Anyway, let me know how your tomatoes do next year and which ones you prefer.
Stay warm.
- Bill
Coloribus gustibus non disputatum.
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Color is a good indicator. When the Yellow Pear turn completely yellow, that is
probably the optimum time. If you leave them on too long, they will start to develop a brownish cast, which is a sign of over ripeness. The red tomatoes behave differently depending on variety. Some will turn completely red or purple, while others stubbornly won't change color, close to the stem. I will give these later tomatoes a few days of sun to completely color up, but if they start showing signs of over softness, I pick them anyways. The longer you can keep them on the vine without spoiling, the sweeter they become. Once you sample taste them, you can associate color with amount of ripeness.
Sherwin D.
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