Every spring I plant differen varieties of tomato plants from different
nurseries. None seems to taste as good as the ones I used to plant 20 years
ago. I realize that taste buds get old at the same rate as the rest of our
organs. But, could it be that besides my taste buds going south they are no
longer selling good tomato plants? Is this a consequence of the fact that
today's tomatos have been selected to resist nematode, fusarium, verticilum
and other dumping-off causing diseases and in the process good traits having
to do with flavor had to be compromised?
Does anybody know where to buy seeds of the old and tasty varieties?
Thank you in advance.
On 10/20/05 9:24 PM, in article o4_5f.2338$ email@example.com,
To my mind, it is hard to beat Better Boy or Celebrity. Some of them could
replace stone fruit for sweetness while having tomato flavor. I have also
gotten Momotaro at the local farmers' market. Great! Campari tomatoes are
also good. I also have had superb beefsteak varieties and cherry tomatoes.
There are plenty of good varieties available although there also are some
poor ones as well.
Where are you located? Here in the US there are many places online
that sell seeds from what are called "heirloom" varieties, tomatoes
once popular and common, but not easy to come by in most local
A bit of googling with get you more. Scan the sites and see which ones
appeal most to you. You may also want to look around for some yahoo
seed exchange groups and check with your local extension service to
see if they have seed recommendations for your area.
Territorial Seeds has a vast collection of heirloom seeds. Yes, plants
from nurseries produce inferior
tasting tomatoes, like the various boys and girls. From Territorial, I
grow the following heirlooms: yellow pear, Costoluto (this one gets too
much disease though), Brandywine (the standard for
taste), san marzano (a plum type) and Stupice (a cold weather early
tomato). They have other ones that I am told rival Brandywine in
flavor. But when Brandywine is in season I need nothing else.
Obviously, there are things you can do to improve your tomatoes flavor,
regardless of type, in my case they make better tomatoes when given
lots of organic matter (a couple buckets per plant) and wood ash. And
the heirlooms crack and get diseases more often than the hybrids you
buy, so you have to be more careful with watering (not too much, not
too little, very constant), and you want to keep the plants well off
the ground, and the ground underneath well mulched, and no splashing
with the hose (I have drip).
You forgot the most important thing to provide ideal tomato taste....
No matter how consistent I am in planting and growing, flavors vary
year to year because of weather. This year was a pleasure in Northern
On 10/21/05 9:22 AM, in article firstname.lastname@example.org,
Your name reminded me. After years of using the same soil, it gets depleted.
If you merely replace the major minerals, nitrogen, phosphorous, and
potassium (NPK), some of the other essential minerals may be lacking. That
includes boron, which in excess can kill plants. Other elements,
particularly calcium and magnesium may get depleted at a good rate.
I have a very large container garden. I empty most of the small pots
each spring and about half the soil in the larger tubs. It gets mixed
with compost, peat moss and manure and used in the "real" garden down
I order tomato seeds from Tomato Growers Supply Co. tempts me to
endlessly try some new 'old' variety each year.
This year I grew 'Stump of the World' which is a bit smaller and earlier
and way more productive than Brandywine (just like the catalog said) and
outstanding eating. According to the catalog, this variety "was part of the
Ben Quisinberry Collection, which also contributed the variety Brandywine"
and it will be a regular for me from now on. I've tried various strains of
Brandywine but never was happy with them for being prone to cracking
and turning into fruit fly breeding zones. Should be a staple from now
I also tried 'Anna Russian' for the first time. This is a great meaty
Oxheart-type tomato and another keeper, I think.
And lastly, another standout this year was 'Azoychka' which was sent along
as a freebie (though I suppose I would have tried it eventually!) and will
definitely be grown again, as it was a wonderful (and very early) yellow
beefsteak. I hope it will be more reliable than my old favorite 'Golden
Queen' which is a wonderful tomato (when producing) but not very
The big dissapointment was 'Copia' which looked absolutely stunning
and had a very good flavor but was extremely watery. I'll probably
give it another try, though, because the extra plant I gave away was
a hit with the recipient. This cross (between Green Zebra and Marvel
Stripe) may be less stabilized than advertised.
My favorite sauce tomatoes are 'Classica' and 'Tuscany' though I'm not
sure where one can get the latter from as it doesn't appear to be carried by
Johnny's Selected Seeds anymore (I couldn't find it on their website).
Does anyone know a current source for 'Tuscany'?
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)
Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.
I made a note of the "stump". But I find the Brandywines to be cracking
in those beds where I have not (yet) replaced all the native soil
(sandy). Where there is at least one foot of organic matter, they crack
Were you planting in the same zone and soil-type 20 years ago? Light-sandy
soil tomats are different than those grown in heavy-clay soil. I have found
the sandier the soil, the tarter the t'mater.
Do you prefer tomats that are sweet or acidic? What flavor do your tomats
My take on this; plant varieties that are available commercially to
JQPublic are those that stand up well under conditions commonly found at
garden centers and big-box stores. A variety that doesn't hold up well in
the store won't produce many sales, so the stores have no reason to carry
'Store seeds' available locally pose another question. Are they the best
suited for that area's growing conditions or are they just what's sold
everywhere by the seed company? My best guess is you can expect to find
Your local Ag-extension service, of one still exists, should have
information on what varieties do best in your area.
You all have provided a wealth of information. What a great newsgroup this
is! Thank you to all who took the time to share their knowledge and
experience. I learned a lot. I'm in Southern California. Twenty years ago I
lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. Different soil, different climate.
I'll keep in mind all the advices and information you gave me and put them
to practice next spring. I will visit this newsgroup more often from now on.
Thank you again. You are great!
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