for the Home Garden
by Ron Gray
|After reclaiming my
vegetable garden following good spring rains, I decided
to trial a number of tomato varieties.
My criteria were: Yield,
pest and disease resistance, vigour, earliness, continuity
of fruit and taste. The varieties chosen were Apollo, Tommy
Toe, Summer Taste, Small Fry and Grosse Lisse. Two plants
of each were planted on 31 October 2005. Grosse Lisse is a
standard large fruited variety widely planted in Canberra.
Apollo and the new release Summer Taste are hybrid varieties
bearing regular sized fruit. Tommy Toe and Small Fry are cherry
types with bite size fruits and a usually sweeter taste. A
second planting of this type was planted on 5 December 2005
and the varieties were Sugar Yellow, Sweet Bite, Tommy Toe
and Sundrop. A large fruited variety called Ron Bray given
to me by Susan Parsons was also planted on the same day. All
the plants grew well with very few problems and were trained
on 1.8 metre tomato stakes.
Earliest to fruit: Tommy Toe, Apollo on
3rd week of January.
Latest to fruit: Grosse Lisse.
Most prolific: Small Fry, Sweet Bite.
Light crop: Sugar Yellow, Sundrop.
There was some premature leaf drop due
to disease on Tommy Toe and Apollo which did not adversely
affect the growth and yield of the plants. All the varieties
were still producing plenty of fruit in mid March. Green vegetable
bug (Nezara viridula) was a huge problem. Ripening fruit imparted
a distasteful experience when sampling the affected fruit.
The larger fruited varieties were particularly susceptible
as the insect appeared to favour these varieties, particularly
Grosse Lisse. I was disappointed with the variety ‘Ron
Bray’, as it is less vigorous with rather bland tasting
fruit of regular size. I saved some seed for next season to
get a second opinion. Tasting of the cherry types was conducted
by volunteers at our program meeting on 20 February 2006.
2nd Sweet Bite
3rd Tommy Toe
4th Small Fry
5th Sugar Yellow
Finally, I intend to grow varieties such as Burwood Prize
and Graf Zeppelin next season, but will definitely continue
with the cherry tomatoes as these provide large amounts of
tasty fruit over a long season. It is a good idea to stagger
the planting times. Later crops appear more pest and disease
resistant and continue to provide fruit up to the early frosts.
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