I feel virtuous about spending at the Toronto Botanical Garden plant sale (which remains on till Sunday). Virtuous because what I bought* was tomato plants, mostly heritage ones at that. Three of them will find a home at my allotment in the community garden. One will probably stay home with mamma, churning out cherry tomatoes.
I picked varieties that should produce fruit in stages throughout the season, although if things go better than last year (hopefully, avoiding late blight), there’ll be a glut of tomatoes at the end of the season.
Staying home will be Lycopersicon (or Solanum – I wish taxonomists would cut out all these name changes) ‘Sweet Million’, said to be an improved version of the ‘Sweet 100’ cherry tomato, producing millions of sweet fruits, even in part shade. Well, we’ll put that to the test in the Microgarden. It matures in about 60 days, the earliest of my picks.
Next is ‘Fireball’, which matures in 65 days – very early for a beefsteak type tomato. Like me, it was introduced in 1952, so calling us heirloom or heritage tomatoes might be a little much. Still.
Then we come to ‘Arkansas Traveler’, a mid-season tomato noted for its drought resistance. I’ve read it’s a good producer of small to medium-sized pink tomatoes. Although the label says “pre-1900s heirloom,” other sources say this is a late-20th-century release by the same name as a heritage tomato.
Finally, there’s the late-season tomato ‘Black Krim’, which really is heritage. I’ve read rave reviews about its flavour, so am eager for the first bite of this black tomato, in about 75-90 days.
Pictured here, besides my baby tomatoes, is celebrity checkout guy Paul Zammit, the TBG’s director of horticulture. Also, a scene from the plant sale. Lots of goodies to tempt people.
*Okay, I admit to buying two more plants: Epimedium rubrum and a Baptisia ‘Purple Smoke.’ I’ll find a home for them somewhere.
[Update: I hit “Publish” too soon, because I meant to link to this comprehensive tomato-growing article from Fine Gardening magazine. Everyone growing tomatoes should bookmark this resource, with its easy-to-understand instructions for growing your best tomatoes ever, regardless of which variety you’re tempted by.]