Dwarfs & Ruffles, Oh My! New Tomato Varieties

Basket o’ Tomatoes. See also the best little pruner/deadheader, by Fiskars, at left.

Thanks to a fun plant swap hosted by our local Toronto garden genius, Gayla Trail of You Grow Girl, I’ve come away with a lovely pile of new tomatoes to try this year. All are new to me, and I’ll update later with news of how they grew.
Note on plant types: Indeterminate tomatoes grow long vines, and keep growing and producing all season. They need to be staked. Determinate tomatoes have a set growth height, usually shorter than the indeterminate, and the tomatoes ripen at once.

Tomatoes that can be Container Grown

I was thrilled to get one of these cherry type tomatoes, as I’d heard Gayla and Margaret Roach talk about them enthusiastically on Gayla’s new podcast, ‘What’cha Growin’?”. It’s a small, determinate tomato that’s fine to grow in pots (or even a hanging planter) and Gayla says it’s usually her first to ripen. Whippersnapper fruit is apparently pinkish red and plant is described as “prolific and compact”.

Lime Green Salad
A dwarf, determinate variety. Golf-ball sized green tomatoes, said to be very tasty. Fruit turns amber the more it ripens, and stays green inside. Also known as ‘Green Elf’.  Gayla Trail has it on her Tomatoes Worth Growing  list.
This tomato is a member of the ‘Green-when-ripe’ bunch. They stay green. So how can you tell when to eat green tomatoes?

How to tell if a green tomato is ripe and not just an unripe fruit? Close your eyes and feel it; if it’s soft, it’s ripe.

I’m guessing the closed eyes are an important part of the test, so don’t forget! I’m hoping it’s not as hard to tell as a ripe pomegranate.

Gayla’s picture of Goldilox
Dwarf, with yellow fruit. Not too much information anywhere online about this interestingly-spelled tomato. Tomato namings, like all plant names, are a fun source of entertainment in itself. This one is from the Fairy Tale. There’s another called ‘Blondkopfchen’ which translates from the German to ‘Little blond girl’ or ‘Goldilocks’. ‘Blondkopfchen’ is a cherry tomato, but Gayla’s, with the “x” spelling is a larger one. Apparently growers are developing a whole line of Dwarf tomatoes named after the famous Seven.

Tomatoes for Planting in Ground:

My black ruff is at the cleaners.

Tim’s Black Ruffles
Of course I love the name. I’m reading a book on Queen Elizabeth I right now, and ruffles are swimming all ’round my brain. Tomatofest has info on Tim’s Black Ruffles:

(Tim) who has a degree in botany and ecology, and worked under the tutelage of famous gardener, writer and foodways scholar, William Woys Weaver, experimented for years with this fantastic tomato cross of Black Krim and Zapotec Pink Pleated.

This is a rippled edge variety. Info from Amishland seeds says

They are the deepest shiny-garnet purple and very “ruffled” or “pleated” as its called in tomato nomenclature.

Looks like the breeder, Tim, has his own seed company, Happy Cat Farm and a blog. I love his seed package design.

Peking Panda
Compared to yellow pear, with small yellow pear-shaped tomatoes (quel surprise!) which are early, tasty. Karyn at Terra Edibles says Peking Panda is even more prolific than yellow pear, which is saying something.

Silver Fir
Also listed as ‘Silvery Fir Tree’. Remarkable, lacy greyish-green foliage, which you might not recognize as a tomato plant at all. The seedling foliage looks a little like a tomato plant that went on a dangerous crash diet. But I think when it fills out it displays as a worthy ornamental, that some grow in garden with perennials. Some say container grown is fine. 58 days.

Sicillia Rosso Tasetta
Robust looking plant. Not too much info online. There seem to be a lot of red wines with this name.

Apricot Tomato
Indeterminate. 75 days. Said to be similar to, and possibly better than, Sun Gold, which I know wins many taste tests. Not sure if this is Amy’s Apricot as the tag is a bit hard to read.

Pink Ping Pong
Indeterminate, 75 days. The size of—you guessed it—a ping pong ball. I wonder what the difference is between a ping pong ball and a golf ball? Maybe it’s all to do with the beholder. Said to have “big tomato flavour”. And it’s pink. And it’s fun to say. Which is always a plus in a tomato.



  1. Must have been dimple-fear and definitely pinkpingpong is a fun name. Wonder if Apricot will be a little less split prone than Sun Gold?

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