This year I was sent seeds from the All-American Selections to grow in our garden. At All-American Selections the seeds are grown out and judged by judges from all over the country. They want to make sure whatever they are sending to the local garden centres is something that the consumer will love. As most of you know I have a love for heirloom tomatoes so it was a big step to grow a few hybrids. That meant I couldn’t save seed from the tomato plants I grew as they wouldn’t come true from seed. Don’t get me wrong, you can still save the seed and you will get a tomato next year. It just may not have all the traits of the tomato you grew this year. Let’s take a look at a few plants that did well this season.
Tomato Chef”s Choice Black produced a large amount of fruit this season with each tomato weighing in around 1.5 pounds. I have grown lots of beefsteak tomatoes before but because our growing season isn’t that long I am often disappointed in the harvest. Chef”s Choice is ready in 75 days so its growing season is much shorter than other beefsteaks. Now if you want to grow this tomato, be sure to have supports in place. This is one huge plant and will easily grow to five feet. An ordinary tomato cage will not work, you will need to use wooden or rebar stakes to hold the heavy branches. I knew this one would be a vigorous plant when the stem grew to almost an inch think. Of course when you think about it, the stems have to carry the weight of its large fruit. This tomato is delicious fresh but I love it roasted. If you are looking for that ‘one slice fills a sandwich’ tomato look no further. I look forward to growing Chef”s Choice Black again next year.
The other tomato I grew is Red Torch. Above is a bowl of this tomato in various stages of ripeness as I harvested some early to ripen inside. Red Torch is plum shaped and has striping on the skin. Fruits are about two inches in length and tasty. I use this one fresh in salads. Like Chef”s Choice Black, it’s an indeterminate tomato which means the plant continues to grow and produce fruit all season long. This is a hybrid tomato and about 60-70 days to harvest from transplanting. At this point it’s been producing bowls of tomatoes every couple of days. There are times when the kitchen counter is covered in tomatoes. Neither of these tomatoes are suitable for containers. I think due to their size it’s best to grow them in the ground or raised beds. Mine were grown in raised beds and they did extremely well. So far fingers crossed there have been no signs of late blight. I expect I will get about two more weeks of tomatoes from the plant. If it cools down below 10C I will bring in all the tomatoes that are showing a colour change and ripen them on the kitchen counter.
The other new plant that I grew this year was Potato Clancy. Now you are probably thinking, it’s a potato, how hard is that? Instead of growing these potatoes from seed potatoes I grew them from actual seeds. I started the seeds inside the greenhouse in 4″ pots in April and moved them to the garden in May. This time I planted them in containers to see how they would do. They quickly grew like most potato plants and I hilled them with soil as they grew. Once the foliage died back I had the grandkids come by to harvest. It’s like digging for gold when you are a child. This is what we harvested together, beautiful red potatoes. So why grow from seed? I wondered the same thing. Seed is clean unlike potato tubers which can harbour disease. Its also easier to store seeds. Often stored potatoes start to sprout in the garage before its time to plant or are thrown out because they have gone soft. Next season I will try planting seeds directly in the garden to see how well these potatoes grow.
Interested in learning about All-American Selections? Check out their seed selection here at All-American Selections.