Peaceful Valley 2014 Tomato Project
There are so many varieties of tomatoes to choose from, Peaceful Valley has over 40! But how does one decide?
Well there are many things to consider such as where you live. If you live in a region with very short growing periods, consider growing varieties with shorter days to maturity. The Siletz, Siberia or Stupice are varieties with shorter days to maturity–as short as 40 days.
If you have limited areas to grow your tomato plant or if you want one to put in a pot, a determinate variety is a tomato that you may want to select. Consider starting a Burbank or Siletz, both are determinate varieties, or the Tiny Tim, a dwarf cherry tomato.
But really, the big question is, how do they taste? So the Peaceful Valley Tomato Project was born last winter. The nursery staff took on the project - start from seed and grow to maturity, every Peaceful Valley variety of tomato available in 2014!
The project began back in the dreary and cold month of February by germinating the seeds in Quickroot placed in 6-packs. The seeds were warmed using a heat mat and tucked in with Agribon 50 to help retain the heat. After about one to two weeks the seeds began to germinate and grow. After the first set of true leaves were growing, the seedlings were watered once a week with a mixture of PVFS Liquid Fish and Maxicrop, a water-soluble dry kelp extract.
Once the seedlings had 3 to 4 sets of true leaves they were transplanted up into their own small pot using PVFS Potting Soil, making sure to soak the roots in a mixture of Maxicrop. The seedlings grew like crazy! I think the weekly feedings of fish/kelp mix really made the difference.
About 4 weeks later, the plants were moved up to one gallon pots using the same recipe as before, PVFS Potting Soil and weekly feedings with fish and kelp.
Finally, the last chance of frost had past, around mid-May here in Grass Valley, CA, and the tomatoes were ready to go outside. The Peaceful Valley Nursery was soon overflowing with tomato plants.
Some were planted directly into the ground around the nursery and some potted into 5-gallon pulp pots containing, once again, our wonderful PVFS Potting Soil.
Summer finally was in full swing and so were the tomato plants in our project. We gathered up the ripe tomatoes and all the willing and hungry employees for a taste testing. Most varieties were rated very high and here are some responses:
- Black Prince - "mellow flavor, low acid"
- Stupice - "good classic tomato flavor"
- Aunt Ruby German - "low acid and very sweet"
- Black Krim - "nice smokey flavor"
- Cherokee Purple - "one of my favorite tomatoes, nice flavor and firmness"
- Evergreen - "the color of the tomato is a negative but the flavor is GREAT!"
- Pink Brandywine - "so good I could eat it like an apple"
- White Cherry - "really sweet, tastes like candy"
And the Winner is?
Well there were no clear winners in the taste test. Every tomato variety has its own unique qualities and every taster a unique palate. My advise is to try planting different varieties every year to decide for yourself which tomato is the best for your needs. Do you want slicers, cherries, paste tomatoes or just a little of each?
Whatever variety of tomato you choose, start your seeds in February for a bountiful summer harvest!
Next growing/tasting project... Peppers!