Fenton Friday: Tomato Trial Results
by Alexandra Marquez.
In late May, when I first started as an intern at Washington Gardener, I planted eight varieties of tomatoes that Kathy had been sent to trial in her community garden plot. It’s safe to say that in the last two months, I’ve eaten a lot of tomatoes.
The varieties we tested were ‘Sun Sugar’, ‘Sun Gold’, ‘White Tomato’, ‘Rutgers’, ‘Red Torch’, ‘White Currant’, ‘Firefly’, and ‘Celebrity’. We watered them regularly, if it didn’t rain enough that week. We also added Espoma Tomato Tone, an organic vegetable fertilizer, once every two weeks to help the tomatoes. In the same patch that the tomatoes were growing in, we also planted three marigold species, because marigolds and tomatoes are good companion plants.
The first variety to shoot up and start to flower were definitely the ‘Sun Sugar’ and ‘Sun Gold’ plants, and we enjoyed some baby tomatoes from them just a few weeks after planting. The ‘White Tomato’ and ‘Firefly’ sprouted fruit quickly, but they’ve taken a long time to grow and ripen, and we’re hoping to pick our first ‘Firefly’ this week. It’s hard to know when the ‘White Tomato’ fruits are ready, because as ripe fruits, they are a very similar color to their green unripened shade. Hopefully, we’ll be able to enjoy some of those soon.
The ‘Torch’ tomatoes are definitely my favorite of the ones we’re growing, because they’re not too big, but also not as small as the ‘Sun Sugar’ and ‘Sun Gold’ and they’re not too sweet, but also not too bitter. They’re a perfect plum tomato shape, though a bit smaller than traditional plum tomatoes. The flavor of these is also perfectly tomato-ey, and I really can’t think of another way to describe their flavor.
The ‘Sun Sugar’, ‘Sun Gold’, and ‘White Currant’ tomatoes are all cute, small, and easy to pop in your mouth straight off the vine, but they are a bit too sweet for my liking.
Overall, I had a really fun time working with and growing these tomatoes this summer. It was incredibly rewarding to water, fertilize, and weed a plot that then yielded these delicious tomatoes that I enjoyed every week.
About the Author:
Alexandra Marquez is a rising junior journalism and anthropology major at the University of Maryland. She is an editorial intern at Washington Gardener this summer.
About Fenton Friday: Every Friday during the growing season, I’ll be giving you an update on my community garden plot at the Fenton Street Community Garden just across the street from my house in zone 7 Mid-Atlantic MD/DC border. I’m plot #16. It is a 10 ft x 20 ft space and this is our 8th year in the garden. (It opened in May 2011.) See past posts about our edible garden by putting “Fenton” into the Search box above.