This must be the gardening equivalent of receiving a box of chocolates; an exciting tasting box of tomatoes courtesy of Burpee Europe, who've given me a sneak peek of their latest varieties, two of which have blight resistance in their breeding. All varieties are F1, which means fresh seed will be required each season.
From left to right we have:
- 'Nagina', a blight resistant medium plum tomato
- 'Honeycomb', an orange cherry tomato bred in Yorkshire
- 'Cocktail Crush', a blight resistant medium salad tomato
- 'Veranda Red', a dwarf tomato suitable for growing in small containers or hanging baskets
All varieties are suitable for growing outdoors here in the south-west, though northern based gardeners may fare better if they're grown in a greenhouse. I'm delighted to have the possibility of more blight resistant, outdoor varieties to try as I only have a sunny patio on which to grow my tomato fix - and we eat a lot of them!
Our absolute favourite was 'Honeycomb' - who doesn't like a sweet juicy tomato? This fitted the bill perfectly. We also liked 'Nagina', which is more suited to cooking, like most plum tomatoes are. The jury's still out with the other two, but from other tomato trials I've been to, the time of picking is one of the keys to taste, and I suspect the timing wasn't quite right for these. I had good and tasty results with blight resistant 'Crimson Crush' last year, so it would be good to see how 'Cocktail Crush' fares here.
If you fancy growing any of these, they will be available from the following suppliers:
- all four varieties from Pennard Plants
- three of them from Suttons (except 'Cocktail Crush')
- 'Honeycomb' and 'Cocktail Crush' from Moles Seeds Ltd
- 'Honeycomb' and 'Veranda Red' from Plants of Distinction
- 'Honeycomb' also available from Just Seeds, Nicky's Nursery, and Simpson's Seeds
- 'Cocktail Crush' also available from E.W. King
- 'Veranda Red' also available from Dobies and Waitrose
I'll also look out for another Burpee variety to try; 'Merrygold' which is similar to 'Honeycomb' with the addition of blight resistance. It's available from Mr Fothergills next year.
NB seeds aren't available from Burpee directly.
What about this year's tomatoes chez VP Gardens?
Andy's illness earlier this year meant I missed the window for starting my own tomatoes from seed and sourcing plants has been quite tricky under Lockdown.. Luckily one of my local nurseries had some 'Red Profusion' plants for sale in April, with home delivery too - result! Then my local garden centre reopened a couple of weeks ago and there I found the ever favourite 'Sungold', plus 'Yellow Pear' to try. Fingers crossed May's warm weather continues for the rest of the season, otherwise I may have blight misery to contend with later.
How are your tomatoes doing this year? Which varieties are you growing?