Analyzing our 2022 garden: tomatoes

Okay, it’s that time! I’ll be working on a serious of posts, going over how our 2022 garden went, what worked, what didn’t, and what didn’t even happen at all. This is help give us an idea of what we want to do in the future, what we don’t want to do in the future, and what changes need to be made.

Okay, let’s start with something that actually produce quite a bit!

For 2022, we grew four types of tomatoes. In the main garden area, we grew Cup of Moldova paste tomatoes, and Sophie’s Choice; both rare varieties we got from Heritage Harvest Seeds.

We ended up with mostly Cup of Moldova tomatoes. In fact, a couple of them had to be transplanted in another bed, because we ran out of space. There were just a few Sophie’s Choice in comparison.

I’ll have to talk about our issues with starting seeds indoors in a separate post, but suffice to say, we managed to keep enough seedlings alive to have a decent number to transplant. Thankfully, these went into a low raised bed in the main garden area, which means they also escaped harm from spring flooding.

The Sophie’s Choice was more of a bush type tomato and didn’t need a lot of support, while the Cup of Moldova could have used a bit more support.

Both varieties took a long time before they matured. Being determinate varieties, I was counting on them to mature all at once, but that didn’t really seem to happen.

The Results:

While these were grown more for cooking and preserving, they were also used for fresh eating. Both were described as being very mild in flavour.

For preserving, most of the Cup of Moldova went to making tomato paste; we got a dozen tiny jars out of it, and have quite enjoyed having those available. We also dehydrated some, using our oven, which worked out rather well. I rather like having dehydrated tomatoes available to cook with, too. We also used some to make a tomato sauce that was quite enjoyable.

Along with the ripe tomatoes we had for preserving, there were quite a few green tomatoes that we harvested to ripen slowly indoors, which extended their use for quite some time.

Conclusions:

We saved seeds from these, because we want to help preserve the varieties. However, their flavour was nothing special, so we will be trying other varieties. Once we’ve found varieties of paste tomato we’re happy with, I want to grow a lot more for making tomato paste, dehydrating and for making tomato powder.

We also had some Chocolate Cherry tomatoes, which we planted in the south yard, along the chain link fence. Though this went into a low raised bed, there was so much flooding in the area on the spring, it was still affected. Of what we planted in that bed, however, the tomatoes seemed to be the least affected, though they did not grow as well as last year’s tomatoes did, in the same location. It was handing having them where they were, though, as we could use the chain link fence to support them as they grew.

The Results:

These were not as prolific as I was expecting them to be. What I’m not sure of is whether it was because it was such a poor growing year, or if that was just the variety. We tried drying some, and at the end of the season, we picked them green and let them finish ripening indoors, giving my husband and daughter (the only to members of the household that enjoy fresh tomatoes), something to snack on for quite some time!

Conclusions:

They were the most flavourful of the varieties we grew this year. While we will be trying other indeterminate varieties for fresh eating, the Chocolate Cherry was good enough that we’d be happy to grow them again. We did save seeds from them, too.

The Yellow Pear tomatoes were the most successful of all the tomatoes we grew this year. The plants themselves got huge; they needed a lot more support than we were able to give them! They were also incredibly prolific. Not only did we have plenty to pick for fresh eating, there were LOTS of green ones to pick at the end of the season, to ripen indoors.

The Results:

In the above photo with all our green tomatoes, the Chocolate Cherry is in the foreground. The rest of the tiny tomatoes are Yellow Pear. The round ones in the middle screen are Sophie’s Choice, while in the back corner, we have the Cup of Moldova. We dehydrated some of the yellow pear tomatoes, and made a yellow tomato sauce as well. Amazingly productive plants! As the green tomatoes slowly ripened, they were quite enjoyed simply as fresh snacks.

Conclusion:

These were very mild in flavour and, while my family liked having fresh tomatoes to snack on, we will probably not grow these again. We did save seen and will have that option if we want, but only if for some reason, we don’t have other choices. We will be trying other varieties of cherry or grape tomatoes for fresh eating, instead. They were fun to grow, but the flavour just isn’t there.

Still, as far as things went in 2022, tomatoes – all the varieties – were among the most successful things we grew.

Planning Ahead:

We have different varieties planned for our 2023 garden but, if we have the space for it, I’d still like to grew at least a couple of plants each of the Sophie’s Choice and Cup of Moldova, just because they are rare varieties. I want to keep them going and collect fresh seeds again. However, the only variety we grew in 2022 that stood out for flavour was the Chocolate Cherry, but the plants were not as vigorous, nor as productive, as I would have liked.

So we will continue to experiment, and continue to have both determinate and indeterminate varieties, choosing some specifically for fresh eating and others specifically for preserving.

The Re-Farmer

3 thoughts on “Analyzing our 2022 garden: tomatoes

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