Monday, January 26, 2009

Growing the best tasting tomato ever

We are attempting to grow Heirloom Brandywine tomatoes because the little packet of seeds said "The best tasting tomato ever!" How could one leave the packet on the shelf after reading that claim? Then it has a quote of it's own from an unknown source that describes the flavour as "very rich, loud and distinctively spicy". Wow all in a tomato! We bought the packet. We also bought some wee tomato plants that said they had good flavour and grew well - for comparison purposes.
We are only a few rungs up the gardener hierarchy and our fingers are only tinged with the faintest of emerald and it is not going well for the Brandywines. I think we talked up our anticipation of their taste too much. They were looking fine when we left on holiday. They had germinated and were growing beautifully - they even had some flowers. While we were away, the other tomatoes took their revenge and fell all over them with their green fruit. The normal tomatoes broke off (no doubt to their delight) the only Brandywine branch with flowers on it.
We stepped into the fray and reorganised the garden; tying up the normal tomatoes so there was no way they could squash the Brandywines and put in a bigger stake for the Brandywines so they could grow straight and true without fear. Things were going well until I noticed that the stem on the best plant was partly broken and while the tops are still green and growing well - how long will the nutrients get through? I think this partial break was a last ditch effort by the normal tomatoes as we were separating them from on top of the Brandywines.
The normal tomatoes have produced their first ripe tomato. The flavour was fabulous; not too sweet, almost peppery. A fine tomato that we just ate straight off the plant not even waiting for a meal time. I thought this might put the normal tomatoes at ease - less worried about the Brandywines, who still don't have any wee tomatoes at all.
But it appears the normal tomatoes want complete victory and they have been collaborating with the tomatillos. I was excited a few days ago to see some lovely, yellow flowers on the Brandywine tomato plants. Hooray finally we may get to taste the best tomato ever. But on closer inspection they were tomatillo flowers and the tomatillos are now trying to grow over the Brandywine tomatoes.
So while I hope that we may yet get some flowers and a chance to taste the best tomato ever, it is not looking good. Brandywine heirloom tomatoes maybe the best tasting tomato ever but they are bit crap at standing up for themselves against more garden variety relatives and one of its leaves is going yellow too.


LeatherneckJoe said...

Don’t be too hard on your Brandywine. Heirloom tomatoes are much tastier; however they do take longer to start producing fruit. The yellow leaves may be from not getting enough sunlight?

Another wonderful heirloom tomato is Caspian Pink, it actually out sells Brandywine and is considered by many to be the best tasting tomato.

Here is a link,

Fiona S said...

ooh That sounds like a tomato worth trying too. Ok will keep hoping the brandywines come good. Hmm perhaps the sunlight is an issue - the garden is not in an optimum position but was the area we had available.

PA said...

Hi... any tips on growing the Brandywines? They always seem to split open on me when they reach a certain size...

Also, what do you use to stake your tomato plants? Ive tried everything (metal cages, bamboo sticks, etc) and thoroughly displeased.
I found a new product recently that looks so simple it must be perfect.
Just ordered 3 and cant wait for the ground to thaw so I can get digging!

5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.