Tomato trial update #2...

14 December, 2012

Way back in September I decided to pit 16 varieties of tomato against each other in the Great Tomato Trial 2012/13.

Back in October the strongest seedlings of those that germinated were chosen for the trial (two of each variety) and in late October these were planted out just before the traditional tomato planting (in Melbourne and surrounds) of Melbourne Cup weekend.

And there they stayed until today (yay for ADOs).

Now I don't harden my tomato plants off; instead I use horticultural fleece (wrapped around the plants in a kind of mini-teepee with the bottom weighed down with rocks) to shelter them for a week or so until they can handle the real world. Then I push down the fleece but leave it there just in case a cold spell comes.

It didn't.

So there it has stayed, and the tomatoes have grown, and I've done nothing. So today's job was to tidy up the tomato beds, plant out the basil which I always co-plant with tomatoes, and lay down some mulch.

Tomato bed 1 - before

Tomato bed 2 - before

Now to take a closer look (working from worst to best; I do like to end on a high note).

As you can see the fleece didn't protect some seedlings from animals that like to get in and dig up my seedlings. Both the Beams Yellow Pears and one Earl of Edgecombe were taken, but I do have replacement plants so all is not lost (yet). The Black Krims are looking a bit sad, likewise the Big White Pink Stripes. They are just holding in there, but not growing much.

Beams Yellow Pear
Earl of Edgecombe
Black Krim
Big White Pink Stripe

Moving up to the plants that are growing well, but no flowers as yet.

Gardeners Delight
Mortgage Lifter
Principe Borghese
Green Zebra
Black Cherry
Ned Kelly
Lemon Drop

 And joy of joys, some are flowering. Lets see which one fruits first.

Rouge De Marmande - plus shadow of me taking the photo
Isis Candy
Garden Peach
Tommy Toe

So now to tidy up. I removed the fleeze, some to be saved and reused, but some falling apart just got tossed. I then planted out the replacements as required, topped up the beds with compost and planted out my basil seedlings which have been living on my kitchen windowsill for way too long.

Tomato bed 1 - nice and neat
Tomato bed 2 - also nice and neat

Then I added sugar cane mulch to help reduce water loss and that inconsistancy of water which apparently causes end rot on tomatoes. I don't know if its true or not, but I want to avoid it if I can.

Tomato bed 1 - finished

Tomato bed 2 - finished



  1. I thought blossom end rot was due to calcium deficiency but then again I'm probably wrong...once again I've planted my tomatoes way too close and I currently have a tomato forrest. Funnily enough my most vigorous plant is Black Krim, strange.

    1. You're probably right. The water thing was something I read somewhere and probably has no truth whatsoever. I was tying up my rampant gift tomatoes this morning which were getting way too messy! I just love the idea of a tomato forest though. Strange that BK works so well for you; I have a friend who's neighbour gives him the excess tomotoes he grows which grow great for the neighbour but never grow well for my friend. Different soils I guess...

    2. I read the other day (which of course is too too late) that if you plant your tomato onto of crushed egg shells the calcium helps the tomatoes

    3. What a good idea! I'll have to do that next year!

  2. Wow, such a wonderful variety of tomato plants. Looking very good. Cant wait to see picks of the tomatoes that result, I bet its a nice mix of sizes and colours.At present I have three types in only - Broad Yellow Ripple Currant - a little yellow one, Brown Berry - looks very much like the Black Cherry that Liz and you grow, and a zebra mix (green, orange and black). The Broad Yellow Ripple Currants have started to ripen up already and I have already eaten the odd one, the zebras a looking nice and stripy but still green and I have a lovely first truss of brown berries starting to change colour. I am hoping that there are no fruit fly here... hoping, hoping, hoping!

    1. I can't wait either. I was checking them out this morning and the Siberian tomatoes have baby fruits so I think they will be first. I love the names of your tomatoes. I hope you are fruit fly free; I don't know what I'd do if we suffered here (but who knows with global warming etc..)