~ VINE TOMATO SEED part 2: - LARGE FRUITED TYPES ~
These are our large-fruited vine Tomatoes. See the index on the left for other types.
We really like tomatoes - and grow loads of them every year - but only the very best make it into the catalogue!
For an explanation of the differences between bush & vine plant types, click here.
'Doctor Carolyn' GOOD FLAVOUR
This is a medium height vine with spherical, glowing round pink tomatoes about 2” in diameter.
The flavour is fantastic and this is a special strain we have reselected ourselves for bigger, fruit. Interestingly, several years after we chose this in our taste trials, we discovered that it was in fact bred from our other very good flavoured tomato, Galina.
We'll be perfectly honest - the yield of these is not quite as high as some other varieties, but the flavour when ripe is very good indeed. Lots of good feedback from people..
Order ToCa - 18 seed £
This variety is one that we would really recommend. An incredibly productive plum tomato, it makes loads of large orange-coloured fruit.
Unusual and tasty, this has been a favourite of ours for many years – ideal for both salads and cooking. It makes great ketchup and sauces, and is one of the highest yielding plum tomatoes we have grown.
We got crates and crates of fruit from just 12 plants this year. We also find it much less prone to blossom end rot than many plum varieties.
Orange tomato, Medium Vine.
Order ToOB - 22 seed £
Gigante Liscio (Maincrop Salad type)
This big round tomato from the 1920's comes from a cross of 'Ponderosa' & 'St Louis' in an effort to create the ultimate salad tomato.
Constantly popular, since then it has been continually reselected for good flavour, strong plants, and large red fruit.
Ben is rather fond of this one, as it is one of the better flavoured of the big-fruited tomatoes - it has a particularly good sweet-acid flavour.
Maincrop red tomato, Medium Vine.
Order ToGL - 25 seed £
Feo de Rio Gordo
This is a really massive tomato - we've included a picture of it next to a (rather large) mug here to try to give you an idea of the scale.
Kate came by a selection of interesting tomatoes from a small local seed company on a visit to Seville a few years back. This variety proved to be a real stand out both in terms of earliness (this year only the super-early bushes ripened earlier) and flavour. You can see in the photo that it also makes really quite a lot of fruits.
The name translates as 'ugly, from the wide river' - well they may not be the prettiest of tomatoes, but in this case looks definitely aren't everything!
Very, very large red tomato, recommended for a greenhouse or polytunnel.
Order ToFE - 18 seed £
Tall, vigorous plants start to fruit early, and it's a steady producer, cropping over a long period. Gives a heavy yield of huge, juicy, ribbed red fruit over a long season.
Brought to you from the gardeners of Florence in Italy, where they know a thing or two about tomatoes.
Fat, red & gently ribbed fruit, tall vine.
Order ToCF - 30 seed £
'Rose de Berne' Large Pink Salad Tomato
The tall vines make glowing-pink tomatoes. The fruit are quite large, but not quite as big as a beefsteak type.
It is a high yielding, juicy, and particularly tasty variety from the continent with very heavy trusses giving crops of several pounds per vine.
Order ToRB - 20 seed £
Ethel Watkins' Best
A new large early tomato that did very well in our 2012 trials. Good sized fruit, set very early.
The key thing about this is that the vines are not very tall - about 4ft - & it fruits really quite early, making generously-set trusses of large round red tomatoes (tennis-ball sized).
Variety first reccommended to us by tomato collector Bill Minkey - seed crop grown in Wales.
Order ToEW - 20 seed £
'Purple Ukraine' Tomato
It did really well in our trials, (despite endless grey weather!) , making tall plants that soon set trusses of really large, deep purple plum tomatoes the size and shape of a goose egg.
The tomatoes are both beautiful and delicious in salads, but they are also tasty cooked.
The foliage is very attractive too, with dark green leaves and an interesting 'feathery' appearance.
Purple, great for cooking & salads, extremely productive.
Order ToPU - 22 seed £
It is thought by many people to be one of the tastiest tomatoes ever. Don't be put off by the colour, it really is ripe when bright green, there's been 30 years of breeding to make it that way! And the flavour is fantastic.
Ben met Tom in Oxford in 2009 and they spent a happy couple of days discussing tomato varieties and potato breeding, so we're really pleased to offer Tom's tomato in the catalogue now.
Order ToGZ - 24 seed £
Red Zebra was discovered by Jeff Dawson in the late 1990’s, when he spotted just one different-type plant in his huge field of Green Zebra tomatoes.
Like all good farmers, he always tried out any unusual plants that chance brought his way, and this one was indeed a lucky find - it still had the great taste of the original, but with a beautiful red-gold colour. After a bit of selection to stabilise it, he first offered the new variety via a seedsavers network in 2003.
A great flavour as well as being very pretty.
Order ToRZ - 20 seed £
The tomatoes are quite large, and a very pretty orange-yellow colour. Kate's parents always grow lots of tomatoes outdoors in their garden (and get issued with our new varieties to try!), and they picked this one out as their definite favourite for taste.
A new tomato, with some blight-resistance, very good flavour, and a great colour.
Order ToSy - 18 seed £
Amish Paste (Giant Plum Tomato)
This variety comes originally from the Amish community. It is HUGE - one of the largest plum-type tomatoes we have ever seen.
As well as size and productivity, we are really impressed by its flavour - a new addition to our favourites.
The tall vines set pretty early in the season, and make nice red fruit about the size of an apple which weigh up to 1lb each. Not only was it one of the first to flower, but it just kept on making tomatoes for month after month.
The fruits are good. Very dense fleshed, with few seeds - but still a really good tart flavour, so ideal for cooking, ketchups and bottling. And they cook down to an incredibly rich and sweet sauce.
But our most amusing use is as our customary snack of fried tomato on toast - a single slice will do an entire piece of toast:
Large red plums, ideal for sauces , but actually, they're very nice fresh in salads and hamburgers too.
Order ToAP - 22 seed £
'Mucho Miel' (Giant Salad Type)
A old heirloom variety of tomato given to us by José Confitas, an old gardener in the village in Spain where we used to live. These tomatoes were grown by his family for 'years and years for ever' as he put it, and the name means 'lots of honey'.
The large red fruit are indeed sweet and juicy, and borne on tall vigorous vines. They taste great, grow just as well in Wales as they did in Spain, & are a perfect size for sandwiches and salads.
Order ToMM - 20 seed £
De Colgar (Storage Tomato)
A traditional class of tomato from Spain that is pretty much extinct now, these are nice round orange-pink tomatoes bred for winter storage.
They ripen a bit later than the others. The idea is that you pick them at the end of them summer and put them carefully aside in your cool larder (much as you would store apples); with a bit of care they keep until January! We have tried this several times and it really does work.
(Just as with apples, you need a slightly humid but well-ventilated store, with a steady temperature ideally about 8-10 C. But if you don't get it quite right they still store better than other tomatoes.)
They are very similar to the old french variety 'Jaune de Flamee'; we think that there probably were versions of this in every country so that there were tomatoes available for winter salads. But with the advent first of bottling, then freezing, and now supermarket-shipped tomatoes from Spain, these are all extinct.
Less juicy than normal tomatoes, with a thick skin, which is why they keep. Vine to 5 feet tall, best grown in a greenhouse or polytunnel.
Order ToDC - 20 seed £
'Reisetomate' Pocketbook Vine Tomato
This is a rather unusual tomato from central Europe that grows what can only be described as a cluster of cherry tomatoes all fused together.
They can be twisted off from the fruit bit by bit and eaten, or you can just use it to scare your children . . . . As well as looking very, very strange, they taste very nice, sweet and juicy with a thin skin.
Order ToRE - 20 seed £
~ HEIRLOOM BULGARIAN TOMATOES~
In 2007 Frederick Denny sent us a whole collection of tomatoes he had found in the small village he had moved to in Bulgaria. He had asked around for local varieties that people were saving at home,
The seeds arrived carefully wrapped in small sachets made from old newspaper and we grew them out in 2008 and 2009 as a preliminary trial. Since then we have produced some of the better ones for you to try at home and we offer these here.
At the moment we have two varieties available, if you like them do save your own seed as we're not sure when we'll be able to offer them again.
Frederick Denny sent us a whole set of heirloom Bulgarian tomatoes he had found - local varieties that people were saving at home.
'Ruby' was one of the jewels in that seed collection - early, productive, & with a good flavour.
The vines don't grow too tall for us (so good at the shorter edge of a greenhouse) but make a good crop of really nice rounded red tomatoes for a long season.
Beautiful red tomato from Bulgaria, very productive, tasty.
Order ToRU - 20 seed £
The picture was taken with our old camera and it hasn't really shown the colour correctly - the tomatoes are really noticeably pink.
Order ToLP - 18 seed £
Saving Tomato Seed:
Here you can seed the seed and juice squeezed into a jar & let ferment for 3 days (no more, no less!)
Good seeds sink and bad ones float.
(And, yes, it is supposed to be mouldy & smelly)
Water is added and poured off several times to clean them, the seed is rinsed in a sieve and put on a plate to dry.
Detailed seed-saving instructions are included with your seeds, so you can do this yourself.
And of course this is only possible because these are all real, non-hybrid varieties.