A Garden Blog by Kevin Milaeger

 
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Kevin 2015 

The Tomato Polls are Closed, the Winner is...

September 22, 2016     
(See below for archives)

Tomatomania 2016 is now past us, and it was great success. It’s pretty much a party atmosphere. With an abundant supply of tomatoes, and perfect weather that day, it was hard not to enjoy yourself. The main goal of Tomatomania is to have our guests taste as many tomato varieties as possible, and vote on their favorites. We have them grouped by class---cherry, paste, novelty, and so on---so if you were only interested in one or two classes, you could do that. We always hope for a lot of people voting, since we use the results to determine what we will grow in future years. But we’ll take what we get.

‘Tomatoberry’ was this year’s surprise winner. We’ve been offering it for about five years, but until now it has not performed well in the taste test. It is a sweet cherry tomato that is crack resistant, but its most interesting feature is a tapered tip, rather like a strawberry. Cherry and grape tomatoes, with their high sugar content, are always top vote-getters in this competition. Other tiny tomatoes way up on this year’s results are ‘Rapunzel,’ a prolific red cherry, ‘Sun Sugar,’ an orangey cherry---always popular, ‘Nova,’ an orangey-yellow grape tomato, and the perennial favorite, ‘Husky Cherry Red.’

Traditional, mid-late season, large tomatoes are the largest category of tomato plants we sell, but most of them fall behind the miniatures in the annual taste test, probably because they are lower in sugar. In the large fruited category, the top vote getters were ‘Ferris Wheel,’ and ‘Rose Red,’ two pink varieties that ended up in a tie. This year, eight out of the top ten in this category were pink, rather than red. Pink tomatoes tend to be a little sweeter; less tangy than the red or scarlet varieties. I’ve never confirmed it, but my hunch is that the pink varieties have a higher sugar content than the red ones, and sweetness always wins in a taste contest. Also near the top is ‘Brandy Boy,’ one of my favorites. ‘Chef’s Choice Pink’ is a newcomer that also did well. We have this one in our trial garden and it produced numerous large fruit with fantastic flavor. You’ll find plants on our lot next spring.

Since many gardeners grow their tomatoes in containers, we decided to put “container friendly” types in their own category a few years ago. These are shorter growing varieties, so they are easier to manage. It’s no surprise that ‘Husky Cherry Red’ was in first place, as it has been for many years. This is not a true cherry, more like a golf ball in size. In second place was ‘Celebrity,’ which is a big seller for us in spring. It’s a reliable performer, with good disease resistance, and prolific, too. Also noteworthy in this category is ‘Big League,’ a new, disease resistant hybrid that scored well.

Once avid tomato growers have planted their favorites, they often start looking for something “a little different,” always searching for something interesting. We offer many kinds that we classify as “novelty” varieties, that are sure to pique your interest. We divided them into three groups: “black, purple, and green,” “orange and yellow,” and the beautiful “bicolors.” In the first category, 'Green Zebra' was number one. It is a fairly small tomato, about 2-2.5” wide. Its color is apple green, streaked with yellow when ripe. It has a pleasant, tangy flavor. ‘Paul Robeson,’ a so-called “black” variety, came in second. We’ve grown it for at least five years, but this is probably the highest it has scored at our event. There were five other black varieties at the tasting, and I think they are all good. Compared to regular red tomatoes, they have a more mellow character. In the novelty bicolors, a new one led the way----‘Beauty King.’ It is a large tomato, yellow with red streaks. Being mostly yellow, its flavor is fairly mild, yet more distinctive than most yellow tomatoes. It’s also prolific.

We enjoy analyzing the Tomatomania taste test results (by category, or overall), but we know they are less than 100% accurate. For example, while we try to have plenty of every variety available on the day of the event, we always run out of some types, skewing the polling data. Also, with the thousands of tomatoes consumed at the event, there are always some that might be a little under ripe, or over ripe, also skewing the results. It’s mainly about fun anyway---and I know everyone had a great time.

Please email me (kevin@milaegers.com) if you have any questions or comments.

 

 

 Archives  (Click on the green text for links)

 

September 2016 - The Tomato Polls are Closed, the Winner is... 
September 2016 - Pity the Hornworm? Maybe not.
August 2016 - It's true!---Sometimes tomato beauty is only skin deep!
July 2016 - Summer Heat Means Fast Ripening
July 2016 - July Tomato Update---a few concerns
June 2016 - The Great Bell Pepper Challenge!
June 2016 - Super Start for 2016 Vegetables!
May 2016 - Tomato Planting Date Inches Closer!
May 2016 - Vintage Veggies Now & Disease Resistant Tomatoes!
April 2016 - A Few New Plants & Garden Updates!
April 2016 - Go Outside---It's Time for Planting!
March 2016 - Yep! ----It's Time to Plant Greens!
March 2016 - The Quest for the Perfect Tomato
March 2016 - Think Green! It's almost time to plant
February 2016 - Pepper Pointers: it's all about patience
February 2016 - I See Greens on the Horizon
January 2016 - Tomato Disease --- What can you do?
January 2016 - Tomatoes on my Mind!
 

November 2015 - My Late Harvest (The tomato picking continues...No Kidding!)

October 2015 - Its Mid-October---the End is Near!

September 2015 - 2015---Not the Year of the Pepper!

September 2015 - Top Varieties at Tomatomania 2015!

September 2015 - Get the most from September tomatoes!

August 2015 - Tomatomania 2015---Coming Soon!

August 2015 - Oh No!!!......Freaky Tomatoes

July 2015 - A Marvelous Community Garden

July 2015 - Finally----the first ripe tomato

July 2015 - Is it Possible to overdose on peas?

July 2015 - The Garden in July --- I'm still planting!

June 2015 - And Just When Things Were Looking So Good...

June 2015 - Tomatoes, Cukes, and a Whimsical Onion

June 2015 - Trials and Tribulations in the Veggie Garden!

May 2015 - Trouble in Tomatoland!

May 2015 - Tomatoes are Claustrophobic

May 2015 - A Little Chilly, but it's Rhubarb Time!

May 2015 - Joan's Rhubarb Torte Recipe

April 2015 - "Ketchup and Fries" plant video

April 2015 - Early May in the Vegetable Garden

April 2015 - What Vegetables Can I Plant Now?

April 2015 - Making Salad Interesting

March 2015 - Ready... set... GROW!

March 2015 - Unusual Potatoes --- Not Just for Tots Anymore!

February 2015 - Next Month is Spring!

February 2015 - Greens to Grow 2015

 

September 2014 - Tomatomania Review 2014!

September 2014 - Tomatomania Results by Category or Cummulative

August 2014 - Kale! Kale! The Greens are Here! Click here for Recipe

August 2014 - The August Harvest Begins

July 2014 - Greens to Grow for Fall!!!  Click here for Spreadsheet

July 2014 - My Tomatoes are Blushing

June 2014 - Some Tomato Concerns

May 2014 - Garden Update --- the Cold Weather Experiment

May 2014 - Is it Time to Plant Tomatoes?

May 2014 - Vintage Veggies #4 and Vintage Veggies List 2014

April 2014 - A Chilly Spring... What Can I Plant Now?

March 2014 - Start Growing Your Own Food Right Now

February 2014 - Greens to Grow   Click here for Spreadsheet

 

October 2013 - Keep Calm and Garden On!

October 2013 - Autumn Vegetables

September 2013 - Tomato Popularity Poll Results Blog

September 2013 - Tomatomania Category and Cumulative Results

September 2013 - Tomatomania 2013 Blog, Video and T-Shirt

August 2013 - Greens to Grow and Spreadsheet

July 2013 - Spaghetti Squash

July 2013 - New Tomato and Zucchini Recipe Blog
July 2013 - Tomato and Zucchini Recipe

June 2013 - Cold Spring - What it Means for Vegetables
May 2013 - Tomatoes in Containers
May 2013 - Vintage Veggies 2013
April 2013 - My Tomato Garden Preview 2013
April 2013 - Don't Forget Rosemary!
April 2013 - It's Planting Time
March 2013 - Onions
March 2013 - Vintage Veggies
March 2013 - Greens to Grow Update
February 2013 - Hot Peppers
February 2013 - Grafted Tomatoes
February 2013 - Greens to Grow


September 2012 - Tomatomania Results
July 2012 - Compass Plant
July 2012 -July 2012 - Heat Wave
June 2012 - Okra
June 2012 - Potato Onion
May 2012 - Gas Plant

May 2012 - My Tomato Garden
May 2012 -
Vintage Veggie Fest
March 2012 - Growing Raspberries in SE Wisconsin
March 2012 - Winter Tomato Project
February 2012 - Success with Sweet Peppers
February 2012 - Vegetable Cukes Miniature
January 2012 - Tomatoes New Varieties

September 2011 -Tomatomania Review 
August 2011 - Tomatomania Preview
August 2011 - Racine Vegetable Garden Tour
Summer 2011 - Vegetables in my Garden
July 2011 - Vegetables - Squash and Tomatoes
June 2011 - Vegetables - Diseases made Simple
June 2011 - Vegetables - Container Growing
May 2011 - Vegetables - Squash and Tomatoes
April 2011 - Vintage Veggie Fest Event Preview
March 2011 - Vintage Veggie Fest Announcement

September 2010 - Tomatomania Review 
August 2010 - Flowers Late Summer Color
July 2010 Vegetables Cukes and Tomatoes
June 2010 Tomatoes New Varieties


September 2009 - Tomatoes End of Season Review 
September 2009 - Tomatomania Review
July 2009 - Tomatoes General and Fruit Set Problems
June 2009  - Tomatoes Fertilization
June 2009  - Tomatoes Personal Experience
May 2009 - Tomatoes General
May 2009 - Tomatoes Diseases
May 2009 - Tomatoes Selecting and Growing
April 2009 - Tomatoes General


Any questions or comments, please contact us at: gardenquestions@milaegers.com