After an exciting Garden Writers of America conference, I’m back at the helm. Needless to say, there has been lots of picking and preserving after a week’s absence, and now the deadheading needs completing but I wanted to get this posted before my feeble brain forgets. This season, I planted two early varieties of tomatoes: “Polbig” and “Park’s Season Starter.” I’ve grown and loved “Park’s Whopper” for years and years, but I’d never noticed “Season Starter” before. So, I planted 6 plants of each.
Conditions were as identical as possible. Seeds were started in the same medium, place, temperature, date, etc. Transplanting was also identical, and the beds they went into on the same date in the potager are aligned, and contain the same soil. All were watered equally, etc. as well. Both sets of plants seem equally healthy and are similar in size, and both began blooming within two days of one another, although “Season Starter” bloomed first.
Despite the bloom time, the first “Polbigs” were picked on July 19 (l lb.) and an additional pound on July 23, two pounds on July 24, two pounds on July 25, 1 1/2 lb. on Aug. 2, which is the date I picked the first “Season Starter.” Finally we could conduct a taste comparison! As you can see, the tomatoes are relatively the same in size and color. D is the tomato lover in our family, so I called upon him to do the tasting. While he thought both were “fine” when pressed for details, he declared that the “Season Starter” had tougher skin and lacked the full flavor of “Polbig,” which was also slightly sweeter.
The clincher for me, however, is that at this point I’ve harvested 7.5 pounds of fruit from “Polbig” and only 1 pound from “Season Starter.” There are an additional 28 tomatoes on the “Polbig” plants, and 20 on the “Season Starter” to be harvested as they ripen. Next year, only the “Polbig” will have a place in my potager for early crop tomatoes. FYI, “Polbig” seeds came from Pinetree Seeds, and “Park’s Season Starter” were from “Seeds N Such.”
Ha, it sounds like “Season Starter” is a non-starter!
I would LOVE to attend a Garden Writers conference, even though I’m not one. Not a garden writer, per se, I mean.
I’m a big tomato fan. At this point, all of my are setting fruit and are green, even the cherry and pear varieties. Part due to late seed starting on my part, part due to very late May heavy snow, which delayed planting. Happy that you have tomatoes, and I appreciate your testing. It is amazing how different two supposedly similar varieties can be.
I’m not a big tomato fan, until they are cooked! However, my hubby is a fan so I try to have a constant supply throughout the season. Our season has been a little slow this year due to excess rain and cooler than normal temperatures, and I’m feeling there are a lot of blooms not being pollinated…lack of insects more than the weather, I think sadly…..
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I was thinking the same thing ‘ non-starter’ haha.
I was wondering though, are they non-GMO? And do you have a preference on non-GMO veggies or GMO veggies?
I am just having a few Gardener’s Delight and a Principe Borghese for my lunch as I read your post about tomatoes! I have never heard of, nor tried, Season Starter or Polbig tomatoes. I do grow several varieties of tomato, including Early Girl (vine), but the earliest are always the Gardener’s Delight, and the plum shaped Principe Borghese. My favourites are the Delights and also a prolific yellow cherry tomato called Galina. I try to grow only open pollinated varieties as I am interested in saving my own seed for the next season’s planting. However, I have noticed that certain characteristics seem to change as I plant second and third generation seed, despite reading somewhere that open pollinated tomato varieties (not GMO or hybrids) are supposed to stay true to type. I am not convinced, but am enjoying the bountiful results in any case. I do grow my tomatoes under cover, in poly-tunnel-type cold frames, to avoid the dreaded tomato blight that plagues tomato growers on the west coast. Good to read about your tomatoes as we head into the dog days of summer. Can’t believe how fast this season is passing by; such a busy time of year. I wonder how your berry crop was this year? Ours has been phenomenal. I remember hearing somewhere along the line that a heavy berry crop is an indicator of a long, cold winter to come. I hope this is not true! Best regards and continued happy harvesting! C.L.
We had horrible Late blight 4 years ago so we have only been able to grow late blight resistant varieties but next year I will be able to grow any variety 🙂
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