It’s time for the potager’s early tomato comparison featuring this year’s competitors: last year’s winning “Polbig” and this year’s challenger, “Siletz.” Both were seeded and handled identically, and planted out the same dates, same number of plants (8), etc. “Polbig” is a hybrid determinate from Pinetree Seeds, who said it “sets fruit in cool weather, tastes good with excellent dark red color inside and out, between 3 1/2 and 6 oz per fruit. 56 days.” I would add that it has good disease resistance and a very meaty interior with fewer seeds than many varieties. Even my mother, a faithful “Rutgers” fan for 70 years asked for some “Polbig” plants again this year, after having them the past two. The total season production weight comparison is Polbig 33.75 pounds; Siletz, 18 pounds, but it was the quality of the fruit that made “Polbig” the big winner for the third year in a row. It’s the one on the right, obviously bigger.
“Siletz” is from Seeds N Such, who writes “the best combination of extreme earliness and big, slicer-type fruits. Mature in only 52 days with big, deep red 8-10 oz fruits that are tasty and nearly seedless. Determinate.” “Siletz” did produce the first full-size (that is, not cherry-size) ripe tomato on July 9, while the first “Polbig” wasn’t ripe until July 15. Overall “Siletz” fruit was slightly smaller in size, but many of them had cracks and splits around the tops and didn’t make it to the kitchen. None of mine were in the 8-10 oz range, but they did have good flavor. However, they were done producing on August 13 so the vines were pulled. “Polbig” continued to produce nice-sized ripe fruit for another week, with several less than ripe and green tomatoes going into chutney. The space was needed for late cabbages!
So, obviously “Polbig” will be planted next year, along with another contender. If you want to suggest a candidate, please comment!