Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Plant Some Heirloom Tomatoes this Spring March 1, 2010

With Spring just around the corner, and tomato planting season coming up in the next few weeks, I decided to revisit my blog posts from last Spring to refresh my recollection about which tomatoes I had the most success with and which I enjoyed eating the most, for planning purposes.  (I was surprised to discover that I’ve been blogging since December 2008.  Time flies!)

I started many of these varieties from seed, which I don’t have time for this year, so I’ll on the lookout for transplants.  Last Spring, I had great success with Costoluto Genovese heirloom variety, which is one of the ridged tomatoes.  They were prolific producers, and matured well, but I didn’t like the flavor at all.   They also were the most susceptible to blossom end rot.

I had good success with the Japanese Black Trifele Heirloom variety, and loved the flavor.  These were really slow to mature, but were worth it.

I had a little success in the Spring with Purple Cherokee, Black Cherokee, and Chocolate Cherokee.  These did better in the fall, but I loved the flavor of these the most.

I did also plant some hybrid tomato plants, the most prolific of which were the Celebrity tomatoes and these tasted great too.  The squirrels are also fond of these and took most of the low hanging ones.  For Cherry Tomatoes, the Large Red Cherry variety (also a hybrid, I believe) did best in Spring.  The heirloom Chocolate Cherry and Black Cherry were great for Fall.

I also planted some tomatoes in the Spring that failed to produce, Anna Russians, Arkansas Travelers, and Mr. Stripey.

The heirlooms on my list this Spring so far are: (This will change as I see what is available.)

Japanese Black Trifele

Cherokee Chocolate (want to try again)

Black Cherokee (want to try again)

Chocolate Cherry

Jaunne Flamme

Something new (to be determined)

I will also plant hybrid Celebrity Tomatoes and Large Red Cherry tomatoes, because I’m sure to have a bounty of these and I like the flavor.

Before you shop for tomato transplants, I suggest you do a little research.  There is a lot of information out there, regarding determinate (bear all their crop at once) vs. indeterminate (bear all season long) tomatoes, paste tomatoes vs. slicers.  There are literally hundreds if not thousands of varieties of tomatoes,  some meant more for sauces than eating alone, and all with varying acid content.  I like the flavor of the less acidic tomatoes, which is why I lean toward the blacks, purples and browns.

Here is my favorite source for information regarding the different tomato varieties.

If you have had great success with a particular variety, I’d love to hear about it.

Good sources for heirlooms transplants are:

Sunshine Community Garden Spring Plant Sale – March 6, 2010 (get there early, there will be a line to get in)

The Natural Gardener,

The Great Outdoors Nursery,


6 Responses to “Plant Some Heirloom Tomatoes this Spring”

  1. Caroline Says:

    I’m trying Cherokee Purple for the first time — will plant 1/2 packet this spring and attempt the other 1/2 packet in the fall. Last year was my first tomato attempt with non-heirloom/hybrid Celebrity (OK) and Juliet (fabulous) in 15 gallon container. This year, tomatoes will go in the ground.

  2. I am not much of a gardener but recently started a group food blog for one of my classes at UT and am considering starting a small garden to generate posts and get some delicious, fresh vegetables out of it. This is a great idea for a blog and I will definitely reference this post when considering what tomatoes to plant. Please check out my blog too at

    • Hey Amber, thanks for the comment! I’ll check out your blog and link to it if I can ever figure out the blogroll function. Please let me know if I can help you with gardening in any way. I’ve made enough mistakes to gain a little knowledge and also to know that nature and luck have a heavy hand in gardening.

  3. minervino Says:

    I have planted many tomato in my garden!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s