Ask a Question forum: Tomato taste

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nemasonskycom
Sep 27, 2017 12:46 PM CST
I have grown Tomatoe f1 Shirley successfully for there taste, but we find that do not keep for long when they are off the vine, can you please recommend a tomatoe that as a very good taste and will keep well,medium size
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Sep 27, 2017 1:09 PM CST
Unless you pick green or semi-green, tomatoes do not store long.
Now how long of storage are you speaking of.
I have found those with the most spicy, acidic, taste store longest .
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Sep 27, 2017 4:14 PM CST
That's the whole trade-off with tomatoes. The breeders bred commercial tomatoes so that they would travel and keep long enough to get to grocery stores, but in the process they lost a lot of the flavor aspect.

The ones that taste really good and have sugar and that lovely summer taste like many that are called "heirloom tomatoes" are not going to keep long. Leave them on the plant until you're ready to use them, to keep them at least a few days longer.

I paid for some newly developed seeds from the University of Florida's breeding program. They are working to develop new hybrids with disease resistance, longer keeping properties and also have that good taste we all crave. Here's the link to get a sample of some of their seeds. A donation of $10 gets you sample packets of two types of their new cultivars, and I got a third new hybrid too, not sure why, but I'm delighted. If you're anywhere in the Southern US or southern hemisphere, you can start them now and harvest tomatoes all winter/spring.
http://hos.ufl.edu/kleeweb/new...

Even if you don't want to donate and get some seeds, do read all the way through the article that explains what they are trying to do - put the good taste of heirloom varieties back into high-yielding, longer keeping hybrid tomatoes.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
[Last edited by dyzzypyxxy - Sep 27, 2017 4:23 PM (+)]
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Name: Jude
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Zone 6a)
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obliqua
Sep 27, 2017 5:59 PM CST
Here is some info on making your tomatoes taste better, from Mike McGrath, You Bet Your Garden website, A to Z Garden Answers.


Can Tasteless Tomatoes Be Made Tasty? by Mike McGrath

Q. Mike: I've been growing vegetables in raised beds for the past couple summers. This year our tomatoes don't have the great tangy "Jersey Tomato" flavor they've had in the past. Before I planted, I roto-tilled in some compost and used Osmocote fertilizer. Any idea why the flavor is different than in the past? Thanks.

---Bob in Newfield, New Jersey.
A. Tomato favor is largely dependent on variety; some varieties are bred to produce that great flavor you recall, while others sacrifice flavor for traits like disease resistance and early ripening. What varieties are you growing?

Oh, and two things in your email confuse me.

Why would you ever till a raised bed garden? Tilling causes nutrient loss and promotes weeds. We design raised beds so that we never step on the soil in the growing area and thus never have to till. (Fresh compost should always be added on top of the existing soil in a raised bed.) And
Why would you use that cheap chemical fertilizer? That alone will knock down some of the flavor....
Q. My wife is standing here laughing as I learn two important tomato growing lessons. I tilled because I thought mixing up the compost and top soil would make a better "blend"; and I used cheap chemical fertilizer because I hadn't yet read about the natural alternatives at your web site. And I'm afraid I don't know what varieties I'm growing. Some are supposed heirlooms from a big box store whose tags are long gone, and others were given to me by a friend. Thanks for any help and advice you can provide; I really enjoy your show!

---Bob in Newfield, New Jersey.
A. Hopefully, the varieties you're growing are capable of producing good flavor—which in tomatoes means the right combination of sugar, acid and the volatile aromatic oils that give the fruits their distinctive smell and taste. Next year, don't leave it to chance—plant for flavor! In a taste test conducted by ORGANIC GARDENING magazine back in '95, the legendary heirloom Brandywine got the highest score of any tomato tested. Other high-scoring varieties included Prudens Purple, Dinner Plate, Oxheart, German Johnson, Evergreen, Black Prince, Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple and Amish Paste.

But you're currently stuck with your unidentified orphans, so let's see if we can increase their flavor potential, no matter what they are. First, use no more chemical fertilizer—it increases the water content of the fruits and thins out their flavor. Remove any existing mulches and add an inch of the finest compost you can find; yard waste compost is ideal; well-aged mushroom soil would also be fine. Don't use 'bio-solids' or other euphuisms for sewage sludge--treated human waste from a water treatment plant.

And let's add some calcium; it enables tomatoes to develop the highest amounts of the volatile aromatic oils that give the fruits so much of their flavor. And it helps the plants better regulate their water uptake, which enhances flavor by limiting the amount of water inside each fruit. And it prevents problems like cracking and blossom end rot. Some nurseries and garden centers carry a premium bagged compost from Coast of Maine that's made with lobster and other shellfish waste; feeding or mulching your plants with such a compost would be a great way to add calcium and other important nutrients.

Typically I advise people to save up their eggshells over the winter so they can add a dozen crushed shells to the planting hole of each tomato to provide calcium at the beginning of the season, but it's obviously too late for that. It might even be a little late in the game to use one of the granulated natural plant foods designed for tomatoes; they all contain added calcium, but it takes a little while for granular fertilizers to have an effect. (But a natural granular plant food designed for tomatoes would be a great idea for NEXT season—or for people in climes where they're just getting ready to plant tomatoes now, like Southern Florida. Apply it to the surface of the soil about two weeks after you put your plants in the ground, and then cover it with soil or compost to activate the nutrients quickly.)

If you can't find a 'seafood compost', dissolve a dozen calcium carbonate tablets in a watering can and water your tomatoes with the calcium rich liquid. Repeat this nutritional watering in two or three weeks.

Make sure there's a good organic mulch on the surface of your beds to regulate the soil moisture—compost or shredded leaves are ideal; wood mulch is the worst. Whatever you use, don't make it any deeper than two inches.

When you water, water deeply for a few hours once or twice a week; and don't water if you've had a good soaking rain within the last five days.

And finally, time your harvesting for maximum flavor. Tomatoes should be picked when they're just fully ripe or very close to ripe. Do not let fully ripe tomatoes sit out in the sun; they can lose 30% of their flavor in a single day. When tomatoes come inside, store them out in the open at room temperature—not in direct sun or in the fridge; heat or cold can dissipate their flavor.

And pick those love apples first thing in the morning. Cool nights concentrate the sugars in all produce, and a tomato picked at 7 or 8 am will have more flavor potential than a tomato picked at 7 or 8 pm.

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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Sep 27, 2017 6:42 PM CST
I've grown a variety called "Red October" in the past that had acceptable flavor and did store quite well. http://www.burpee.com/vegetabl...
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Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Sep 27, 2017 10:17 PM CST
obliqua said:Here is some info on making your tomatoes taste better, from Mike McGrath, You Bet Your Garden website, A to Z Garden Answers.

Can Tasteless Tomatoes Be Made Tasty? by Mike McGrath


McGrath sometimes annoys me to no ends. I read his weekly column for simple things like timing of applying corn gluten meal, but sometimes he seems to spout nonsense like Jerry Baker.

For instance "Fresh compost should always be added on top of the existing soil in a raised bed".

No. Seeds don't grow well in fresh compost. It dries out to fast. And you want it in the root zone.

Which means some digging with a fork. And you do that in Winter when the worms are down deep.

He says plant new grass seed only in the Fall. And he says to only apply corn gluten meal every Fall for good long-term effect. You can't do both.

He says you can't plant grass seed in Spring because it won't survive Summer. I've planted Fescue in Spring and it does just fine. I can tell because it was on bare ground ripped up by some tree removers I patched after.

There was a reason McGrath was fired from Organic Gardening magazine years ago.

Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Sep 28, 2017 12:53 PM CST
Yardenman said:

McGrath sometimes annoys me to no ends. I read his weekly column for simple things like timing of applying corn gluten meal, but sometimes he seems to spout nonsense like Jerry Baker.

For instance "Fresh compost should always be added on top of the existing soil in a raised bed".
No. Seeds don't grow well in fresh compost. It dries out to fast. And you want it in the root zone.

Which means some digging with a fork. And you do that in Winter when the worms are down deep.

There was a reason McGrath was fired from Organic Gardening magazine years ago.

Well he also wondered why the person would want to use natural soil and not boughten. D'Oh! We all know the bagged stuff is so much better which is why farmers never use natural soil. Glare

His bs about calcium; did he ask the gent the natural content of the soil and water?
If I want calcium I can just turn on the sprinkling system or scrape it off of the coffee pot.

If he keeps adding soil, which will degrade, is he saying the degraded compost is worthless?
I bought some raised bed soil this year, Just Natural and EVERYTHING I used it with was horrible until months later when either rain washed what ever crap they put in it out, or the worms ate it and vomited what ever crap they put in it out else where in the garden.

Name: Jude
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Zone 6a)
Cat Lover Tomato Heads Plant and/or Seed Trader Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Bee Lover
Enjoys or suffers cold winters Winter Sowing Butterflies Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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obliqua
Sep 29, 2017 9:04 AM CST
I guess Mike McGrath is not a welcome source on this forum???

There are many ways of looking at creating a healthy garden and I listen to all sides and Mike makes more sense than many others, to me.

I would love to read/listen to your the sources .
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Sep 29, 2017 9:19 AM CST
Let's just say I wouldn't take everything McGrath writes as gospel. His view seems very narrow, and he doesn't allow for people gardening in other conditions than his own. I'm sure what he does works for him, wherever he is.

For example, it would be absolutely crazy for me to add any calcium to my soil here. It's high pH sand, and contains seashells, even miles from the beach. So before doing something like dosing with calcium, everyone should test their soil.

We all need to know our own gardens intimately, especially the pH of the soil and it's characteristics. Each is different and you really can't recommend extreme measures like what he says as general advice - they may be fine for him, where he is, but certainly not for everyone. In places with heavy clay soils, you absolutely do need to till compost into the clay or else it takes years to infiltrate and improve the soil's porosity.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
Image
Weedwhacker
Sep 29, 2017 2:36 PM CST
obliqua said:I guess Mike McGrath is not a welcome source on this forum???

There are many ways of looking at creating a healthy garden and I listen to all sides and Mike makes more sense than many others, to me.

I would love to read/listen to your the sources .


Jude, keep in mind that everything posted is the opinion of the individual member -- I had never even heard of Mike McGrath Shrug! .
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities[/I] / Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
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