I love tomatoes, but not because I like to eat them. No … I just like to grow them. I love the smell of the leaves, and the size of the plant you get from such a tiny seed, and the history behind each heirloom variety. Tomatoes can be round or banana-shaped, the size of a baseball or the size of a currant, and in colors ranging from red, orange, yellow, pink, green and purple. There are literally hundreds of varieties, so there is always something new to try. Who could resist a plant named Halfmoon China? or Cherokee Chocolate? Clint Eastwood’s Rowdy Red? Black Prince? Mortgage Lifter? Amish Gold? Banana Legs? The number of choices is staggering.
What I have growing this year:
Polish Linguisa – this is a sausage-shaped tomato that dates back to the 1800s. They are meaty and good for making paste and sauce.
Red Currant – A South American species, it is nearly 9′ tall here and covered with hundreds of 3/8″ tomatoes that resemble currants.
World’s Miracle – An heirloom Russian variety, this is a favorite. This one is rare – I got the seed in an internet trade.
Subarctic Plenty – This is a cold climate tomato and one of the earliest. It was allegedly developed in the 1940s by the US military to provide fresh tomatoes to their troops in Greenland.
Oregon Spring – This early tomato was developed at Oregon State University. It was meant for cooler growing areas (this means you, Washington State).
The French Tomato – When Judy and I were in southwest France last year we went to a village market and picked up a few huge, gorgeous, fantastically voluptuous tomatoes. I saved seeds and brought them home. I made up the very original name.
Thai Pink Egg – A prolific tomato often classified as a grape tomato, but with beautiful pink fruits somewhat smaller than a chicken egg. Another favorite.
So …. next year, when you’re planning your garden, find a tomato with a funny name you like and plant your own tomato love.