Back in early July I blogged a progress report on a set of recently released dwarf growing tomatoes from our breeding project. It was a somewhat mixed bag, but mostly positive, with a few varieties succumbing to disease prior to yielding tomatoes. My final 2017 report follows.
Sweet Scarlet Dwarf - As one of my favorite of our dwarf releases, it was especially sad for me to watch the plant become diseased fairly early on (I suspect tomato spotted wilt virus), leading to complete failure. I didn't harvest a single tomato.
Dwarf Orange Cream - Positioned adjacent to Sweet Scarlet Dwarf, Dwarf Orange Cream experienced a similar fate - early onset of disease, but one tomato away from complete failure. The color of the 4 ounce tomato harvested wasn't quite right, however - more of a pale yellow, not sufficiently pale orange, with the characteristic matte skin finish absent.
Sean's Yellow Dwarf - This bright yellow, 6-8 ounce oblate tomato did very well. It will never be my favorite flavored dwarf variety, but is very, very good, with a balanced, bright flavor that leans to the sweet side.
BrandyFred - I harvested a good number of medium sized to slightly larger oblate purple tomatoes with an excellent flavor, approaching (but not quite equaling) it's breeding father, Cherokee Purple, in intensity or complexity. I was really pleased with how it did.
Kangaroo Paw Red - Obtaining a red tomato from this variety has been a real challenge (the Kangaroo Paw series contain yellow, brown and green tomatoes in addition to red, and being the dominant color, this has been the most difficult to stabilize). I did get a good yield of medium to medium small red fruit with a nice balanced flavor.
Boronia - I was pleased with the yield of medium sized oblate purple fruit, but found the flavor to be a bit more mild than I prefer. In looking back over tasting notes, this is appropriate for Boronia, as it typically possesses a less intense flavor than other purple releases from our project such as Dwarf Wild Fred and Rosella Purple.
Coorong Pink - What a surprise! One of the highest yielding of all of this year's dwarfs, it was also the most unique, and clearly the result of an unexpected cross. The medium to medium large smooth nearly round tomatoes were colored red with jagged, speckly vertical gold areas and shoulders that hinted at anthocyanin coloring - truly odd. The flavor was excellent. This is clearly the starting point for a mini-project, and saved seed should provide quite an array of results when grown out. A friend who received another Coorong Pink seedling got the expected result - a medium to medium large, smooth, oblate pink with excellent flavor.
TastyWine - I was really pleased to find that TastyWine met my expectations, providing medium sized pink fruit whose flavor approached the father tomato in the cross, Brandywine. It yielded well, and is certainly a highly recommended member of our Dwarf family.
Barossa Fest - As expected, this heavy yielding dwarf provided small (a bit larger than golf balls) bright yellow round tomatoes with the excellent flavor that pretty much all of the Sneezy family offspring exhibit. It is a fine salad or grilling tomato, uses that take advantage of its size. They do tend to split when very ripe, so it is best to pick them at partial ripeness and let them finish indoors.
Dwarf Beauty King - What a wonderful tomato this is - the medium to medium large red tomatoes are covered with vertical golden stripes, and the tomatoes are simply delicious. I am so pleased - and relieved! - to have plenty of seed saved from exactly what our objectives are for this variety. The Beauty line is notorious for color-flipping, and it took a bit of work to get this desired color (apparently) stable.
Dwarf Firebird Sweet - This is clearly one of the misbehaving Beauty offspring; instead of a pink tomato with gold stripes, my result was a purple tomato with greenish stripes - still delicious, but not what was expected. A friend who received a plant from me did get the hoped for result and I have plenty of seeds saved from this excellently flavored variety.
Mallee Rose - Recovering from a slow start, I picked lots of tomatoes from Mallee Rose - the medium sized fruit had quite a bit of ribbing on the shoulders, and I found the flavor very good, yet not quite up to the quality of Coorong Pink (a sister tomato, from the same breeding line). For those who like sweet, mild tomatoes, this one will make you happy.
Willa's Cariboo Rose - A heavy yielder on a healthy plant, Willa provided medium sized pink fruit that were very good, yet not on the flavor level of TastyWine, another pink potato leaf dwarf. I would call it more of a sweet, mild tomato.
Dwarf Blazing Beauty - My luck with the Tipsy line just wasn't there this year - along with Sweet Scarlet Dwarf and Dwarf Orange Cream, Dwarf Blazing Beauty similarly became diseased early on and provided not a single tomato. As one of my favorite dwarfs, this was one of the rare sad stories of my 2017 garden.
Lucky Swirl - This provided another surprise for me. The relatively compact growing dwarf provided some whoppers, approaching one pound. Instead of yellow with red swirls, the fruit were pink - and the flavor stunning. Whether remaining instability or a cross, the saved seed is a starting point for the development of a superb, huge fruited pink dwarf.
Dwarf Caitydid - Paired with Dwarf Sweet Sue in one of the special Gardeners Supply planters, Dwarf Caitydid was one of the stars of my garden - immense yield, immense fruit of extraordinary beauty. The one pound average oblate tomatoes were bright yellow with a pink blush, and the flavor was excellent - not quite Lucky Cross level, but close.
Dwarf Sweet Sue - It's early demise due to tomato spotted wilt disease (no yield at all) allowed Dwarf Caitydid to thrive as it did, providing no competition for root area and nutrients. I was sad to get no tomatoes, as this is one of my very favorite dwarfs.
Dwarf Lemon Lime Heart - This isn't, and won't be, a release, as the "lime" coloring hasn't been consistent. It was one of the better performing dwarfs, providing lots of medium sized, heart shaped bright yellow tomatoes with an excellent flavor. It really should be grown side by side with our Dwarf Golden Heart release to compare, and determine if it is sufficiently distinct to continue to work with.
In summary, I was really pleased in general with the performance of these releases...I would be happy to have most of them growing my garden every year.