Welcome to my second mid-summer detailed driveway garden update. Turning to the many dwarf tomato plants being grown this summer, this blog focuses on those that our project released to this or that seed company....with a few exceptions at the end (why they are there will be clear).
All of the plants below are in 5 gallon grow bags, with two plants to a stabilizing center pot for the anchoring stakes (unless otherwise noted)
Sweet Scarlet Dwarf - This is one of my favorites among all of our nearly 70 released varieties. However, like all of the potato leaf members of the Tipsy family, the plant is so, so dense - the word I thought of is "tight" when looking at them. It is hard to see what is going on inside the plant - where the blossoms or fruit are, where disease is taking hold. The plant is 3 feet tall, healthy (though the large, crinkled potato shaped leaves become more easily affected with early blight on the back-side, interior and lower portion of the plant, and so requires regular attention. There are a few open blossoms, so if I can keep it healthy, the fruit will be late in coming - at this point, it is an A- in assessment.
Dwarf Orange Cream - same tight plant habit as it's relative, Sweet Scarlet Dwarf - I can't even find a flower bud yet. There is some browning at leaf edges high up the plant which is concerning. Still, things largely look good - it is just going to be late (perhaps I will thin some of the dense inner foliage) - A-
Sean's Yellow Dwarf - did valiant battle with lower foliage disease early on but now in pretty good shape, with ample fruit set. Interesting observation is that the immature fruit don't have dark green shoulders. Tomatoes currently are at about half mature size. A-
BrandyFred - This will be my first time growing it since the release; last year it died prior to fruiting. The plant is healthy, with good fruit set and high hopes. A-
Kangaroo Paw Red - another trooper that lost lots of its lower leaves to disease, but although not a stunning specimen, there is plenty of fruit set. Shape varies from round to slightly oblate, and looks like it is larger than I expected. We've had issues with color stability (dominant traits - such as red fruit - take the longest to stabilize). Will it be red? We shall soon see. B
Boronia - This variety tends to get a different sort of foliage disease in my garden, with brown/blackening of lower leaves that differs from early blight or septoria. It is fighting foliage disease pretty well and there is decent fruit set, but also a bit of blossom end rot. A-
Coorong Pink....and here we have a developing mystery. The plant looks wonderful - on the tall side for a dwarf, typical of the Plentiful family, with loads of fruit set and good health. However - the fruit is striped! I suspect a cross, but let's see what we get. No matter, there will be plenty of tomatoes - hope they taste good! A
TastyWine - Certainly off to a better start than last year's failure, the plant has good fruit set with variable shape (round to oblate), with decent health - only a bit of lower foliage disease. A-
Barossa Fest - I look forward to trying this selection made by Patrina. The potato leaf plant looks great and is loading up with round tomatoes, soon to ripen. A-
Dwarf Beauty King - Another disappointing failure last year, things are looking much better this year. The Beauty family releases are always on the tall and somewhat late side, but striped oblate fruit are setting and sizing up nicely (one exposed fruit will have a touch of sunscald). The dense plant is reasonably healthy but needs careful watching for lower foliage issues. A-
Dwarf Firebird Sweet - See Dwarf Beauty King - the main difference is that the set fruit are smaller, so this will be later. I can't wait to finally get another look and taste of this variety. A-
Mallee Rose - Another really tough little plant, this one was touch and go for much of the spring, having survived a severe aphid infection that stunted it a bit. Another I've yet to try, as it is a Patrina selection, fruit set and health is good. A-
Willa's Cariboo Rose - Yet another I've yet to try, but things look promising - excellent plant health and fruit set. A-
Dwarf Blazing Beauty - I really love this variety; it is showing the same tight, sense growth that its Tipsy sisters described above show. Disease has been a bit more of an issue, so I've got my eye on it closely; no apparent fruit set yet. B+
Lucky Swirl - The plant looks quite good and fruit set is pretty ample, with the oblate tomatoes sizing up well. I look forward to comparing this to Dwarf Caitydid. A-
Dwarf Caitydid - I have this in a special planter that I am evaluating for Gardener Supply. It was sharing space with Dwarf Sweet Sue, but is now flying solo. Sweet Sue was impacted by Tomato Spotted Wilt quite early on and was removed. Dwarf Caitydid is more than taking up for it, and the performance of the single plant is showing the potential of these dwarf varieties if given lots of room. Wow - the 4 foot tall plant is also 3 feet wide and just loading up with tomatoes, and of fine health. Really impressive - A
Dwarf Lemon Lime Heart - This is not a release, but the lead sent in some work by my California dwarf project volunteer Linda Black. A selection in the Nosey family, she found that it no longer exhibited the unique yellow/green marbling that led to the selection and name. The plant is among the healthiest and most vigorous, with great fruit set. The tomatoes are blunt heart shaped, medium sized, and a medium, bright yellow inside and out. The flavor is excellent, and we rated it a solid 8 out of 10. My feeling is that it is essentially Dwarf Golden Heart, but with perhaps some subtle differences - the flavor, in particular, seems superior. A
Couer de Boui - This indeterminate heirloom was given as a seedling by a garden friend Larry. I've grown this type before; the lanky, spindly vines are battling various issues (Fusarium, early blight) - but somehow one stem hangs on, with open flowers. B-
San Marzano Redorta - Another indeterminate heirloom from Larry, this was the most early blight and/or septoria impacted variety early on, so underwent significant foliage removal. It is now growing well; the tomatoes, though, look round, not elongated. as pictures indicate it should be...it may be from crossed seed - we shall see. There will be plenty to see. A-
As fruit ripen on the above, watch for more reports - pictures, tasting impressions in particular.