Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The 2010 Tomato Report Card

 If you haven't picked out your tomato plants yet, here's a guide to what happened here in our tomato garden in Sacramento last year. But the 2010 tomato year may not be the best barometer for choosing your 2011 tomato plants.
 Was there a summer in 2010? You wouldn't think so, judging by the erratic to poor quality of the homegrown tomatoes last year here in many parts of  California's Central Valley. The 2009 Tomato Report Card hinted that "all bets were off" for 2010, due to the unseasonably cool weather through May (plus rain at the end of the month). And sure enough, it stayed abnormally cool through June and July. 

Average daily maximum high temperatures last spring and summer for Sacramento, compared to the historic average for those months (in parentheses):
April 2010: 66 (73)
May 2010: 75 (81)
June 2010: 87 (88)
July 2010: 91 (93)
August 2010: 92 (92)

Sept. 2010: 88 (88)

No wonder the tomatoes didn't go full-tilt boogie into production until August and September! So, keep in mind the wacky weather of 2010 as you peruse last year's Tomato Report Card here at the Farmer Fred Radio Ranch:

Lemon Boy A  Excellent. long production cycle, good flavor

Dr. Wyche

Dr. Wyche A  Best heirloom of 2010

First Prize B+ Good producer early on. Everything the Celebrity should have been.

Sweet Gold B+ - Dependable yellow cherry tomato 

Early Wonder B  Did better than Early Girl; larger, too.

Beefmaster B-  Erratic production but good size

Big Beef  B- Dependable slicer.

*Poti Cuote Bue-1  C+  produced early, nothing to write home about.
Cracking on Poti-2

*Pomodoro Canestrino  C+ Juicy but went bad quick

*Poti Cuote Bue-2 C  less productive than PCB-1. Subject to cracking.

Solar Yellowing on Viva Italia

Viva Italia C  Sunburn, solar yellowing, produced late.

Djena Lee’s Golden Girl  C  Disappointing, with little production.

Blossom End Rot

*Pomodoro Canestrino Red Pear ‘Claudia’ C-  Firmer, but gets blossom end rot easily. 

Bloody Butcher C-  Not as productive as 2009

Early Girl C- Didn't produce until August. Tiny.


Where's Marianna?
Marianna’s Peace D Little production but tasty. Went bad quick.

Celebrity F - I swear, it was NOT a Celebrity. Ping Pong Ball size. Gangly vine, little production. 2010 was the third year in a row of disappointment for this All America Winner. Before then, it was one of the best.

* Yes, these are weird names. My daughter vacationed in Italy in 2009, staying with a family in central Italy, who gave her these seeds, wrapped in aluminum foil. Their names were probably lost in the translation. This much I know: "pomodoro" means "tomato" in Italian. "Canestrino"is a plum variety of tomato. "Poti Cuote Bui" is probably Petit Coeur de Boeuf.

A link to previous years in our garden.


  1. Interesting I was actually going to go tomato shopping this weekend and had spotted the Poti Cuote Bue. I may have to look at a different variety.

  2. As Fred so rightfully pointed out at the top, our terrible weather didn't help matters much. I think it would have been a much different year, with different results, had the weather actually cooperated. But, congrats on the Dr. Wyche. I've grown it twice with minimal success. It will not be a part of our garden this year. Lemon Boy, however, is back in the 2011 garden plot after a knock-your-socks-off 2009 season.

  3. Good to know! Do you have a link to years past "report cards?"

  4. Becky, try this link:

  5. Celebrity has deteriorated. Various reports over the last 2 - 3 years of poor growth and production, and that's been my experience. Our main wholesale grower (Eisley) has replaced it with a Rutgers variety called Celebration.

  6. Wow. Celebrity used to be my old reliable before I started growing from seed.

    What do you think of Goldmans or Heinz in this area?

  7. I've never grown the Goldman. I grew the Heinz about 25 years ago. So-so flavor. Kristi, I like the way you think.

  8. I love Viva Italia because it does produce late. I don't like canning tomatoes in the hottest part of the summer!

  9. That's interesting becuase I grow tomatoes in raised beds and Celebrity did the best out of all my tomatoes last year. They weren't huge but were prolific, and were quite tasty.

  10. Does any one know where I can find Matt's wild cherry tomato?

  11. i tried ‘mortgage lifter’ heirloom tomatoes 2 years (2010,2011) in a row and not impressed at all... had maybe 2 tomatoes 2010; this yr. planted 4, nice plant but few blooms that are producing. cherry tomatoes last yr. did the best. the weird weather last yr. took a toll on mine... the zucchini ‘plants’ wouldn’t even grow... part of the problem tho was my soil was deficient... fortified it this yr. and the plants are huge w/a few zucchini that w/be ready for harvest today or tomorrow. however, some zucchinis are dying while still small. anyway, praying that it will continue to do well last 1/2 of july and thru sept/oct.