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New Tomato Choices for the 2014 Veggie Gardener

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Many gardeners have a list of vegetable garden staples without which the garden would simply not look or feel right. But many also pour over the seed catalogs and web sites looking for “something new”, a veggie with the potential to become a garden staple in its own right.

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Tomatoes are one of the most popular of home garden vegetables. Are there new varieties for 2014? You bet there are.

Let’s start with Burpee Seeds, a popular source for the home gardener since 1876. This venerable company has several completely new tomato offerings. One is the beautiful but absolutely absurd “Steakhouse Hybrid” tomato. Why absurd? Because this giant is supposed to approach and even surpass 3 pounds in weight. That is one huge tomato!

The plant should be started indoors prior to transplant. The plant is indeterminate, and requires 80 days to maturity. A packet of 25 seeds is a pricey $6.95 but the harvest potential is enormous. However, even if successful remember, this is a hybrid, saving the seeds is not especially advisable.

I’m also not certain how one keeps these plants from breaking under their own weight.

Parks is another venerable company, founded in 1868. A new offering for 2014 is the Supremo hybrid plum or Roma style tomato. It is touted as extremely disease resistant, large, prolific and tasty. It is also advertised as tolerant of a wide range of temperatures.

It is a determinate variety rated at 70 days to maturity. Packets of seeds are a modest $2.95, $2.25 per packet if three are purchased. It is not obvious how many seeds are in each packet.

Back to Burpee for a large, pudgy looking cherry tomato going by the name of “Baby Boomer” hybrid, early at 50 to 55 days. Only 25 inches high the plants are alleged to produce 300 fruits per plants, right up to the first frost date.

Seeds are priced at $ 6.95 per 25.

Gurney Seeds has been supplying home and commercial gardens sing 1866. This year they are touting a brand new main crop tomato, the Easy Slice. This 70 day semi-determinate plant produces six ounce fruits with almost no pulp.

The tomato is supposed to hold its shape and flavor and slice perfectly, hence the name.

A packet of 15 seeds is $9.99.

Johnny’s Seeds is a relative newcomer to the profession, being around since 1973. Their tomato offering is a line of 7 unique and new cultivars from the people at Artisan Seeds, a company which specializes in developing new varieties of vegetables.

Offerings include intriguing sounding types like “Blush”, “Pink Bumblebee”, Purple Bumblebee, “Lucky Tiger”, “Sunrise Bumblebee”, “Green Tiger”, “Pink Tiger” and a variety pack of all types.

Packets are $3.95 each, except for the variety pack which is $14.95. Amount of seed per packet is not known.

This is why it is so much fun to scrutinize all of the major suppliers, to find out what mysterious new offerings they have which might transform your veggie garden in 2014. You just don’t know what you might discover until you try a few of them out.

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