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Tomatoes and tomatillos 2019

Tomato Rugby Pink Plum Medium by Pennard Plants, sown March 2 in a trial for Dalefoot Composts' new tomato compost
Tomato Rugby Pink Plum Medium by Pennard Plants, sown March 2 in a trial for Dalefoot Composts' new tomato compost

What I’ve chosen to grow this season

I’d drawn the line at three varieties this year, two beefsteaks (requested by my other half) and a ‘cherry’ – Orange Queen, Black Crimea and Yellow Pear Shaped, all sown at the beginning of February.

They have been potted on into my go-to first containers – rice and yoghurt pots and are in cooler conditions.

However, it wouldn’t be the Garden Press Event without new seeds upsetting my carefully planned apple cart!

Another two varieties are on trial and were sown on Saturday, March 2 – they’ll catch up to the others, which had the extra benefit of a grow light.

New trial varieties

They are Ruby Falls, from the Rob Smith Range at Dobies and Rugby Pink Plum Medium from Pennard Plants, part of a trial of Dalefoot Composts’ new Tomato Compost.

Another colourful bunch and of various shapes and sizes this year, which will all be grown under glass. If you’d like to know what I’ve grown in previous years and my end-of-season reports on them, just type tomato in the search bar.

Below, seed suppliers are listed at the end plus whether they are being trialled or not.

For more information on growing tomatoes, visit my in-depth page here.

Seeds for growing under glass
Seeds for growing under glass

Yellow Pear Shaped

A popular yellow heirloom cordon variety from the 1800s, its name says it all!

It produces lots of small (20g), yellow pear-shaped tomatoes that are sweet, but mild in flavour, Casa Cesar Santos.

Rugby Pink Plum Medium

A cordon variety with 175g smooth-skinned plum-type fruits with a nipple end in pale pink.

Flavour is a balance of slightly sweet, slightly acid taste. Suitable for greenhouse/polytunnel production or outdoor planting.

Disease resistant to Fusarium, Verticillium, Nematodes and TMV, TRIAL, www.pennardplants.com.

Orange Queen

A heritage beefsteak with high yields of bright orange, slightly flattened, uniform fruit, 120-180g. The tomatoes are juicy with very few seeds, a low level of acidity and are perfect for slicing.

A good choice for growing in shorter-season, cooler regions. Needs to be staked well, Les Doigts Verts.

Black Crimea

Also known as Black Krim and Noiree de Crimee, it is one of the most popular heirloom black varieties, found in 1990 in Krim (Crimea).

Tomatoes, chillies, aubergines, peppers, tomatillos potted on

It yields large 8 to 10cm slightly irregular, flattened beefsteak tomatoes with an unusual purple to black skin with green shoulders and reddish-black flesh.

Black Crimea has a rich, earthy true tomato flavour, excellent for slicing, salads, and sandwiches, Les Doigts Verts.

Ruby Falls

Found by Rob Smith at a specialist tomato breeder last year, with dense columns of crinkled and curled leaves which are slimmer and than regular tomato plants, perfect for a smaller greenhouse.

The plants produce large, cherry-sized deep red fruit, with green striping which fades as the fruit ripens.

Each truss is held away from the plants and it makes picking easy. The fruit has a sweet, rich flavour, TRIAL, Rob Smith Range at Dobies.


Tomatillo Large Purple/Green was an impulse buy which I haven’t grown before. Similar to tomatoes but with a papery husk, they can be stored in them for a couple of months.

Germinated quickly but also went leggy with heat normally OK for tomatoes – here’s how I fixed them. Available from The Real Seed Catalogue.

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