I sowed tomato seed today, lots of it. Because my parents have gone all grey nomad and headed north for what remains of the winter I am sowing seed for them as well. As a result I’ve sown quite a few different varieties. Their climate is a fair bit cooler than mine so the varieties that do best there aren’t always the same ones that do well for me. Having said that there are some like Black Cherry & Rouge de Marmande that do well for both of us.
I am experimenting a bit this year with sowing timings. I sowed some Tiny Tim seed during the 2nd week of May and they have grown slowly but steadily since. Here they are on my daughters window sill.
I originally had eight seedlings but 4 died after being potted up. This very rarely happens to me so it was a bit of a surprise. I will be interested to see when these first fruit. I will move then outside in a few weeks into a cold frame and hopefully they will enjoy having a bit more light.
I also sowed seed on the 30th June of both Rouge de Marmande and Black Krim, as an experiment as much as anything else. Both have germinated but the seedlings are really, really leggy. I’ve moved them to my daughters window sill which has a lot more light than the laundry where I kept them prior. Hopefully they will now fill out a bit before I have to move them in to the cold frame outside.
Today I sowed a much larger range of varieties. The kids helped so the process was quite messy.
I sowed my tomatoes in the middle of July last year and it worked well so that is what I’m doing again this year. The varieties I sowed today are:
- Tommy Toe – small tomato, somewhere between an apricot and a cherry in size.
- Yellow Boy – Yellow Roma shaped tomato
- Burnley Bounty – Medium sized round slicing tomato
- Broad Ripple Currant – Yellow currant sized tomato
- KY1 – Short plants ideal for pot growing – producing medium sized slicing tomatoes
- College Challenge – Largish slicing tomatoes
- Black Cherry – As the name suggests
- Yugoslav – Big pinky red tomatoes – great for sauce
- Rouge de Marmande – Medium to large slicing tomatoes
- Black Krim – Medium to large slicing tomatoes
Of these pretty much all are tall indeterminate varieties with the exception of the KY1 and the Tiny Tim I mentioned earlier, both of which are destined for pots. The KY1s are for my fathers greenhouse (although I’ll probably keep one), the Tiny Tims are for me.
Rouge de Marmande conveniently doesn’t grow quite as tall as the other varieties but still needs a lot of staking.
My dad will sow some more varieties when he returns in mid August but my planting stock will probably come from these although I might wait to choose the best looking plants before I decide exactly which ones. I also plan to sow another punnet each of Black Krim & Rouge de Marmande in a fortnight to see how much difference sowing timings make.
So which varieties are you growing this year?
I had been thinking about doing the same thing, but thought I might leave it a week or two longer…
Becasue fruit fly is such a problem here in Sydney I am going to continue growing the smaller varieties which are less badly affected. I still have viable seeds from last year so will raise them again I think. They were excellent last year, all of them. I too like Broad ripple yellow currant, I have a Brown Berry (really nice) and a squat shaped small tomato that is very red called Sugar Lump. Then I still have quite a bit of seed of a larger zebra mix (black, green and red). I might see how I go with these.
More importantly I am contemplating padron….
And when do you raise your soy beans? Do you seed raise or put them straight in the ground? I have had a hell of a time getting them up in the past. Would welcome your advice.
I haven’t tried soy beans yet, although I plan to this year. The general consensus is Melbourne’s climate doesn’t suit them, but as usual I will ignore the general consensus…. L at 500m2 grew them successfully last year so she would definitely be the girl to ask.
Will be planting tomato seeds over the next few days – the following varieties:
The following five I grew this year sucessfully:
Rouge De Marmande – medium to large slicing
Amish Paste – meaty fruit, oblong fruit, great for cooking/sauce
Beams Yellow Pear – small yellow pear shaped
Red Fig – small red pear shaped
Grosse Lisse – medium to large slicing
These new ones trying for the first time:
Siberian (heard about this from many people, apparently fruit ripens early) – egg sized and shape, good all round
Azoychka (another Russian heirloom, large yellow meaty fruit) – large fruit
Also going to plant capsicum, chilli and eggplant seeds in coming week.
I sowed chilli, capsicum & eggplants too. Those new varieties of tomato sound interesting, I’m not familiar with Beams Yellow Pear or Red Fig either….so many varieties, so little space…
Ours tomatoes have flowers but still no sugn of any fruit yet. I don’t think the low light levels are helping.
Flowers is a start I guess….. They do definitely seem to appreciate a decent amount of light don’t they?
I am quite indifferent to the type of tomatoes I grow… reason is, I like all types… I must say that I am impressed with the large variety you grow…
Great attitude. My challenge is to find the ones that grow best here as much as trying to get the best flavoured although that is a bit of a goal as well.
Yay! For planting tomatoes. It’s a wonderful way to look for spring. And always so hopeful and so much fun.
Ah so true….only about 6 weeks to go…..
Not tomato planting season here… it’s actually the start of our tomato harvest season. Last winter, I started all the varieties growing right now in the garden – including Stupice; Cherokee Purple; Defiant; Legend; Silvery Fir Tree; Window Box; and Heinz 2653.
Your young starts look good!
I’ve been looking jealously at your harvests. At least its got me motivated to sow seeds… Stupice is often grown as a winter tomato in the warmer parts of Australia, and I’m thinking of trying it myself next winter (and then hope we have a very mild one).
Hi Liz. I was just yesterday remembering and re-visiting your post a bit back about getting started with tomatoes and eggplants and such in winter. I’ve been leaving everything too late in the past. But I don’t really have a good spot to start indoors. Do you think I could put mine in the mini greenhouse now or should I wait a bit? Also, do you plant your tomatoes Cup weekend or earlier?
I tend to plant mine out earlier than Cup Day – in early October usually. The main issue with sowing seeds is making sure they are warm enough to germinate. I think you’d definitely struggle to get eggplants to germinate yet – mine haven’t germinated and they’re indoors. Tomatoes you might be OK with as long as you keep the greenhouse as warm as possible – lots of sun and protection from the cold at night (ie up against the house or similar). Having said that it is generally easier to maintain a warmer environment inside – anywhere (if all you’re doing is getting them to germinate the amount of light doesn’t matter too much), and then moving them outside as soon as you notice them appearing above the soil. If you really can’t sow them indoors then you may need to wait until August when it should be a little warmer, having said that perhaps try a few tomato seeds and see what happens.
I was wondering the same thing, I might need to create some indoor space. Love the variety of things you have got growing
I always grow several different varieties too. This is especially important when weather conditions are unpredictable. My two favourites are “Ferline” (large, red, very blight-resistant) and “Maskotka” (cherry, red, HUGE amount of fruits). This year I am trying a few plum tomato types for making sauce: Roma, San Marzano, Incas.
I’ll be interested in how you go with the plum varieties – mum & dad have never had success with Roma – its too cold there for it to mature early enough. They have success with San Marzano some years so that seems more hopeful. I’m not familiar with Incas.
This is on my to do list at the moment too. I’m going to start with tomatoes, eggplants and capsicums. Now I just have to clean up the laundry so I have room for them inside for a while. My daughter’s room would be perfect as would one windowsill in the lounge room, if I could only keep little fingers away from them.
Mine are on the windowsill in my kids room too – So far, so good but I suspect its only a matter of time, before they hit the floor and we all end up in tears…
Totally behind the 8 ball with tomatoes this season. I haven’t even ordered the seed yet!
This coming summer I plan to experiment with some new paste varieties for canning whole. I’m thinking Speckled Roman and Amish Paste at this stage – San Marzano was a spectacular failure for me last year. In addition to these I’m thinking Grosse Lisse, Brandywine and a couple of cherry types.
Do you have any suggestions for paste type tomatoes in Sydney’s climate?
Have you tried Roma? I know my father tried it and it was hopeless for him but his climate is much colder than Sydney’s and it must grow well somewhere…in retrospect that was a fairly pointless suggestion wasn’t it? Here try something that failed for us…In short not sure what would grow well but I reckon Amish Paste is probably worth a try, I’ve had pretty good reports about it on the whole.
That’s funny 🙂
That is really one of the main reasons that I started my blog – I couldn’t find locally-relevant information on good varieties etc online, so I figured that if I put the information out there, then at least other people could benefit. Hopefully someone has.
Thanks for the wealth of information that I’ve gained from yours.
Pleasure and ditto. I suspect I may be undone by trying too many of the things I’ve learnt on your blog here in Melbourne but still its always fun to try – especially if the result might be winter tomatoes or indeed edamame…
We grow college Challenger every year and the plant very prolific. They do well without any pampering.
Funnily enough i looked at the seeds today and they are the first to germinate.
I’m in Sydney and still have cherry tomatoes fruiting prolifically from seeds sown last August plus a bonus plant I started from a cutting in January
Is that strange?
I better start ordering my seeds though might have enough leftover from last year
Or just take a cutting from last years plants still growing
Depends on the variety. I know a few people who grow winter tomatoes in Sydney. I am attempting them in Melbourne this year but I am not confident of much success. With Sydney’s mild winters I think winter tomatoes are a great idea. I like the idea of cuttings, provided the plant is healthy, because then you know its a pretty hardy plant.