Gardening · Growing Vegetables · Seeds Selling Companies

How to Choose the Best Tomato Plants For Your Garden – Part 3. Tomatos I Have Tried Growing and the Reviews of Two Companies I Have Purchased My Seeds From.

Still too Many Choices, How to Choose the Right Seeds Selling Company and Which Plants to Grow.

Jere Gettle, the founder of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds with his family.
Jere Gettle, the founder of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, with his family. Photo courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

It took me a while to find companies offering such seeds in Canada, since most of the companies I have found were located in the USA and some would not ship to Canada. After looking at many websites, magazines and printed catalogues I was able to get my hands on, I have decided to purchase my tomatos seeds from two companies – one USA based and the second one from Canada. Both of them specialize in heirloom seed.  They are Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds from USA, which a great website at: www.rareseeds.com and The Cottage Gardener from Ontario, Canada, which a website at: www.cottagegardener.com

About Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds company is in business since 1998 and offers almost 2,000 varieties of seeds including vegetables, flowers and herbs, and has the biggest selection of heirloom seeds varieties is the USA, including the largest number of diverse seeds from the 19th century.

If you live in the USA, you can order from Baker Creek  their very beautifully produced, big full colour catalogue for free (I see they are already out of print for this year, but you can now sign up to receive the catalogue for next year).  If you are in Canada, you can order catalogue when available, but it is not free and the better option is probably just to buy it in some of the Canadian bookstores when available (I have seen it at Indigo last year). It is also possible to just download its PDF version.

Personally I like browsing their printed catalogues, as well a on their website since besides beautiful photographs and great descriptions of each plant they sell, they also have ratings and comments by people who have already purchased their seeds and tried to grow the plants. I find it very helpful to read about other people’s experience with the seeds I am considering buying. By reading such reviews, sometimes I find that the plants I wanted to try are not suitable for my region. At other times it helps me to decide to buy the seeds if I see many people who grow these plants in similar conditions have a great success with them and like them.

I love the fact that I can even save there my wish list, and once I have created my account there, Baker Creek keeps the information of my previous orders, so it is easy for me to see which plants I have ordered from them in the past. I was very happy with most of the seeds and plants I have ordered from them and when in rare cases the plants where not exactly what I have envisioned or not growing too well in my garden, they have refunded me money without any problem. I wish more seeds selling companies would have such great website and customer service. Please see the next section of this article to find out what kind of tomato plants I have ordered from them.

Chadwick Cherry Tomatos. Photo courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
Chadwick Cherry Tomatos. Photo courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

About The Cottage Gardener.

Another company I have ordered from was The Cottage Gardener from Ontario, Canada. I was very happy I have finally found a Canada based company, which specializes in heirloom seeds. As Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, they are also family based business. They have many rare and endangered heirloom varieties of vegetables, flowers, herbs and are in business since 1996, so now more than 20 years. At the moment, when I have checked their website today, they were already offering more than 650 heirloom seed varieties in small retail packages, or in bulk. They say they have “one of the most diverse selections of certified organic seeds in Canada” and they add new varieties each year. Please see the section below to find out which tomato seeds I have ordered from them and have already tried in my garden.  Once more, you can check out The Cottage Gardener at: www.cottagegardener.com

Their website is not as sophisticated as the one from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, but you can still order seeds from there, download PDF or simple printed version of their catalogue..

Some Tomatos I Have Already Tried  in My Garden.

Black Prince Tomatos in our garden in the middle of September 2015.
Black Prince Tomatos in our garden in the middle of September 2015.

So far within the last 2 years, I have tried in my garden 6 varieties of tomato plants and all of them I have grown myself from seeds. Four varieties were ordered from The Cottage Gardener , one from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and the sixth kind I got from my friend. I was very happy with three heirloom varieties I have ordered from The Cottage Gardener: Amish Paste, Black Prince and Glacier tomatos, which I have now grown with a big success for 2 years and I will probably also grow them this year.  Perhaps I will write another article just about different varieties  of tomatos I have grown in my garden so far, since I don’t want to make this article too long.  In my opinion, the Amish Paste are particularly good for making tomato sauce and preserves, as well as for drying, but they also taste good in salads.

A close up of our Amish Paste tomatos in the end of September 2016. Here you can see well their elongated shape characteristic of many tomato varieties especially created for having lots of flesh and less water inside. They are particularly good for making sauces and also very suitable for drying for future use. I like to grow at least a few such plants, to make sure I have a sufficient supply to make preserves for the time of the year when fresh tomatos from my garden are not available yet.
A close up of our Amish Paste tomatos in the end of September 2016. Here you can see well their elongated shape characteristic of many tomato varieties especially created for having lots of flesh and less water inside. They are particularly good for making sauces and also very suitable for drying for future use. I like to grow at least a few such plants, to make sure I have a sufficient supply to make preserves for the time of the year when fresh tomatos from my garden are not available yet.

Glacier tomatos were smaller, but the fastest to start producing fruits and also quite tasty. The Black Prince tomatos, besides Chadwick, was our favorite when eaten raw in salads.  This tomato has darker, almost brown colour with some green overtones. The only problem I had with them was the tendency to split open, but it could be sometimes because of too much water.

The 4th variety I have ordered from The Cottage Gardener was Scotia tomatos and they also grew well, but took much longer to mature and produced very huge tomatos, which didn’t taste as well as the other varieties. I have grown them only in 2015 and decided not to grow them again. However, if you like huge size, meaty tomatos, they might be a perfect choice for you.

Chadwick Cherry Tomatos. Photo courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
Chadwick Cherry Tomatos. Photo courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

Regarding ordering from the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, I have ordered from them cherry tomatos – Chadwick Cherry, also called Camp Joy Tomato. I have only tried them in 2016 and  they grew very well in my garden and produced a lot of pretty big and very tasty cherry tomatos, which were particularly delicious eaten fresh as a snack or in a salad. They have produced many tomatos right up to the first frost about the middle of October.

The sixth variety I have tried and only for one season in 2016 was San Marzano recommended by my friend, and grown from a package I have received from he. The seeds were packaged by a company called Seeds of Change. The seeds were also certified organic. I have planted them on another side of my garden where is a bit less light and more wet soil and unfortunately they didn’t grow well there at all. San Marzano took very long to mature and produced very little and quite small, long tomatos, which were usually rotten inside and most of them I have to just throw away. They also tasted rather woody.  These tomatos are quite popular with other gardeners, so I think they were just planted in the wrong location, perhaps didn’t receive enough sun and the soil was too wet for them. However because so far I am very happy with other tomatos I have much bigger success with, I am not sure I will give San Marzano another chance to grow in my garden.

So here is also a lessen, to choose not only the right kind of tomatos for your taste, culinary needs, as well as climate, soil type and lighting conditions, but also to make sure you plant them at the right location in your garden.

Different varieties of tomatos and one kind of papers from our garden, which I have collected at the end of the season to protect our last harvest in 2016 from freezing. Many tomatos have to be collected at less then mature size. Still most of them slowly matured in our home protected from cold.
Different varieties of tomatos and one kind of pepers from our garden, which I have collected at the end of the season to protect our last harvest from freezing. You can see here Black Prince, Amish, Glacier, Chadwick Cherry and San Marzano tomatos. Many tomatos have to be collected at less than mature size and while still green. Nevertheless,  most of them slowly matured in our home protected from cold and placed beside a sunny window.

Please Share this Article and Comment on the Blog.

If you like this article, please share it with other people who might be interested in reading it and subscribe to the blog to receive future updates. I write here about gardening, garden design, herbs, as well as I mention related events and present the most beautiful gardens I have visited. Please also tell us which tomato plants you like to grow and which one are your favorite.

The Copyright Info.

This article and pictures from our garden and our late tomato harvest are copyrighted by me, Renata Ratajczyk. I you would like to use any of them in your publications or on your website, please contact me. Thank you. Other photographs used in this blog were provided thanks to courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, are copyrighted by them. Thank you to Baker Creek for letting me use their images in this blog post.

Other Articles You Might Also Like.

  1. How to Choose the Right Kind of Tomatos for Your Garden – Part 1.
  2. How to Choose Tomato Plants for Your Garden – Part 2.
  3. Seven Important Questions to Ask When Choosing Plants for Your Garden.
  4. How I Have Started My First Garden – Part 1: Deciding Where to Grow Flowers, Vegetables and Herbs.
  5. Are All Weeds Bad? Burdock in Our Garden and How You Can Use It. Starting and Designing Our First Garden – Part 2.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “How to Choose the Best Tomato Plants For Your Garden – Part 3. Tomatos I Have Tried Growing and the Reviews of Two Companies I Have Purchased My Seeds From.

  1. I met Jere years ago at a Garden Writers’ conference, and I’ve visited his farm in Missouri….a fun place to go with pretty gardens, restaurant, seed store and more! They are a dedicated family-operated business.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s