Thursday, February 11, 2010
We had a lot of rain last week, and this cracked 'Brandywine' was the result. It had to be eaten right away, but still tasted wonderful. They really have an excellent flavour and I like the pink shade, too.
The real problem is in cultivation. 'Brandywine' is from North America and is (I think) named after the Battle of Brandywine Creek, in Pennsylvania. If it was developed in this area, it is not really adapted for Sydney conditions. I should have realised from the potato leaves that the plant was adapted for lower temperatures and light levels: my plants are horribly burnt. The fruit fly bags have protected the fruit from scorching, but fruit set has been poor. The average tomato plant, according to Malcolm Campbell, will set fruit as long as there are periods below 27 C during the day. I suspect that the 'Brandywine' might stop setting fruit at something closer to 24 C, or that it prefers lower overnight temperatures -- our minima rarely fell below 20 C in January. I plan to keep growing 'Brandywines', but in future I will plant them early and late in the season. If anyone has ideas on what would be a good mid-season tomato for Sydney, I'd like to hear about it. My Dad used to plant 'Grosse Lisse'.
I'm completely unimpressed with 'Tommy Toe', after two years of growing it. I'm used to rampant cherry tomato plants which just appear as volunteers and produce trusses of yummy fruit. 'Tommy Toe' takes ages to flower, and then only gives you a couple of tomatoes at a time. Worst of all, they don't have much flavour. A big thumbs down to this one.
The other variety I grew this year was 'Principe Borghese', which are small "paste" tomatoes, used in cooking and for sun-drying. I managed to sun-dry some and they taste fine, but I prefer fresh tomatoes. Worth the experiment, but I probably won't bother buying the seeds again.
How about you?