My absolute favorite plum/paste tomato is Gilbertie. Yes, I know, it is a bit tricky to grow. It is very susceptible to blossom-end-rot during the entire growing season (not just early on). So it is important to give it some extra calcium and never to overwater this plant. Since it is an heirloom it is also susceptible to a number of diseases. On the other hand, it grows so rapidly that it often outgrows the diseases and it will keep on producing until well into October. The tomatoes from this plant are large and very meaty: they make absolutely the best slow roasted tomatoes ever!
|From left to right: Gilbertie, Granadero, Juliet|
I have tried Big Mama, but holy smokes, what a magnet for early blight and septoria blight! My gardens have been pestered with both over the past several years, so why bother with a plant that is super prone to getting these diseases?
This year I am trying Granadero (Cooks Garden). I don’t think I will grow that one again either. It is also very prone to every blight known to mankind (and does not recover as well as Gilbertie for instance) plus the skin is super, super thick. Forget about trying to skin these tomatoes: way too much flesh sticks to the skin. In addition, although the skins are red, often the inside of the tomato was white and hard as a rock.
I am giving Roma VF from Southern Exposure a 2nd change. Unfortunately, I find it just as “blah” as San Marzano and Amish Paste.
In general, I think this has been a tough tomato year. Lots of diseases and fewer tomatoes per plant than other years. I would love to hear what your experience was this year and whether you have any suggestions for plum/paste tomatoes to grow for next year.