Mary's Veggie Garden

December 2, 2012

A Plan for Tomatoes in 2013

Filed under: Diseases,Late Blight,Tomatoes,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 7:36 pm

The collection of data is useless unless the analysis is used to inform and direct future activities. Since examining my 2012 tomato harvest in my last post, I’ve been thinking about my direction for next year. Now that the seed catalogs are arriving in my mail box, a plan is firming up.


Climate change is here. The variability that was predicted is happening. Spring is warmer in NYS but the growing season doesn’t start any earlier because most years we are experiencing a hard freeze around May 1. In my gardens the season has gotten shorter as fungal diseases wipe out tomato plants before frost. (Between 1979 and 2008 my plants always survived until frost – often into November.)

  • 2009 – freeze 5/1/09, late blight over entire northeast USA in late July.
  • 2010 – freeze 5/4/10, this is the only recent year the plants survived to first fall frost.
  • 2011 – no late spring freeze,  a hurricane the last week of August and a tropical storm the following week brought heavy rains, fungal diseases and early death to tomatoes.
  • 2012 – freeze 4/30/11, late blight arrived late July and spread gradually during August.


My plan is to focus on tomato varieties that mature quickly or which have disease resistance. Of course I also want flavor, but a great tasting heirloom is of no use if the plant dies about the time it ripens its first tomatoes.


Cherry tomatoes: I love Sungold and it matures early (60 days) so it’s a keeper. Because my four plants at home produced the same yield as each plant in my Vassar Farm (VF) garden, I’ll grow only one Sungold at home and hope it’s enough to keep the chipmunks happy and away from my other tomatoes.

Beefsteak tomatoes: I’m replacing Big Beef with Defiant, a late blight (LB) resistant variety. Big Beef has slightly better flavor, but I lost a lot of them to LB. I preserve most of these tomatoes for use in winter soups, so I may not notice the flavor difference.

Sauce tomatoes: I’m replacing Granadero, an indeterminate variety that matures in 75 days, with Mariana, a determinate variety maturing in 70 days and described as having ‘very good flavor’. Determinate varieties provide a concentrated harvest, so I’m hoping to get it early, before the diseases arrive. Granadero’s extended harvest was chopped off by late blight in 2012.

Although there is a LB resistant plum tomato, Plum Regal, I grew it a couple of years ago and it was flavorless. It is also extremely susceptible to Septoria leaf spot.

Next year I will try Jasper, a 2013 AAS selection. Jasper will either replace Mountain Magic or, more likely, I’ll grow them side by side for comparison. Jasper is a very small, red cherry, described as having a ‘sweet and rich’ flavor. Jasper has resistance to several diseases, including intermediate resistance to Septoria. Septoria is a problem in my gardens and Mountain Magic lacks resistance.

I won’t grow more than 1 or two heirloom plants. They tend to ripen late and if we are hit with late blight their harvest will end prematurely.


  1. Thank you for all you great information ! especially about tomato varieties. My tomato harvest last year, was my worst for Septoria, so I am looking for alternatives.

    Comment by Gillian Leslie — December 3, 2012 @ 12:42 pm | Reply

    • Cornell doesn’t list any varieties resistant to septoria so the best we can get is partial resistance. So both of us will need to focus on cultural controls.

      Comment by marysveggiegarden — December 3, 2012 @ 6:38 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks for the tomato info, will remember for next year’s planting.

    Comment by Norma Chang — December 3, 2012 @ 6:22 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

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

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

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: