2016: Sold Out!!
Thank you, everyone, for coming out to our sale. We have sold out of everything as of 11:30. We so appreciate all of the support! See you next year.
Welcome back gardeners! It's that time of year again, when my greenhouse is full of seedlings and our kids are full of hope.
This will be our seventh Robot Tomatoes Sale! We started with just one FLL (LEGO Robotics) team with 10 kids, and now we have over 100 kids on FLL, FLL Jr. and FIRST Tech Challenge teams as well. Our kids range in age from 5 to 18. We are so proud of them and can't wait to see what they accomplish this year.
So please come out again, have a cup of coffee, and pick out some fun and unusual varieties for your summer garden. We have tomatoes that will make your eyes pop and chiles that should only be handles with tongs.
The date? April 30, 2016, 9 am to noon, at the usual place, 792 Grant St, Herndon, VA.
All proceeds go to Nova Labs Robotics, dedicated to founding and supporting FIRST Robotics teams for young inventors, and introducing them to the excitement of lifelong learning. Thank you for supporting our kids!
Our 2016 Varieties
An asterisk (*) indicates a variety we have grown before in our Herndon garden, and which did very well for us. Germination and growth rates will affect final availability. All of these vines are 6 to 10 feet and indeterminate unless otherwise noted; if you want full-sized fruit on smaller vines, check out the Dwarf Tomatoes, below.
Beefsteak and Slicer Tomatoes
These will range in size from 8 oz to 2 pounds. Even the largest types can produce fruit of varying sizes on the same plant.
||Tri-Color: yellow, green, & pink||See photo, left. Delicious, fruity, 12 oz. One of our family favorites, aka "Black Pineapple" potential for high sugar, can become overripe quickly.|
|Aunt Ruby's German Green*||Green||Vines are 4-6', fruit large with an irregular shape, and have high acid for a tart finish. Productive and delicious for us.|
|Black Beauty||Indigo skin, red flesh||Not a lot of specifics about size, but this looks like a medium slicer; rave reviews for flavor. Hope to test this year.|
|Brandywine OTV||Pink||1–2 lb fruit, considered by many to be the best; however, the flowers do not pollinate easily, and this may be why there are complaints about yields. Gently flicking the flowers or shaking the plants will improve yields.|
||Purple or "Black"||Contest winner for it's rich, earthy, sweet flavor, smaller vines than Cherokee Purple. I can attest to its deliciousness. Low germination this year, only a few available.|
||Purple||An old reliable, dating back to 1800's. Meaty and earthy, my husband's favorite, can be oddly shaped. Disease resistant; a good choice for new gardeners, or if you only have room for one.|
||Pink||Vigorous vines, 6-10', 1-2 lb fruit, meaty, lots of happy growers. Recommended to me by Herndon gardeners, and yes, these are awesome.|
|Unavailable. Crop failure. Sorry.|
||Gold to Orange||Best overall tomato for us in 2012; disease resistant, huge fruit with small core, few seeds, meaty, rich, fruity, vigorous vines, very productive. I love this one.|
|Yellow w/ pink blush||Medium to large slicer, high productivity; interior has a pink "swirl" and flavor said to be fruity, sweet.|
|Persimmon*||Orange-yellow||8-16 oz orange w/ citrusy, tangy flavor, outstanding for us in 2010. Wide variation in sizes reported, some up to 2 lbs|
||Yellow w/ gold stripes||This was the big surprise for us in 2013; they came in early for a beefsteak and produced enough for sauce (I only grew one vine). Fruity, juicy, leaning to the sweet side, delicious.|
||Purple||8-12 oz, Excellent, classic smokey flavor; I think this is better but less productive than Cherokee Purple, a personal favorite. Named for alien race on Babylon 5. Potato leaf.|
New Dwarf Tomatoes*
Developed by the Dwarf Tomato Project using traditional breeding methods, these vines are excellent options for smaller spaces or containers of at least five gallons. They are being reviewed as some of the best-tasting tomatoes to be had, and our tests bear this out. They need support; those flimsy wire cages sold at nurseries are not enough. Stake them, and enjoy awesome deliciousness.
|Chocolate Champion||Purple||6–8 oz oblate fruit w/ very good flavor and texture; related to Cherokee Chocolate.|
|Dwarf Golden Gypsy||Yellow||8–18 oz beefsteak w/ intense tangy flavor. High yields. Very good reviews all around.|
|Iditarod Red||Red||1–4 oz fruit on 4-foot vines; very high productivity, light and balanced flavor, great for salads and juice.|
|Loxton Lad||Yellow||6–16 oz beefsteak w/ "well balanced, delicious flavor."|
|Maralinga||Purple||6–12 oz, Deep crimsom, juicy flesh tastes like a black tomato: rich, smokey, intense.|
Salad, Canning, and Cherry Tomatoes
Perfect for tossing into a salad, serving as a snack, drying, and canning, or pickling when unripe.
|A Grappolli d'Inverno*||Red||Clusters of elongated cherries, tart, strong flavor is EXCELLENT roasted or in sauce. A long-keeper. One of the best.|
||Pink||3-oz fruit is a bit tart; little is known about this heirloom from the Togolese Republic. Seeds are a gift from Bunny Hop Seeds.|
|Barry's Crazy Cherry||Yellow||HUGE clusters of oval, pointed cherry tomatoes; flavor is good, fruits keep well. Multiflora type.|
|Black Icicle||Purple||Plum-shaped fruit on semi-determinate vines. Flavor said to be complex and rich, as expected from a purple; ripens well off the vine. Great reviews!|
||Yellow w/ pink streaks||Shaped like a small plum tomato, 2 inches long. Flavor is sweet, w/ hint of pineapple. Good for drying. Productive for us in 2015.|
|Djeena Lee's Golden||Golden Yellow||Small, plum-sized oval fruit, dates back to 1920's when it won contests for flavor; balance of acid and sweet, thicker skin than most.|
|Gold Rush Currant||Gold to orange||Large vines with wispy foliage bear trusses of 1/4-inch fruit. I've grown something similar in the past, and it was just delightful. Tiny, sweet berries are perfect for tiny fingers to pick.|
|Martino's Roma||Red||3 oz red plum/pear shaped paste tomato w/ dry, sweet flesh, few seeds, great for canning, sauce, semi-determinate; known to fall from vine when completely ripe|
|Orange Icicle||Orange||Plum-shaped orange fruit, semi-determinate vine; great reviews for flavor and productivity.|
|Raspberry Lyanna||Pink||3 oz round fruit on small vine; great reviews for productivity, disease resistance, flavor.|
|Tess's Land Race Currant||Red, but somtimes coral||3/4–inch red fruit in bunches on very aggressive vines. Currant tomatoes like to reseed! This variety was developed in Maryland, very well adapted here, balanced but bold flavor.|
|Yellow Pear||Yellow||1–oz yellow pear-shaped fruit on vigorous vines that produce non-stop all season long. Mild, sweet flavor. Kids love these.|
|Weissbehaarte||White||2–oz creamy yellow fruit, juicy and sweet. Vines are very productive.|
Peppers, Eggplants, and Basil
|Some of us find bell peppers tricky to grow. Check out the tips in this article for advice.|
||Pimento shape, 2–4 inches long, ripens reds, very sweet, use 2 or 3 to replace a bell pepper; very productive and delish. Great results for us in 2014.|
|Oda||Small bells on stocky plants with high yields, getting high reviews for flavor. Ripens a deep red.|
|Bhut Jolokia*||The classic weaponized "Ghost Pepper" of India, measured at 1 million SHUs. It is unreasonable to grow these. Ripens red.|
||Moderate heat in a beautiful pepper; fruit starts green, then turns dark purple and finally ripens red. Productive and reliable. One of our favs.|
|Poblano||Just a touch of heat in a 4–6 inch pepper that ripens reddish brown; use to stuff, roast, or eat fresh|
|Trinidad Perfume||Called a "seasoning pepper," this chile carries little or no heat, yet gives off a wonderful aroma and adds fruity flavors to stews, salsas, etc. Can't wait to try.|
||The third hottest pepper ever measured by the Chile Pepper Institute. These top out at around 1.5 million Scovilles. Why would you want to grow these? Why? Ripens red.|
|Rosita||My favorite eggplant! Classic shape in a deep lavendar color, delicious when grilled. About 6 inches long. Productive.|
|Syrian Stuffing||Classic black color, but slightly elongated. Great reviews so far, harvest at 4–6 inches in length for best flavor.|
|Turkish Orange||I admit I bought these because they look like tiny pumpkins when ripe; however, it's best to cook them when they are on the greenish side. Fruit is 3 inches round.|
||Sweet basil traditionally used in pesto. Must have for mozarella-tomato-basil salad.|
|Italian Genovese||Similar to Classico, with strong flavor considered by some to be best for pesto.|
||Darker, rugose leaves, stronger flavor, stands up to cooking better.|
And Another Thing
|Garlic Chives||Taste more like garlic than onions, and used throughout Asia in cooking. Excellent taste, white flowers. Thank you Robin for this donation.|
13 teams with kids ranging from 6 to 18 years old, building robots, learning teamwork, and creating new ways to use technology to solve problems for all of us:
We welcome volunteers and community participation. Contact Nova Labs Robotics to learn more about coaching and mentoring local teams.
Thank you for supporting our kids. Happy Growing!