As if you needed another reason to garden.

All photographs below by Jere Gettle, compliments of Baker Creek Seeds.

Ananas Noire

Ananas Noire

Carbon

Carbon

Green Moldovan

Green Moldovan

Great White

Great White

Vorlon

Vorlon

Gold Berries

Gold Berries

Aunt Ruby's German Green

Aunt Ruby's German Green

Bhut Jolokia

Bhut Jolokia "Ghost Peppers"

Poma Amoris Minora Lutea

Poma Amoris Minora Lutea

Japanese Black Trifele

Japanese Black Trifele

Green Grape

Green Grape

Cuor di Bue

Cuor di Bue

Yellow Pear

Yellow Pear

Blue Beauty

Blue Beauty

Golden Marconi Pepper

Golden Marconi Pepper

Listada di Gandia

Listada di Gandia Eggplant

 

 

 

Our 2015 Sale: Saturday, May 2

Yes, we are having another sale!

The date is May 2, 2015, 9 am to Noon, at the usual place, 792 Grant St, Herndon, VA.

Tomato enthusiasts can expect the full range of colors and sizes, with all our favorites: Vorlon, Carbon, Great White, and more.

I'm updating the list below constantly, so check back or email me if you want more details.

Visit our Facebook page for ongoing discussion about our varieties.

See you all May 2!

 

Happy Growing!

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!

Happy Growing,
Beth
grower (at) robottomatoes (dot) org

Our 2015 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.

Name Color Notes
Ananas Noire*
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.
Brandywine 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.
Carbon*
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.
Cherokee Green*
Green, w/ some yellow Mutation of Cherokee Purple, an excellent tasting green for us in 2013.
Cherokee Purple*
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.
Cuor di Bue
Red 6–10 oz. The name means "oxheart" and that is the shape; a beloved Italian variety, vigorous vines with very good yields. Flavor is said to be excellent.
German Johnson*
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.
Great White*
Ivory to pale yellow 12-16 oz. My son's favorite, mellow, almost tropical fruit flavor, mild and sweet. Makes a delicious white tomato sauce.
Green Moldovan* Green w/ yellow blush when ripe 6-8 oz green fruit with yellow blush, very good flavor, nice tart/sweet combination, very good reviews on Baker Creek and Dave's Garden. Compact plants, almost a dwarf.
Green Skin Long Keeper* Green skin, pale pink flesh Mine were smaller than the expected 8 oz, but did in fact keep into January on my windowsill, after which they slowly dried; in March I threw the last three into a sauce. They have a strong, earthy, and tart flavor.
Henderson's Pink Ponderosa Pink 8–12 oz, some over 1 lb, pink, ribbed fruit, sweet flavor and meaty flesh w/ small seed cavities;
Kellogg's Breakfast*
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.
Kentucky Beefsteak Gold to Orange Up to 2 lbs, with juicy flesh, balanced flavor w/ acid finish
KBX*
Gold to Orange A potato leaf variant of Kellogg's Breakfast, above. Some growers find this equivilant, some report KBX is superior, with more "zing" and sometimes larger fruit.
Large Barred Boar Dark Purple w/ Green Stripes 8–12 oz slicer, though some come in smaller; reviewers note "meaty," "rich, delicious" flavor with an acid finish.
Malakhitovaya Shkatulka (a.k.a. Malachite Box)
Green w/ Gold Tinge Medium slicer noted for a "savory" flavor, a little different from the usual sweet–tart flavor of greens. I grew mine in a shady area with little success, but a couple of customers have asked me to bring them back; there are also a lot of happy growers elsewhere, so I'll try again.
Marmande Red Semideterminate vines, 4 to 5 feet; flattened, lobed slicers from 4 to 10 ozs; French heirloom, old-fashioned full tomato flavor
Mortgage Lifter Pink 1–2 lb fruit w/ good to excellent taste; heirloom from W. VA dating back to 1930's
Orange Strawberry Orange One of our customers raved about this one, so I thought we'd bring it back. Somtimes called "German Orange Strawberry."
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
Pineapple Bicolor Pink and Yellow 1 lb, sweet, juicy, often found at farmers' markets; high reviews for productivity, flavor said to be best when yellow color still shows; can become overripe quickly
Pork Chop*
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.
Vorlon*
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.
Yellow Brandywine Yellow to gold 10–16 oz lobed fruit w/excellent flavor; some growers report this is their favorite yellow;
Yellow Mortgage Lifter Yellow 1 lb beefsteak with very good flavor; dates back to 1940's.

 

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.

Name Color Notes
Dwarf Emerald Giant Green w/ Gold tinge 8–14 oz fruit on 4–foot vines with rugose potato leaves. "Very nice flavor with an acidic bite."
Dwarf Kelly Green Green Small to medium round fruit on a 4 to 5–foot plant with rugose potato leaves. Noted for high yields.
Dwarf Wild Fred
Purple 6–12 oz, an excellent-tasting beefsteak with irregular shape. Bred from Carbon.
Perth Pride
Dark Purple 4 oz round fruit on 3 1/2 foot plants w/ rugose leaves; productive,
Rosella Purple
Purple Similar to Cherokee Purple in flavor and size, on a dwarf plant; excellent flavor, rugose leaf.
Summer Sunrise*
Yellow Medium slicer on 4–5 foot vines, can have slight blush, "well balanced, full, delicious flavor. The plant seems to be quite disease tolerant and yields quite well."
Sweet Scarlet Dwarf Red 6–16 oz, "Superb, intense, complex flavor," rugose potato leaves, occasional yellow variation. A much-anticipated new release!

 

Salad, Canning, and Cherry Tomatoes

Perfect for tossing into a salad, serving as a snack, drying, and canning, or pickling when unripe.

Name Color Notes
Black Cherry*
Dusky Purple 1-ounce fruit in large clusters. Very popular. Full flavor with a hit of sweetness; some splitting, but that won't stop you from eating them.
Blue Beauty Red w/ indigo skin 4–8 oz salad/slicer, w/ anthocyanins produced in the skin where the sun hits the tomato. In addition to the nutrient boost, these are getting great reviews for flavor, but make sure you rotate crops to prevent disease.
Blush
Yellow w/ pink streaks Shaped like a small plum tomato, 2 inches long. Flavor is sweet, w/ hint of pineapple. Good for drying. Got a favorable report from a customer, so we're bringing them back.
Coeur de Jade green 7–9 oz round fruit w/ balanced sweet-tart flavor on vigorous vines; recently developed in France; the seed supplier told me these were in her top 5% for vigor.
Criolla Quetzaltepeque red 3–4 oz flattened, scalloped fruit said to have strong flavor that stands up well in appetizers, salads; from El Salvador
Giannini red 5–6 oz plum shaped fruit w/ excelent flavor, great for slicing and juicing; not really a paste tomato; noted for high productivity
Gold Berries Yellow w/ indigo skin Cherry tomato w/ anthcyanins produced where the sun hits it's skin. Flavor is said to be outstanding. We will be testing these this year.
Goose Creek Pink 4–10 oz, for salads or slicing, very juicy, dates back to 1800's. Not well known, but reviews are favorable; a good all-around tomato
Green Grape*
Gold skin, green flesh 1-ounce fruit w/ spicy, sweet flavor; a Carolyn Male recommendation. Lots of happy growers report great productivity and "tangy" flavor. Allow to ripen till skin is golden.
Ivory Egg Pale Yellow Egg-sized, juicy, delicious sweet fruit with a hint of acidity on vigorous vines with high productivity
Japanese Black Trifele* Dark Purple Pear size and shape, with a rich flavor and buttery texture; some growers suggest picking underripe, then ripening on the counter for best texture. I tested these in 2011, in a shady area; production was low, but flavor was delicious; most growers report higher productivity with more sun
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
Poma Amoris Minora Lutea yellow 2–3 oz round fruit, productive vine; fruit is tart, not sweet, good for canning, drying, sauce, and eating fresh. A long-keeper, with a history dating back to Italy, 1533.
Rose de Berne*
Pink 6–8 oz round fruit, uniform shape, "Highly recommended - this is one that I will grow regularly for comparing against the flavor of my 'experimental' varieties" according to Tatiana's.
Speckled Roman Red w/ orange stripes 4–6 oz plum tomato good for saucing and eating fresh; bicolor is on skin only; high marks for productivity
Sungold Select II Orange Cherry tomato w/ tangy flavor, less sweet than most cherries.
White Currant Ivory to yellow 3/4 inch fruit w/ intense, "Wow" flavor; aggressive vines will take over and break into your house, then reseed. I planted this once in 2010, and now I get them every year.
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.

Peppers, Eggplants, and Basil

Sweet Peppers
Some of us find bell peppers tricky to grow. Check out the tips in this article for advice.
California Wonder*
Classic bell pepper with great reviews for productivity. Ripens red. Disease resistant. Performed well in a pot for us in 2013.
Golden Marconi* 4–6 inch long peppers that ripen golden yellow; thinner flesh than most bells, but delicious and can be used the same ways; very productive for us in a pot.
Lipstick*
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.
Yellow Monster
Big bell peppers that ripen yellow, can be used at any stage; growers list them as a favorite;
Hot Peppers
Bhut Jolokia The classic weaponized "Ghost Pepper" of India, measured at 1 million SHUs. It is unreasonable to grow these. Ripens red.
Black Hungarian*
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
Thai Red Chili*
Very hot, we cook with these and had excellent results in 2014. Ripens red.
Trinidad Moruga Scorpian
The hottest pepper ever measured by the Chile Pepper Institute. While averages come in at around 1.2 million SHUs, one pepper was measured at over 2 million. Why would you want to grow these? Why? Ripens red.
Eggplant
Ping Tung*
8–12 inches long, 2 inches diameter, lovely lavendar color, delicious stir-fried. Eggplants are more vulnerable to frost than tomatoes, be aware if you're planting early. Low germination, just a couple available
Listada di Gandia 7-inch white fruit w/ purple stripes; delicious and great for grilling; growers nominate this one for most beautiful eggplant
Louisiana Long 8-inch long green fruit w/ high marks for productivity and nematode resistance, mild flavor
Basil, in 2-inch pots
Classico*
Sweet basil traditionally used in pesto. Must have for mozarella-tomato-basil salad.
Napoletano*
Darker, rugose leaves, stronger flavor, stands up to cooking better.

 

Robots Rock!

Additional support from Nova Labs has made it possible for us to expand. Last year, we had a total of six teams: four FLL, one FLL Jr., and one FTC team. Our kids won awards for Robot Design, a Champions Award, and more; The Disorder of the Phoenix competed at the States' Championship in Harrisonburg.

Robots Rock, and so do our kids!

We welcome volunteers and community participation. Contact Nova Labs Robotics to learn more about coaching and mentoring local teams.

Perfect weather for a seedling sale

Thank you for supporting our kids. Happy Growing!