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Hello and Happy New Year! It’s been a LONG time since I wrote a blog post. I’m still learning how to balance my upscaled allotment and normal life post pandemic. However, you haven’t gotten rid of me that easily! I’m not going to lie, I got into a bit of a rut in 2022 so I’m really trying to start 2023 with a clean slate.
Last year was an extremely challenging year in the garden, and those who follow me on Instagram will know how desperately I was trying (and failing) to keep my crops growing with no running water on the plot! Lets hope 2023 provides a more fruitful harvest, shall we?
Still, there was one crop that didn’t let me down (or should I say, I didn’t let them down!). Right from when I planted them in my greenhouse, I made sure my tomatoes were always well watered. The draught also actually helped keep blight at bay. From my bounty of tomatoes, I managed to narrow down my favourite 6 varieties which are being fast tracked to 2023’s growing list, so I thought I’d share them with you so you can grow them, too.
6. Pork Chop
Big yellow beefsteaks absolutely bursting with flavour. Not too sweet like some yellow tomatoes can be, but they are still quite sweet and truly delicious. If this was a post based on tomato yields, these would come in the top 3 easily. Last year was my second year growing this variety and both years they have produced my biggest tomato of the season. One catch with this one is, the seeds aren’t readily available to order in the UK, but you can import them here.
5. Black Cherry
We had SO MANY black cherries this year! From two plants! These delicious cherries are a nice balance between sweet and acid and the highest yielding cherry tomato I’ve ever grown. They also have a lovely purple colour which makes them more interesting than a standard red cherry. What’s more, this variety is extremely easy to get hold of in the UK.
4. Black Beauty
I couldn’t leave the famous black beauty off this list now, could I? Although some may be shocked how low down it is! Ensure the tomatoes have a good amount of direct sunlight to increase the anthocyanin content (which is what makes it black!). These beefsteak tomatoes are delicious and versatile. Another fun fact about the anthocyanin is that it is a gut boosting polyphenol with antioxidant properties!
3. Crushed Heart
Heart shaped tomatoes that are yummy, meaty and slightly more acid than sweet. Crushed heart tomatoes are excellent for cooking but they just taste so good I love having them raw too! This variety also gets top marks for looks, it’s a stunner!
2. Green Zebra
Smallish. This one is a bit of a wild card. I can see this variety being a bit more divisive than the rest on this list. I love that these tomatoes are green, they really do brighten up a tomato salad beautifully! They get a slight yellowy hue when they ripen, so its easy to know when they are ready to pick.
The flavour is incredible but it is definitely much more on the acidic side. I personally prefer tomatoes that aren’t sickly sweet, so if you are someone who prefers a good amount of acid in your tomatoes then I couldn’t recommend this variety more. These tomatoes also keep surprisingly well. The downside of this tomato is that the yields could be better (especially because I could eat them all day!). You can find these tomato seeds here.
1. Alices Dream
Wow. This tomato. I’ve not seen much of this around but it has such an incredible flavour. This came top for both of us in mine and my partners taste test. If you want a tomato to smack you in the face with flavour, this is the one.
These streaky, orangey beefsteak-sized tomatoes with dark shoulders (another one with anthocyanin!) are a real show stopper in looks and taste. I recommend eating these tomatoes fresh because they are so good, and it would feel a real waste to cook them. The one downside is I found they didn’t keep too well…. but when a tomato is that good they hardly sit around for long!!!
So that’s my 2022 tomato round up. Have you tried any on this list?
Tomatoes really are a crop worth growing a good variety of, because they have so many different flavour profiles and uses. I find most tomato varieties that are widely available in the UK pretty average (although improving), so it is definitely worth digging deeper to find more interesting varieties. If you are UK based and are looking for Black Beauty, Crushed Heart or Alices Dream seeds, I have had great success with my seeds bought from here.
I would also love to know what tomatoes made your top spot last year, so please do leave a comment with your favourite varieties for myself and others to discover.