First Ripe Tomatoes of 2018 – and Curly Top Virus Is Back with a Vengeance

Dozens of tomatoes have been full-sized but green on the vine for three weeks or more.  Finally, the first ripe tomatoes of the 2018 growing season ripened and were picked this past week.  With ambitions to save seeds from nearly 600 varieties, I have been anxious to get an early start on seed saving.

These are the first varieties to produce ripe fruits:

Totushka (Тётушка, from Russia ) – a compact, dwarf determinate variety.  The plant in a grow bag produced a ripe tomato two days earlier than the plant in the garden; but the plant in the garden was much more productive.  Days to maturity was 48 from transplant, 102 from seed.

Bison – among the “extra early” varieties started from seed on March 15th.  Shortly after planting, the seedling suffered from severe drought stress (watering was missed somehow) which seemed to force it into early blossom formation (just a hypothesis).  Photos below taken on May 30th and July 13th.  DTM: 58/120.

Red Alert – a very early, determinate variety.  As with Totushka, the vine planted in the main garden was significantly more productive than the vine planted in a grow bag.  DTM: 50/122


Utyonok (Утёнок, from Russia) – A dwarf determinate variety that, like Totushka, produces almost all fruit with few leaves.  This is my third year growing Utyonok, and as previously, this has been one of the first to ripen. This year, the plant was one that struggled from the start and I was surprised that it survived to bear fruit.  DTM: 48/121.


Maddeline’s Vine Candy – A small, orange cherry tomato; history and details are described on the website:

DTM: 48/108, picture from last year.

Koralik – a variety from Poland, translates to “Bead”; small, red cherry tomatoes, extra early; DTM 43/94.  Grown by my cousin in Arizona from seedlings I raised, so no pictures; my Koralik seedling nearly died from heavy browsing by goats and is still in recovery mode.

Babushkino – From Russia, Бабушкино translates to “Grandma’s”, very tasty, small round red; DTM 63/105

Americke Pyramidni – Perhaps not true to type, need to research; DTM 61/105

Appetitnyi – From Russia, Аппетитный translates to “Appetizing”, and is indeed quite tasty, with a distinctive, lively flavor; DTM 61/101

Emerald – Offtype, red fruits; will see if it’s worth saving; DTM 61/101

Sungella – Beautiful and delicious little orange tomatoes; DTM 60/100

Black Cherry – Fabulous flavor, picture from 2017; DTM 51/120

De Barao Chorniy (from Russia, Де барао чёрный translates to “Black from De Barao); DTM 63/105.

Ditmarsher – Quite a distinctive growth form, sprawling along the ground with almost no seeds; would be excellent for planter boxes; picture of loaded plant is from 2016; DTM 61/101 (43/94 for my cousin in Arizona)

“Pugent Sound Sweetie” (name is placeholder, murky history, working out name, etc. with a colleague from Pugent Sound area); DTM 53/92

Auria, dwarf – Third year growing this remarkable variety, and it has been one of the earliest and most prolific producers every time (photo from 2016); DTM 56/105

Damascus Steel – Distinctive color combination; DTM 65/109

Dwarf Pink Opal – Photos etc. to come; DTM 56/97

Rozoviy Kit – From Russia, Розовый кит translates to “Pink Whale”; DTM 66/109

Rozoviy Syrayeva – From Russia, Розовый Сыраева translates to “Pink Syraeva”, Syraeva is a feminine name; DTM 66/109

Fourth of July (OP) – This is my own open-pollinated version of the hybrid, Fourth of July; it has potato leaves and has performed very well in cool climates with high production potential; new name variety name under consideration, as stability seems to be present after seven years of working on this; DTM 55/128

Sweet Apertif – Addictive cherry tomato, very sweet; picture from 2017; DTM 55/115

Zolotoe Serdtse – From Russia, Золотое Сердце translates to “Heart of Gold”; prolate with very pronounced nipple; DTM 55/105

Zolotaya Kanareyka – From Russia, Золотая канарейка translates to “Golden Canary”; DTM 65/109

Dwarf Shadow Boxing – One plant inexplicably not dwarf growth form but the other is; DTM 58/107


Tel-Aviv Train – Small red fruits; DTM 56/106

De Barao Tsarskyi Krasnyi Ukrainskyi – From Russia, Да барао царский красный Украинский translates to “De Barao Royal Red Ukrainian”; shaped like a Roma tomato; DTM 68/108

Germanskiy Polosatiy – Seeds indirectly from Russia, Германский Полосатый translates to “German Striped”; research needed, as this is not striped and does not appear similar to the English “Striped German”; DTM 68/100

Hybrid 4 Tarasenko (labeled as “Gibrid 4 Tarasenko) – Seeds indirectly from Russia; DTM 68/100

Ispanskaya Roza – Seeds from Russia, Испанская роза translates to “Spanish Rose”; is much closer to burnt umber than rose colored, research needed; DTM 70/112

Krasnaya Grusha Frankov – Seeds from Russia, Красная груша Франков translates to “Red Pear Frankov”, Frankov is a name.  This one obviously not ripe yet, just an intriguing shape.

Larisa – DTM 70/112

Lyagushka Tsarevna – from Russia, Лягушка Царевна translates to “Frog Princess”; green when ripe, looks delicious!  DTM 69,112

Paska – from Russia, Паша is a masculine name; red, very productive vine; DTM 69, 112

Rozoviy Izyumniy – from Russia, Розовый изюмный translates to “Pink Raisin”; DTM 69/112

Rubinovyie Zvozdy – from Russia, Рубиновые звёзды translates to “Ruby Stars”; DTM 69/112

Sugary – Very small “grape” tomato, picture from 2011; DTM 67/107

Super Sweet 100 – Red cherry tomato, picture from 2011; DTM 67/107


Glacier – Despite the name, still needs warm weather to ripen! DTM: 52/113; first ripe was from a fused blossom, perhaps three fused.

Dwarf Arctic Rose – Set fruit as early as Totushka, but took several more days for fruit to ripen; fruit in grow bags ripe about two days before those in ground in the garden; DTM: 59/113

Barossa Fest – Fruit in grow bag first to ripen, others still green; DTM: 59/101

Many more varieties are starting to ripen as of 7-24-2018.  I likely will not manage the time to keep this list up to date, as very soon, harvesting and processing for seeds will be taking up virtually every waking moment for the next 3-4 months.

= = = = = = = = = =

Now for an update on the dreaded Curly Top Virus.

I should know better than to take a chance with not completely covering seedlings with row cover fabric – see lessons learned in 2014 and 2016:

On June 15th this year, I removed two plants which were obviously dying from CTV, Drug (Dzhan) and Polesskiy Gigant Tarasenko:

I was hopeful that this would be the end of CTV this season – alas, it was just the beginning.  Two weeks later the count was at 45; then 71 a week after that; then this past week, I quit counting at 90 seedlings dying – so discouraging.  Even a Big Rainbow vine – part of the giant tomato project in the high tunnel – succumbed to CTV.  A once vigorous plant, nearly 18″ tall, replaced here with a very-late-to-germinate Mammoth Cretan seedling:

Someone claimed a special formulation of Chitosan will cure and/or prevent virtually every known disease or physiological problem with tomatoes, including viruses.  As a trained scientist, I am very skeptical about grandiose claims (skeptic = “show me the evidence”), but I remain curious enough to give it a try – you just never know when someone might stumble upon a cure for CTV.  So we sprayed seven infected plants with the formulation.

Not a hint of any positive effect as far as reversing or curing the disease.  This is just anecdotal evidence, of course.   Anybody out there willing to try this or any other claimed CTV in a large-scale, rigorous field study with large sample sizes, appropriate controls, etc.?  Hypothesis: Chitosan protects tomato vines from developing Curly Top Virus disease, even after infection.  If only I still worked for a research university and had financial support to investigate such questions…  My solution is to go ahead and invest several hundred dollars for row cover fabric and the means to keep the vines covered at least until late July.

Update on megablooms and developing fruits – please see revision to my previous post on this subject:

Non-tomato stuff –

I am trying to grow giant pumpkins this year, with two vines growing and taking over the garden.  I am unable to keep up with burying vines or with protecting the growing tips from intense heat, with many days over 95°F the past couple of weeks.  But I have pollinated about 6 pumpkins and am trying to decide which to keep and which to cull; this was the first to pollinate on June 30, but it will be a cull:

I am growing some tall sunflowers and some gourds (long and dipper).  Here’s what the structure looks like:

The parent of these was 170.5″ tall (see:

I am hoping to exceed that!  I am also growing large-headed sunflowers.

Following are a couple of pictures of my favorite Cauliflower variety, Purple of Sicily, taken two days apart.  Hopefully I will be able to harvest seeds from it this year.  I will cover the head with fabric to prevent cross-pollination with other Brassicus varieties, though I realize that most varieties in this group are largely self-infertile.  We shall see.

Just something “cute” – White Scallop squash, aka White Pattypan, conjoined twins:

And I have plenty of interest but not a lot of time for flower seeds, such as bleeding heart:

So many more…







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