Tag Archives: tomato

‘Sun Gold’ Tomatoes Rise to Top at Tasting

Colorado Master Gardeners from Denver Extension enjoyed sampling and voting for their favorite home-grown tomatoes during the annual picnic. (Photo by Merrill Kingsbury)

Just like location, location, location is the slogan for real estate, ‘Sun Gold’, ‘Sun Gold’, ‘Sun Gold’ was the mantra at the annual Colorado Master Gardener summer picnic on August 25.

‘Sun Gold’ received the most votes and special recognition during the picnic’s tomato tasting.

Three CMGs from the Denver Extension brought their prized ‘Sun Golds’ to the tasting party: Linda McDonnell, John Ashworth and Barb Pinter.

‘Sun Golds’ are a perennial winner at tomato tasting contests because of their high sugar content and exceptional flavor. The bright orange fruits are also extremely prolific, growing bunches of sweet tomatoes on long vines throughout summer.

Other favorite tomatoes at the tasting included Dianne Rainville’s ‘Green Zebra’. One taster singled out this variety for its “nice acidity and beauty.”

Julie Householder and her husband David brought samples of their ‘Goliath’ tomatoes. These tomatoes were extra-special because the plant came from the Master Gardener Plant Sale in May. They also offered ‘Roma’ and ‘Red Siberian’ varieties for sampling.

CMGs John Ashworth and Renata Hahn each brought their favorite tomatoes to the tomato tasting. (Photo by Merrill Kingsbury)

Renata Hahn’s ‘Oh Happy Day’ tomatoes are a beefsteak type hybrid tomato that must get its name for the beautiful ruby-red tomatoes that are bred to be disease resistant.

Other tomatoes sliced and diced for the tasting included ‘Celebrity’, ‘Carbon Purple’, and two different ‘Tommy Toe’ heirloom cherry tomatoes.

The crowd of picnickers numbered 70 and included CMG volunteers and their families. Merrill Kingsbury, Master Gardener Program Assistant, and her husband hosted the annual social event to celebrate another successful gardening season.

The tomato tasting is a picnic bonus. It give gardeners an opportunity to compare different tomatoes for their future plantings. ‘Sun Gold’ could very well be at the top of many must-grow lists for next season.

By Jodi Torpey
A Denver Master Gardener

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Tomato Gardeners Need this App

Tomato MDOne of the best gardening investments I’ve made lately is buying the Tomato MD app available through the American Phytopathological Society. Master gardeners need this app, especially those who answer gardener’s questions at the farmers’ market, by phone or online.

The reasonable $2.99 price is worth every penny if you’ve ever been stumped by the question, “What’s wrong with my tomato plant?”

I don’t know about you, but tomato-growing questions are my most frequently asked question. It’s also a question that I’ve asked myself many times. The CSU fact sheet on Recognizing Tomato Problems is a good resource, but it’s less comprehensive than the Tomato MD app.

Tomato MD is an interactive resource that works with either Apple or Android devices. It’s easy to use and can help you pinpoint just about any tomato problem using the menu of plant diseases and insect problems.

The beauty of this app is that it can be used anytime, anywhere because you don’t need the Internet to access its features. Once you download it to your phone or tablet, you can take it with you into the garden or the CSU Master Gardener’s booth at farmers’ markets or any gardening event.

The app is a great resource for master gardeners. Home gardeners, garden center staff and even professional growers can benefit from this tomato-growing tool, too.

When you’re asked about a tomato issue, the app lets you search in three different ways:

Alphabetical listing of diseases and insects
Images of the 35 most common problems that affect tomato plants
Disease or insect damage characteristics

I’ve found it’s helpful to start by clicking on the photo gallery. That’s where you can choose the affected part of the plant, from leaf to flower, fruit, stem and roots. Select the affected area and then thumb through the images to find a photo match.

Tomato MD covers problems like alternaria stem canker, bacterial spot, blossom end rot, drought stress injury, tomato spotted wilt, early blight, late blight and plenty more. The rogue’s gallery of insects and mites includes tomato hornworms, tomato fruitworms, stink bugs and many of the other harmful insect pests.

Once you’ve identified the problem, the app gives you a menu of options for symptoms, causes and sources, other plant hosts, imitators, control options and additional help with diagnosis.

Much of the content for the Tomato MD app is from the American Phytopathological Society’s research and its two massive and expensive volumes called Tomato Health Management ($89) and Compendium of Tomato Diseases and Pests ($99). I’ve wanted to add these books to my library, but the cost was prohibitive.

At $2.99 Tomato MD solves that tomato problem, too.

By Jodi Torpey, a Denver Master Gardener