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Comparing 15 varieties to see what grew best, produced the most fruit, and had the best flavor
Members of the Colorado State University Extension Master Gardener program in Larimer County tested a total of 15 varieties of tomatoes to help home gardeners.
The project was split into two “tomato trials” as they are called. One trial consisted of 12 early maturing in-ground varieties — conducted in 2019 & 2021. The second trial conducted in 2020 & 2021 featured 3 small-fruited varieties for containers.
“Many residents of Larimer County have limited space to grow vegetables,” said Jon Weiss, a Master Gardener in Larimer County and coordinator of the two trials. “Not all tomato varieties will work well in a container or in a small space” according to Weiss.
The larger in-ground tomato trial was planted at the CSU ARDEC-South research farm while the container trial was planted at the CSU Annual Flower Trial Garden. Over the course of the study, maturity, fruit yield, and fruit size were collected.
After evaluating two years of data, Hybrid New Girl was the earliest maturing and had the highest fruit yield in the field trials. Blind taste tests were utilized to determine what varieties had the best flavor. Hybrid New Girl was rated as having the best flavor for 2019 and 2021.
For the container varieties tested, Hybrid Patio Choice Yellow stood out as an early, high-yielding, large cherry size variety whose compact plant habit cascaded over the container.
“Over the pandemic, many people took up gardening as a hobby,” said Alison O’Connor, Ph.D. and Horticulture Agent for Larimer County Extension. “We’re hopeful these results will offer the home gardener valuable information to help determine what varieties to grow in Northern Colorado”. All the varieties tested are commercially available and can be considered for 2022 gardens.
Full results, including methodology, can be found at larimer.extension.colostate.edu
Larimer County Extension provides practical education you can trust, to help people, businesses and communities solve problems, develop skills and build a better future. Our evidence-based knowledge is useful and easily accessible. We are here to serve you, your family, and our community by providing unbiased solutions and options. Learn. Serve. Thrive.
Colorado Master Gardeners in Larimer County are members of our community who love lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers, and vegetables. They are passionate to learn and share their knowledge with others. Larimer County Master Gardeners are life-long learners who complete an initial training that covers various aspects of horticulture with the intent to teach others while volunteering in our community. Their goal is to help foster successful gardening with Larimer County residents.
For more information visit our website at: LarimerExtension.org