Monday, May 12, 2014

Tomato Patch: A Solid Gold investment

In this guest blog series by Bob Nixon, he explores various tomato varieties and how well they grow in the Mid-Atlantic region. Look for Tomato Patch posts every Monday for the next few months as our local tomato season gets underway.

Solid Gold tomatoes hang in long clusters
The price of gold may have been less than solid on the commodities markets in recent months, but my purchase of a packet of 'Solid Gold' Hybrid seeds from Tomato Growers Supply Co. turned out to be an excellent investment.

I was attracted to 'Solid Gold' because I wanted both a change of pace from the Sweet 100 and Sungold cherry varieties I’d grown in recent years and also a variety that wouldn’t crack after every shower or rain, as Sweet 100 and Sungold usually do.

The Tomato Growers Supply Co. catalog description of Solid Gold seemed just what I was searching for: “Clusters of one-inch long, golden yellow grape tomatoes appear in great numbers through an impressively long-growing season.  This plant just seems never to give up!  In our trials, it was the first tomato to ripen and the last one to stop producing.  The tomatoes are very crack-resistant and once harvested have a long shelf life while retaining their delicious, sweet taste.”

That description turned into reality in the Tomato Patch.  I’ve been amazed at the many cascading clusters—most with 16 to 22 tomatoes—growing from the vigorous plants.  The first tomato I picked this season was a Solid Gold, and they joined Juliets in the last colander of small tomatoes I picked before frost ended Tomato Patch 2013.  Solid Gold did not crack early in season, but about 50% of the fruit did in the last month or so.  Shelf-life seems eternal—well, almost—with Solid Gold fruits sitting on our kitchen counter for days sometimes without wrinkling or showing any signs of collapse.  When fully ripe, Solid Gold is both sweet and tomatoey, but not candy-sweet like the smaller Sweet 100 and Sungold cherry varieties.

Bottom line:  Solid Gold is a fine variety definitely worth a repeat next summer.  It is my current favorite “snacker.”  For Tomato Patch 2014 I’ll have to decide whether to plant Solid Gold again or return to the super-sweet Sungold.

Solid Gold: Solid and semi-sweet snacker

About the Author
Bob Nixon is a retiree who lives at Meadow Glenn, a rural residential home near Clarksville in the piedmont region of Maryland. He loves gardening with emphasis on veggies and perennial flowers, and he is gradually reforesting parts of his home lot with native trees. And while he is gardening or mowing or just walking about, he sometimes reflect on life and what’s happening beyond Meadow Glenn at his blog:

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