What Was New In The Garden – summer 2018

I planted two new tomato varieties this past spring; San Marzano and Brad’s Atomic Grape (because Baker Creek was pushing them and they looked cool).

San Marzano, Celebrity, Brad’s Atomic Grape, Green Zebra

The San Marzano tomatoes grew well, we had plenty of hot dry weather. Do they ever need a lot of calcium! Yes they do. I have a specific tomato planting method and it includes, what I think to be adequate, eggshells. Additionally I do a foliar feed that includes calcium. All that and it wasn’t enough. I kept pushing the calcium and the blossom end rot was persistent. Finally after the plants had about all the blight they could stand (that’s another story and a successful one at that) the tomatoes turned around and came on like crazy – no blossom end rot. They are still pumping out lots of fruit even though the plants are a little on the scruffy side. Next year, more calcium, sooner. I’m loving these great little paste tomatoes. For a better look at calcium uptake in the garden you might want to read this article.

Brad’s Atomic Grape tomato

The Brad’s Atomic Grape – good and fast germination, sturdy plants in the garden. I was in love. Then I hated them – it was impossible to tell when they were ripe, the skin was objectionably thick and the fruits too small to peel, seedy, no flavor. I wrote a poor review. But I am back in love with them and will amend my review. These things have finally came into their own. One plant easily trained on a cattle panel arch and it is no less than ten feet high (but curved of course) and spans a good four feet wide. That plant has been COVERED in tomatoes for the last two months. I pick a couple pounds every couple days off that one plant. These plants have become less seedy, more flavorful and thinner skinned as the season progresses.


That was my new thing for summer ’18, along with some amaranth. The bugs loved the amaranth but the amaranth did not care one bit and grew any which way it could and decorated itself with big beautiful flower heads. For an in-depth look at amaranth surface anatomy check out this article.



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2 Responses to What Was New In The Garden – summer 2018

  1. Mary Badiny says:

    I did not like the brad atomics–maybe like you I only tried the newer ones and no one else liked them. Had 4 plants and pulled all but one and then a customer I sold them to her because she liked them. They all got the blight so bad. I don’t think I’ll try it again…but then you changed your mind so I guess I jumped the gun.

    • S says:

      They are certainly a mixed bag of tricks. I had so few tomatoes overall that I was taking what I had. I probably won’t grow them again – too much trouble. I want a great grape tomato but have not found it yet. Marideth gave me a handful of little orange tomatoes to save for seed next summer. We shall see how that goes.

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