We love tomatoes and always make sure we grow plenty each year. There is no finer taste than a home grown tomato eaten straight from the plant at it’s natural temperature.

In previous years we’ve tended to play it safe and stuck with well known varieties such as ‘Moneymaker’, ‘Gardener’s Delight’ and ‘Alicante’, but last year we had a break from tradition and tried a few new varieties, and we are very glad we did.

We didn’t do any research or anything clever like that, we just bought a packet of seeds entitled ‘Tomato Collection’, which contained the seeds of 6 varieties. In addition to these we also sowed some Plum Roma, as we like them for cooking, and a Beefsteak variety, just to see what it was like.

In mid March I sowed 24 seeds, 3 of each variety, in the hope I would get about 18-20 decent plants. As it turned out I did much better than that and got 24 decent plants, so some were planted outside, but got destoyed by an unexpected late frost on the 20th May.

The 18 tomatoes in the conservatory were un-affected and went from strength to strength. Here is my assessment of the results.

Red Pear
As their name suggests these are small pear-shaped tomatoes, and at first I wasn’t quite sure how best to use them. However, they are good in sandwiches and salads and also make a delightful omlette. The 3 plants produced a good number of fruit.

Golden Sunrise
These are sweet, juicy and above all yellow. They are a good cropper, but they ripen very quickly and don’t keep well on the plant once they have ripened. They are good in salads but can also be used along with red ones to make a tomato sauce.

These are lovely red and yellow striped tomatoes, but not as plentiful as the others, Good in salads or sauces.

Costoluto Fiorentino
These are big, mishapen tomatoes that wouldn’t win a beauty contest, but they are a fair cropper and good for cooking, if a little difficult to peel.

Gardener’s Delight
Small, sweet, juicy, bountiful, full of flavour, what more need I say?

Plum Roma
This is another stalwart of the tomato world. Reiable, good cropper, makes delicious tomato sauce. Keeps well both on and off the plant.

San Marzano 2
Very similar to Plum Roma. Good cropper, good for cooking.

Good for cooking, but not pretty. Fair cropper.