During last summer’s rainy weather, I realized that a cherry tomato has a better chance of ripening and producing a good yield in poor conditions than a big beefsteak, so it is wise to hedge one’s bets and have a few of them in the garden. Cherries are cute, child-friendly and useful. tossing a few in a dish is somehow less fuss than dealing with a large tomato.
I do appreciate the standard cherry tomato that pops up everywhere – and I mean in garden centres as well as sown by the birds in all sorts of places-but it has its drawbacks. With its tough skin and seedy, watery interior, I always seem to get squirted when trying to halve them for salads! The flavour is so-so, unless it is almost overripe, and they do make your salad or tomato tart a bit watery too.
The following two alternatives from the USA have both won taste tests for sweetness and flavour and are very worthy of garden space and some loving care:
Pretty marbled bicolor cherry tomatoes are red with a spectacular cat’s eye starburst on the blossom end. Shape and colouring apparently vary- it’s my first year growing this one. Rich, sweet, fruity flavor. Plants are loaded with 30mm fruits in clusters of 6-8.
Here’s one I did indeed grow last season. Bicolor Cherry is still unknown and rare. Having received a few seeds from the States, I planted one in a large tub on my stoep. In this protected spot it grew very tall, took its time to start producing, and then kept on bearing very sweet pinky-orange cherries until deep into winter. Even the last ones that didn’t fully ripen were supersweet and flavourful- and we’re talking August.