Tomatoes and Ground Cherries

More from the 2013 Test Garden

January 27, 2014

Tomato: 'Black Zebra'

Skin with jagged stripes of green and burgundy made 'Black Zebra' the best-looking tomato in the 2013 test garden. The taste is sweet and rich, typical of so-called "black" tomatoes. Fruits top out at about 4 ounces.
Tomato Growers Supply Co

Tomato: 'Brandy Boy'

Hybrid beefsteak 'Brandy Boy' has the incomparable 'Brandywine' in its family tree, so its rich and mellow flavor comes as no surprise—but it's a bit earlier to set fruit than 'Brandywine' and less prone to cracking.


Tomato: 'Cosmonaut Volkov'

We'd heard good things about 'Cosmonaut Volkov', a Ukrainian heirloom, but this was its first appearance in our test garden. It didn't disappoint, scoring high marks for flavor and productivity.
High Mowing Organic Seeds

Tomato: 'Hillbilly'

When fully ripe, these big golden tomatoes have a red blush that radiates upward from the blossom end. There's a hint of fruitiness to the low-acid flavor.
Territorial Seed Co.

Cherry Tomato: 'Jasper'

Fungal diseases often slow down the tomatoes in our test garden well before fall. Not 'Jasper'—its tiny, tangy fruits just kept coming.
Johnny's Selected Seeds

Tomato: 'Maglia Rosa'

We didn't get to taste many of this tomato's small, torpedo-shaped fruits; nearly all of them split before they ripened from amber to pink. But the few we sampled were juicy and refreshing.
Seeds of Change


Tomato: 'SuperSauce'

As its name suggests, 'SuperSauce' is all about size. The huge fruits, weighing up to 2 pounds, are on the dry side, meaty, and with few seeds—ideal for making sauce, and good sliced for a sandwich, too. Our plants produced an astounding quantity of fruits.

Ground cherry: Giant ground cherry (Physalis peruviana)

Upright growth distinguishes this species of ground cherries, also called Cape gooseberry, from other types. It is not nearly as prolific as 'Aunt Molly's', another heirloom ground cherry we grew in the test garden, but its fruits have a bolder, jazzier flavor.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Even MORE from the 2013 test gardens:


Vegetables and Basil

Photography by Patrick Montero