Pros: delicious, medium size tomato, early bearing, uniform shape every time, heirloom, disease resistant
Cons: some may want a larger tomato, not a stuffing tomato
I have been growing Matina Organic Tomatoes for years. Each year I ponder the garden catalogs and choose three of four varieties of tomato to grow. Matina is always on the list.
One of the distinctive things about Matina tomato heirloom plants are their leaves. These tomatoes have a leaf shaped like a potato plant leaf. The tomatoes are medium-size and originally of German origin. The fruit grows round and is uniform in shape and size. The Matina tomato is also known for not having "green shoulders", and is red all the way around the fruit.
The tomatoes are meaty and the taste has been compared to a beefsteak tomato. These tomato plants also grow large. The plants are disease resistant, too. Fruit is ready to harvest in 58 days.
The growing season in New England is short. So I start my vegetable seeds indoors under fluorescent lights. I take plastic yogurt cups, punch three holes in the bottom of them with an awl, and place the cups in a tray. I fill the cups with soil, and if the soil is too heavy, I lighten it with perlite.
I plant three seeds in each cup. When the seeds germinate, I either remove the extra plants into other plant pots (so that one plant is in each cup or pot) ... or if I have enough plants, I take a pair of scissors and snip out the weakest of the seedlings so that only one remains in the cup. Tomatoes prefer not to have their roots disturbed, so if you are going to transplant seedlings, do it when they are very small.
A few days before transplanting the plants into my vegetable garden, I harden the plants off. I either place the trays of tomato plants in a cold frame (a large box with a Plexiglas lid), or I place the trays in the shade on the lawn during the day and bring them in at night. Before planting the tomato plants, I remove them from the yogurt cups (which can be recycled or saved to use again).
I use tomato cages to contain the growing plants. I also stake the cages in place so that they are sturdier. After digging a hole in the soil, I add some organic tomato plant fertilizer. If you break a tomato plant by accident, don't panic. Set the plant in the soil and bury it a bit deeper than normal. The stalk will most likely root and keep growing. Tomato plants love water, so keep them well hydrated.
To keep cut works away from the new plants, I place a "collar" around the plant. Cut works will wrap themselves around new growth and chew right through it. The best solution for plant collars that I've found is to buy large plastic drinking cups. Cut each cup in half for two collars. Coax the leaves through the open ends of the cup, and insert the plastic cup a bit into the ground.
As the tomato plants become larger, make sure to tuck the leaves and branches inside the cages to contain them. Matina tomato plants grow large and do well inside tomato cages. I have no trouble with insects or disease when I grow Matinas. True to their claim, the tomatoes ripen all the way around without leaving green shoulders. It always amazes me that these tomatoes are perfectly uniform in size. They are red globes each and every time ... no imperfections and rarely split.
Harvesting & Use
The tomatoes tend to grow in clusters. The potato leaf also makes these fruits easy to see and pick. My neighbors are amazed at the perfect shape and nice red color in these tomatoes. The flavor is delicious, too. Matina tomatoes, though smaller in size, are meaty inside.
These are excellent tomatoes to slice and eat by themselves. They are also great in sandwiches (my favorite being a BLT - Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato). I have also chopped and used Matina tomatoes in salads. At the end of the season, my neighbor asks for all my leftover tomatoes, and she does an enormous cooking of fried tomatoes.
Note: Matina tomatoes are medium size. They are smaller than a traditional tomato. If you like to stuff tomatoes, then you'll want to grow a variety other than this one.
Cook's Garden sells a packet of seed for $2.45. Thompson & Morgan sells a packet of seed for $2.95.
My organic garden will always have a spot for Matina Tomatoes. These tomatoes are as close to perfection that I have seen. They won't win a contest for size, but they sure taste good!
I hope you found this review useful.
Enjoy the day,
Please read my other reviews:
Deluxe Pyramid Composter
Upside-Down Tomato Garden
Perma-Nest Plant Trays
Rubbermaid Big Max Storage Shed
Black & Decker Cordless Battery Mulching Lawnmower
Seeds: French Breakfast Radish, Small Sugar Pumpkin
Cucumber Seed: Marketmore Cucumber, Spacemaster Cucumber
Squash Seed: Zucchini Italiano Largo, Zephyr Squash
Bean Seed: Purple Beans, Soleil Yellow Beans
Copyright 2008 Dawn L. Stewart