Tomato Mystery-Part Two: a surprise Gardening Oops

If you’ve started vegetables from seed, then wondered, “where in the world did that come from,” you will identify with this gardening oops, or GOOPs, tale. On the first of each month I share one of the gardening oops I’ve made or dealt with during my decades of gardening in Connecticut hoping to either prevent other gardeners from making similar blunders, or at least offer some GOOPs solace for those with similar tales. My GOOPs tale this month is not one I made, but one of a cherry tomato surprise.

I have limited vegetable gardening space, thanks to voles that totally undermined my former vegetable beds. Until construction of new raised beds is completed (a project that’s taking longer than I hoped) I grow tomatoes in large pots. I order seed after carefully reading and analyzing multiple seed catalogues and choosing the exact varieties I’d like to grow. My favored cherry tomato is Sweet Million; one plant provides ample red cherry tomatoes with a wonderfully sweet flavor. Still, I like to try different cherry tomato varieties.

This year I decided to try Red Currant, an heirloom tomato described as producing hundreds of tiny, tasty fruit on three-foot tall vines that can thrive in leaner soil. This sounded like a potentially doable potted tomato. Because of space issues I only planted three cherry tomato plants – one Sweet Million and two Red Currants.

The Sweet Million has performed as expected … lots of wonderfully sweet cherry tomatoes.

Sweet Million 2 8 24 12 Thumb


The two Red Currant plants are also producing lots of tiny cherry tomatoes but …

Red Currant 1 8 24 12 Thumb

just one plant produces red fruit.

Yellow Cherry Tomato Not Ordered 2 Thumb

The other plant, from the same packet of seeds, produces yellow fruit.

Normally I happily accept such surprises but the fruit from these two plants has been less than memorable. If these are, in fact, Red Currant tomatoes and the yellow one is just a fluke, then I now know what the word ‘tart’ means when describing tomato flavor. If I were to buy these tomatoes at a farm stand, I would not do so again. Likewise, I will not grow Red Currants again in my garden.

The tiny fruit is cute but I don’t find the tart flavor pleasing and the red-fruited plant produces more cracked than non-cracked fruit.

Red Currant Tomato Cracked Thumb

By contrast, the yellow-fruited ‘supposed’ Red Currant produces few cracked fruit, but the flavor is less than sweet.

My cherry tomato surprise is just part of this season’s tomato mystery, but it’s a reminder that sometimes gardening oops are blunders of our making but events thrust upon us. We can learn from every gardening experience, and it’s especially good to share so we can learn from each other.

Do you have a GOOPs of your own to share, either tomato-related or not? Tell your tale in a comment below or on your blog, leaving  a link below so I can find you.

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4 comments for “Tomato Mystery-Part Two: a surprise Gardening Oops

  1. September 2, 2012 at 6:35 am

    You have to wonder if it was poor seed collecting methods at the company that sold them, or was it nature’s variability, or some kind of mutation! Or just bad advertising? It’s fun to experiment, but disappointments can be the price sometimes.

    • September 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      One thing is for sure, Laurrie, gardening is always an interesting experiment and experience.

  2. September 3, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Joene, I’m a couple of days late, but I’ve just posted by own Gardening Oops and linked here. Here is the link to my post:

    • September 4, 2012 at 7:45 am

      Jean, thanks so much for sharing your GOOPs. You experience provides a great example for others on what not to do … or to do … depending on whether you don’t or do want more forsythia.

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