Garden Critique: Black Prince Tomatoes
As a wannabe homesteader, I started early this year planning my summer garden. In March, I visited a big box store to inspect the new arrivals for possible additions to my vegetable garden. I came upon a tomato with the name Black Prince; the description stated it was a tomato with dark skin and rich flavor. I was intrigued by the thought of a black tomato so I purchased it and immediately planted it in a raised bed. Although it was early in the growing season, I felt confident enough the plant would be able to survive any possibility of frost.
I conducted online research for the Black Prince to find any specific requirements the plant might have. I discovered it originated in Siberia and thrived in cooler climates. Well, I would not consider the weather in our fine state of Georgia to be in the category of a cooler climate. As I have found out before, big box retailers do not give much thought to zone specific plants when they stock their isles. But, I felt I was up for the challenge of growing a tomato from Siberia in a subtropical climate.
The Black Prince grew rapidly with healthy, green growth. The blooms were prolific and started producing fruit within a few weeks of planting. I estimate 98% of the blooms produced pollinated fruit; an incredible percentage, in my opinion. The tomatoes are not large slicers but ripen quickly on the vine.
Personally, I did not like the high gel content of this tomato for use on sandwiches. But, the Black Prince does make remarkably delicious sauce and stewed tomatoes. I mixed it with other varieties to freeze and can tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, and spaghetti sauce.
The plant continued to produce until the temperatures climbed into the 90s in late May. This has been a summer of record breaking temperatures in Georgia. In June, several days lingered between 106 and 114; any plant would struggle in such extreme conditions. This particular plant did not survive the 114 day, and I can’t say I blame it. It was scorched beyond repair. After all, it was created in Siberia, not the Sahara.
Although I enjoyed the early harvest of the striking black tomato, I don’t think I will be trying this particular variety in my garden again. I would like to try the next year. It has been thoroughly tested in the South and has been proven to thrive in extreme heat. I feel certain the Black Prince would be a fabulous addition to any northern garden where it would thrive. So, in that case I would recommend this tomato for cooler climates but not south of the Cherokee Purple Mason-Dixon Line.
Will you try growing Black Prince Tomatoes?
About the Author
Catherine Dean is a freelance writer, gardener, quilter, and blogger. Her professional background includes nonprofit program development, grant writing, and volunteer management. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications from Georgia College & State University.
Her blog, Sowing A Simple Harvest, chronicles a modern couple trying to live a simplistic, sustainable life. To explore Catherine's professional credentials, visit her website. She can also be followed on Google+.