My 2014 tomato seedlings are up and looking good. I can almost taste the first fresh tomato of the season.
I will be planting some in my Alaska Grow Bucket system inside my greenhouse and some outside in raised beds under a hoop tunnel. Since I don't have unlimited height in my greenhouse, and even more so in my hoop tunnels, I have decided to grow dwarf or short bush type tomatoes and early season - cold tolerant varieties. As most traditional tomatoes don't do well in our cool Alaska summers. We rarely get much over 70 degrees and some cloudy days struggle to reach 60. Under ideal conditions many standard varieties can grow well over 6 feet tall and I just don't have the room.
This year I am once again growing Extreme Bush tomatoes from Victory Seed Company. This tomato was originally developed in the 1950's as a commercial tomato with a tougher skin that could hold up to mechanical harvesting, but does show occasional cracking. My plants last year were loaded with 2"-3" fruit with good tomato flavor. I like the short stout plants that need minimal support and they seem very cold tolerant and hardy, even with minimal care. They did exceptionally well in my Alaska Grow Bucket system in my greenhouse. You can read a thorough description of Extreme Bush Tomato here.
My favorite source for tomato seeds with a complete tomato database full of varietal descriptions is Tatiana's Tomato Base. This site is amazing for all things tomato - and much more. I am growing two Russian varieties that I found there. They are cold tolerant, early season, and dwarf size plants. One is Alpatieva 905A and the other is Yaponskiy Karlik - just click on the links for a full description of these tomatoes.
I am also growing another variety called Sandpoint that was named after an Alaska village on one of the Aleutian Islands known for its cool blustery weather. We shall see if it lives up to it's namesake.
I am also a big fan of the Dwarf Tomato Project that was founded in 2004. This is a group of dedicated tomato enthusiasts devoted to the introduction and propagation of new dwarf tomato varieties. Growing tomatoes in Alaska is a challenge - but can be fun. Finding just the right varieties for my micro climate and growing conditions is something I enjoy. Follow along through out the season and see how these varieties do in my Wasilla garden.