Tomato – Brads Atomic Grape

If you visit the Bakers Creek website you will understand why I chose to grow this tomato last year. First developed by Wildboar farms in 2017, where it gained best in show from the Heirloom Tomato Expo ,this is potentially an heirloom variety of the future. My photographs don’t really do the colours justice, starting off a lime green purple and gradually ripening to an olive and red, possibly with a little purple still. An amazing coloured tomato but was it going to be all show and no flavour?

My first tastings were a little disappointing. However once fully ripened (which can be a little hard to judge at first) I was really impressed. Sweet but not too sweet and with an unusual, almost smoky flavour, this really is a cracking tomato.

If I have one criticism it is that is it very hard to buy seeds in the UK. There are some European suppliers but because of Brexit they will no longer supply to the UK. Therefore you may have to import from the USA. Bakers creek have previously shipped to me to the UK but you will need to check current laws for the amount of seeds you can import without a licence and any additional VAT or customs charges. In 2021 the maximum you can bring in without a certificate is 5 packets of seeds and do not have to pay customs if under £135. You may have to pay VAT, currently gifts of under £39 are exempt but if you are not giving them as a gift you should pay VAT.

Hopefully soon some UK suppliers will catch on to this great tomato variety.

Tomato Brads Atomic Grape ©LucySaunders2020

In the Kitchen

Brads atomic grape is for eating raw. It is a little larger than a cherry so best in salsas or sliced in salads.

Yield and Plant Health

I grew this both in the poly tunnel and outside. The poly tunnel was more successful in getting fruit to ripen before blight hit but I did get fruit outside and there is no reason that you couldn’t get good success growing outside against a sunny wall. Brads atomic grape is not blight resistant. I didn’t notice any problems with blossom end rot or greenback. It is a cordon variety and will need staking.

Tomato Brads Atomic Grape ©LucySaunders2020

Suppliers

Vital Seeds (UK)

Wildboar farms (USA)

Bakers Creek Seeds (USA)

Tomato Brads Atomic Grape ©LucySaunders2020

Growing:

Sow tomato seeds from January (for heated greenhouse/conservatory tomatoes), March for unheated greenhouse/poly tunnel to April (outdoor tomatoes) and keep at a temperature of 18 a 20 degrees c. Germination should take 7 to 14 days.

I sow 6 seeds in a small seed tray, making sure there is at least an inch between  seeds. I then cover with half a centimetre of vermiculite, water and place in a heated propagator in a location that receives plenty of light.

Once your tomatoes sprout the challenge is to give them sufficient light to stop them getting leggy. A sunny window ledge in a cool room, a heated conservatory or greenhouse kept above 12 degrees c are ideal. You will need to turn tomatoes grown on a window ledge often as they will grow towards the light. You can also use LED grow lights to supplement the light they get. Gently blowing the leaves daily may also encourage them to be more stocky.

When the seedlings are large enough to handle (2-4 leaves), transplant into individual 3 inch pots. Pot on as required.  Plant out, 2-3 ft apart after all risk of frost has passed.

Cordon tomato plants require support from about  4 inches. They will then need further tying in as the plant grows. Pinch out the side shoots that grow between the stem and the leaves before they reach 2cm long. Take the tops off outdoor tomatoes after two trusses have set fruit. In unheated greenhouses after 4 trusses and in heated green houses, stop in September to allow remaining fruit to ripen.

When tomatoes are young keep the soil moist but not damp. Water from the base to reduce humid you around the leaves which encourages blight.  As they start to fruit you will need to keep them consistently watered, daily if necessary to prevent fruit putting sudden spurts of growth on and splitting. Remove the lower foliage as it yellows. This encourages air flow around the plant and allows more light to get to the fruit for ripening. The more light the sweeter the tomato.

Tomato Brads Atomic Grape ©LucySaunders2020

Alternatives

Sweet Aperitif

Sungold F1

Green Zebra

Ildi

Dancing with Smurfs

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