This is a song in praise of the Patio Choice Yellow Tomato. Should you have time to read only one additional sentence today, make it this one —> Patio Choice Yellow is compact, apparently vaccinated against all known tomato maladies, and capable of producing fabulously uniform and tasty yellow orbs of goodness from mid-July to frost in my Zone 6 garden.
Just the Facts
- Grows to about four feet in height, putting it over the top of a standard tomato cage, which has been all the hardware I’ve needed to corral this variety. (Suppliers claim this variety tops out at eighteen inches. Two years of growing, using seeds from a variety of sources, suggests three to four feet in height is what should be expected.)
- Remarkably disease resistant. Appears to be particularly resistant to Septoria Leaf Spot. I had one leaf on one plant show some early blight last summer, but that’s been it.
- Produces bucketfuls of uniform, bright gold orbs from mid-July to frost (Zone 6). Most tomatoes I’ve picked are an inch to an inch and a quarter in diameter and perfectly round to only slightly flattened.
- Is short in stature but doesn’t act like a determinate type in that production continues throughout the season, rather than being compressed into just a few weeks of picking.
- Taste is nicely balanced with more acid than you’d expect from a yellow tomato. The walls are thick, as is the skin, which is not prone to cracking.
- Make for beautiful salads and are nice as a market offering due to their uniform size and shape. The flavor also holds up well to roasting.
- Easy to start from seed. I’ve had excellent germination, regardless of seed source, and the seedlings tend toward stocky, not spindly. The seedlings are quite easy to handle when potting up, so this is a nice variety to start in an open flat.
- Was a 2017 All America Selections winner that needs more love.
- Seeds have been somewhat difficult to find, but Botanical Interests is offering them for 2023.
This is my second year growing Patio Choice Yellows. Last year (2021) was a bad, bad year in this area (north-central West Virginia in the western foothills of the Allegheny Range of the Appalachian Mountains) for Septoria Leaf Spot, caused by the fungus Septoria lycopersici. I started an assortment of nearly two dozen tomato varieties in 2021 and, within a week of setting them out, had Septoria spots on most of my seedlings. Several varieties (including Gold Medal and Chef’s Choice Yellow) gave up quickly, refusing to overcome. The varieties that survived the unusually early onslaught of fungus were, due to my removal of affected leaves, very nearly bald by mid-August and done producing fruit before the end of the month. The only varieties to avoid this sad outcome were Patio Choice Yellow, which was completely spot-free!, and Gardener’s Choice Red Cherry (AKA Sugar Lump), which had some spots and lost some leaves, but maintained its vigor and production.
Second Year, Just as Good
This year (2022), I started a few dozen Patio Choice Yellows, sold the majority to special customers, and ended up with three for myself. Two are in pots on my south-facing concrete front stoop, prime real estate for patio tomatoes. Both vines are vigorous and producing scads of tomatoes, while showing no signs of the Septoria affecting a different patio variety planted right next to them. Alas, I accidentally planted the third Patio Yellow in a Black Walnut Brownfield without a hazmat suit!!! The poor thing had grown up and over its three-foot cage before finally sucking enough juglone from the soil to show ill effects, namely the strange wilting of half the plant from soil line to tip. I dug it up, planted it in a 5-gallon nursery pot and hauled it up to the deck. After a few weeks in a shaded location, the plant bounced right back and is not only pumping out tomatoes, but is, as shown here, providing Phoebe a bit of shade.
I hardily recommend Patio Choice Yellow Tomato. I can conjure up not a single qualm to share. Just do realize that your plants will very likely be at least twice as big as advertized, and will require some support. Plant them in the ground or grow them in a pot, they’re fine with either; and, if you’re local to Morgantown, West Virginia, check back next spring when I’m sure to have some seedlings available.