What keeps gardening fresh and fun for me is to grow at least one or two different varieties of vegetables each year. My pet project this year is the Solar Flare tomato that was developed by Wild Boar Farms in California. I found it while perusing my Totally Tomatoes seed catalog in the dead of last winter and was intrigued by its color and the promise of tastiness as well as hardiness. In the past, I’ve avoided heirlooms because I fight disease issues each year and feel that a hybrid would stand up to them better. The Solar Flare tomato was said to have good scab resistance, so I thought it would be fun to try.
I started the Solar Flares from seed like I did with my standby Celebrity and Abe Lincoln Hybrid varieties. My seed starting system is nothing fancy, it’s the set-the-tray-in-the-bedroom window-method. The plants popped right up, no problem and acclimated to the garden very well. However, vicious windstorms struck us many times from May through July and all of our tomato vines were beaten nearly to death. Our temperatures and moisture have also fluctuated a great deal throughout this summer. We missed nice, soaking rains that our neighbors 10 miles south of us received. Most of August has been unusually cool and very dry—until this past week. All in all it’s been strange summer weather-wise and not ideal for growing tomatoes.
Despite the adversity, the Solar Flares have performed magnificently. They have a beautiful, red with yellow striped skin and are full of juicy flavor. In fact, their taste reminds me of the wonderful tomatoes of my childhood. The tomatoes are not perfectly uniform in size or shape, but I blame much of that on the growing conditions they have weathered.
I love these tomatoes and next year plan to try additional varieties in the Wild Boar Series. I’d love to hear how your tomatoes are faring this year and if you have some favorites to recommend.