I have tried to grow these many times. I have tried in many different varieties, in many different soil conditions. I've added crushed egg shells to the soil, I've done all kinds of things, but I always get blossom end rot, I don't think I have ever gotten an edible Roma tomato. I have given up on them, which is sad because I hear they make great sauce.
A monster, everything you have heard about "vigor" is true about this variety. Easily will grow 14-16 feet tall (I snake a single vine back and forth on a trellis like a zig-zag, all while aggressively pruning). Pumps out a lot of green/black cherry tomatoes. The kids munch these very fast.
But the pruning, oh the pruning. You really don't want to let these go for more than a few days. One year we left in the middle of the summer, came back, and they had grown over top of the trellis, an additional 3-4 feet while we were gone (about a week, maybe 10 days.) It took quite a few hours to get them trimmed back after that.
Complex, sweety flavor when roasted, which is how I prefer to eat them. I slice them in half, roast them, and then freeze them in a single layer on a sheet pan, pop them off and bag them up to throw into tomato sauces when I want a fresh tomato taste in the middle of winter.
This thing has the stupidest looking, wispiest leaves and stems. And then it grows these giant, monster yellow tomatoes. I tie the stems to any trellis or tomato cage, otherwise it flops all around (and you don't want to let these tomatoes get too close to the ground, critters love them)
Very mild, very smooth, it cooks down into a paste and just disintegrates, works very well as the background note for a sauce (although, I prefer a mix of several tomatoes if making a sauce with this one.) I do not like the taste of raw tomatoes but this is so mild that if you put it on a strongly flavored burger, it just melts into the background and it's almost like it's not even there, taste wise. That's not a criticism, it's not flavorless, it's just mild and wont hit you in the face with a tomato flavor. Like I said, I love these in a sauce with several other tomatoes. I also like to put a nice slice of this tomato in the middle of a grilled cheese sandwich.
It loves to self-seed, I always get a few volunteers anywhere where I grew it the previous year. Ripens on the vine fast, so check it often because it will drop off the vine if you miss a few days. But once you take it off the vine it lasts for at least a week or two, if you haven't gotten one that is over ripe.
Very similar to Stupice (see below) but foliage wise, I disliked how it grew. Hard to explain, but it seemed like it kept putting up suckers and more suckers whenever I would take them off, three would grow back in it's place. Stupice felt more predictable from a pruning standpoint, so I don't think I'll grow this one again.
55 days. Very early, produces fruit about the size of a raquetball. Some folks don't like the taste, or they have inconsistent results with this tomato. For me it's been great, but I'm still working off my original seed pack I got a few years ago, so maybe I just got lucky with the genetic variation.
Potato leaf foliage, not too dense. I trim this down to one vine climbing up a trellis, sometimes two vines. I like to leave the first leaf on each offshoot, if that makes sense. So instead of trimming off the vine entirely, I will trim the vine with one leaf left. I do this to maximize sunlight on the plant and I get pretty nice sweetness and balance of flavor. Sometimes it's too dense and I cut it back to one vine.
Works well transplanted into my cold clay soil in the spring, although naturally it sulks a bit until it warms up in the middle of June. Also does well later in the summer when it's hot. In the middle of the summer, if we go on vacation for a stretch, I don't worry about this tomato too much. (I've heard this is a good variety to plant in the desert.)
Nothing beats a slice of this tomato lightly sauteed in butter. Or a few slices on a burger. It's one of the things I look forward to every year. It keeps for a week or two, but you'll get the absolute best taste within the first 24-48 hours. After that, it's better cooked than eaten fresh, in my opinion.
These plants grow up large, they grow up quick, they put out a big flush of peppers... and then you wait. And you wait. And you wait. And they never change color!
Very, very late to ripen. Fortunately they are at their best when they are still immature. You can pick these when they have just turned the slightest pale yellow (if they have any green, it's probably too early.)
You will be rewarded with an intensely fruity pepper... that slams you in the mouth with the heat. Seriously, this thing is on a delay timer, you don't feel anything for the first few seconds and then BAM it really hits you RIGHT IN THE FACE and don't say I didn't warn you!
Amazing to make a sauce out of. I like to combine these with Bulgarian Carrot, although I have never successfully grown both plants at the same time. Either one set of peppers fails, or the other one does, or the squirrels eat the plants, or the kids "helpfully" pick all my peppers two weeks before they are ripe... sigh.
Anyway, pick it any time after it turns notably yellowish. They'll be yellow-green for so long, you'll be tempted. At the end of the season, just pick off everything that looks like it might even ripen.
When I bought my plants at the Hmong market, the sign on it said "Hot Man". Which is appropriate, because it is a spicy pepper, and it looks exactly like an uncircumsized penis. Dried, this pepper has a complex fruity flavor, and it's not too spicy. Haven't really tried it fresh.
Last year it got crowded out by some other plants growing near it, so I only got a few peppers off the four plants I put out. This year, I'll try to put a few of them around in a few different spots, so hopefully that wont be as big of an issue. Mostly I want lots and lots of these to dry because those chili flakes are so nice, just the right amount of heat.
The first year I grew these, they did amazing. Tons of bright red frying peppers, so sweet you could just eat them off the plant. Early enough producer to get lots of peppers here in Minneapolis. VERY good fried, as well.
Every other year I've planted these it has been a disaster, but I don't think it's the pepper's fault. One year we had hail that wiped everything out just before the peppers got ripe. Another year the seedlings failed, so I started another set but it was too late and I only got one or two peppers off the late plants.
It does feel slower to germinate than other peppers, although every year I change up my setup so it could just be me. I've tried other italian style peppers but they never seem to do as well as Tolli's did.