Burke’s Backyard

“Early and Flavoursome”

Some time in the late nineties, legendary TV gardening celebrity Don Burke did a special program on Italy. He then bought some tomato seeds back to Australia. One of them (Costa Luta De Marmande) won a tomato taste test, and from then on, was referred to as the Burke’s Backyard tomato. It went on to become one of the biggest selling home garden tomatoes ever sold in this country. I call it the emotional tomato, because people were either very happy, or very unhappy with its performance. Some of the early plants did have a problem of setting a big flowerhead on the top of the plant at a very young age. If you didn’t cut this off, the plant remained stunted. This may have been due to seed quality, which should not be collected from these suspect plants. This has since been resolved from better plant selection, and it is still one of the biggest selling tomatoes today. A rich meaty flavoured tomato, it is an Adelaide type, with ribbed fruit. It also fruits early, and if planted a bit later, is also a good fruiter running into late Autumn.

What a pity we have lost Don Burke off the TV. I really appreciated his honesty. You know he never asked for freebies – always bought suppliers products so there was never a compromise on his opinion.