Oh Happy Day…the Tomato, Not The Song

Sep 2, 2017 | Love This!

Name: Oh Happy Day Hybrid Tomato from Burpee

Type of Plant: A “junior beefstake” type tomato. Indeterminate, 4-5 oz fruit (in other words, medium size – perfect for two sandwiches etc.) Good flavor and heavy production.

Why I love this: As those who grow tomatoes in the Northeast know, we dance with early blight fungus every year. There are strategies that allow us to still harvest fruit but in most seasons by early September the bottom half of the plant is bare and the yellow foliage is creeping up toward the ripening tomatoes on top. Sound familiar?

Until this year the most early blight resistant plant I’ve grown has been Mountain Magic. But now, thanks to Burpee, who sent me two plants this year, I have a new tomato on my “must grow” list. Oh Happy Day has been super productive for me, and this in a “not great tomato season” because of cool temperatures.

As I write this on September 1st my Oh Happy Day plants are only starting to show signs of blight – long after other favorites such as Sungold are beginning to fail despite our regular spraying with Serenade.

Their flavor is well balanced and tasty. They are a good size for eating fresh and for peeling for canning or freezing. And they are uniform with very little “yellow shoulders” on top.

A Word to the Wise: The worst thing about this tomato? The name. You’ll have the song, Oh Happy Day, stuck in your head. This 1967 gospel arrangement by the Edwin Hawkins Singers was a hit tune in the late’60s and has been given new life as an earworm (in my mind anyway) because of this tomato.

Dear Burpee, I don’t know whether to kiss you or slap you. 😉

The first thing that caught my attention in late August was the fact that the green foliage was still pretty clean to the bottom of the plant. Since Early Blight moves from the bottom up, the most susceptible plants show yellowing leaves at the base beginning in late July. Not Oh Happy Day.

The next thing that captured my heart is the size and prolific production of fruit. Hmmmm…this tomato might just be my new best friend. It’s the perfect “slice one for a salad for a single person or sandwich for two, or slice two for dinner for two people” kind of tomato. 

As a contrast, here is a shot of my dearly loved Sungold tomato. Sweet, prolific and a must-have in my garden, but by early September half of the leaves are gone due to early blight even though we spray with an organic fungicide regularly. It’s just how the dance goes, right? But not if Oh Happy Day, and Mountain Magic are your dancing partners…

Uniform fruit, minimal yellow shouldering, and good flavor. OMG, another song has entered my mind…”Who could ask for anything more? Who could ask for anything more.”

2 Comments

  1. Alan Phillips

    Has anyone grown them on allotment sites that, like the Weald in Hove, are invariably plagued by blight from early August?

    I find that the small berry and cherry tomatoes are less susceptible to blight alongside some normal size F! varieties like Ferline.
    Its good news if there is now a beefsteak variety too.

    Reply
    • CL Fornari

      Alan
      We dance with early blight ourselves. Oh Happy Day was pretty resistant and we have found that the most resistant is Mountain Magic, although these are about the size of a golf ball. We also spray with one of the bacterial-based, organic fungicides regularly to slow the blight down…here in the US the brands are Actinovate, Serenade, and Revitalize. By spraying every ten days to two weeks we can keep the blight at bay until into September, allowing for a full season of tomato harvest.

      Reply

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