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Grow Heirloom Tomatoes for an Interesting Change

Posted Jul 03 2008 5:10pm

Well I finally set my heirloom tomato seedlings out into the garden. It’s a bit later than usual, but with the weather being as cool as it has been this shouldn’t amount to much of a setback for them.

Marc over at the Garden Desk announced hisstarting tomato lineupway back in February, and Hanna of This Garden is Illegal just recently reported on themysterious tomatoesmaking their way into her garden, so here’s my opportunity to share the tomato varieties that I will hopefully be harvesting this summer.

Every year I toy around with the idea of scaling back on the number of tomato varieties that I grow in the garden. Not because I don’t like tomatoes, but rather because there are so many other heirloom veggies and fruits competing over the limited space in the raised beds. No matter, I always seem to wind up with more tomato plants than anticipated.

It’s So Difficult to Turn Down a Good Tomato

Despite my intentions, this growing season finds me once again struggling to fit over a dozen tomato plants into the garden. This time around the losers are thefingerling potatoeswhich were scratched from this season’s rotation. The spuds aren’t going down without a fight though, as several volunteer plants have appeared from tubers that were missed during last summers harvest.

I would never admit to a bit of envy towards gardeners like Hanna and Marc who find a way to grow and trial dozens of different heirloom tomato varieties each and every year. Surprisingly there is only one tomato variety (Black Krim) that is duplicated from their gardens to mine. That will give you a hint at just how many heirloom tomatoes are out there for you to try.

Veggie Gardening Tips 2008 Heirloom Tomato Listing

Well here’s the list of the unique heirloom tomatoes that you will find growing if you drop in on my organic garden this summer:

  • Black Krim– One of my favorites, I never go a season without planting at least one seedling of this small fruited, dark-colored tomato with a rich, juicy, and delicious flavor.
  • Green Tomatillo– I’ve struggled to grow a harvest of these husk type tomatoes in the past, but I’m really anxious for a successful harvest so that I can enjoy a taste of authentic home made salsa this summer.
  • Dutchman– Purple-pink colored tomatoes that can reach up to three pounds in size… so they said when they sold this one, well we’ll just have to see how large they will grow in my garden.
  • Pineapple– A regular and another of my favorite tomatoes that’s so beautiful that you almost hate to eat them… almost! Large fruits infused with streaks of red and gold and a delicious sweet flavor that will really attract attention!
  • Big Rainbow– This large, bi-colored tomato is very similar to the Pineapple heirloom variety in appearance with its eye-catching alternating patterns of red and gold marbling.
  • Camp Joy– This one is a red heirloomcherry tomatothat’s replacing Sungold in the tomato line-up this year. But make no mistake about it, Sungold my all-time favorite cherry tomato (even if it is a hybrid) will return next summer!
  • Tess’s Land Race Currant– An interesting and intensely flavored tomato that’s has the remarkable ability to produce tiny fruits that range in shades from red to rose, or even gold and yellow hues.
  • Thessaloniki– This is a Greek heirloom that I’m growing for the first time. Thess is an early tomato variety that’s reputed to offer excellent flavor, disease resistance, and large yields of medium sized fruits.
  • Cherokee Chocolate– Derived from a purple variety, this tomato is an unusual brownish or chocolate color, unlike most of the dark fruited types that are actually closer to a shade of purple.
  • Box Car Willie– A red, disease resistant heirloom sporting good old-fashioned tomato taste on fruits averaging around 10 ounces. I’m afraid I can’t shed any sordid details regarding how it got its name but I’m sure that they are out there somewhere.
  • Delicious– This is a popular tomato with a famous pedigree, but it’s a variety that I’ve neglected in the past. Not as flashy as the others, but hopefully I’ll reap consistency with this large beefsteak style tomato.
  • Moonglow– Now I know good and well that I didn’t choose a tomato called Moonglow! And where is the Mortgage Lifter seedling that I purchased at the Herb Fair? Well that’s what I get for not paying closer attention when grabbing my tomato plants… I’ll have to report back once I figure out how a tomato could wind up with a name like Moonglow!

It’s not too late to jump on board the heirloom tomato bandwagon. If you didn’t start your ownpampered tomato seedlingsthis spring then it’s time to search the local greenhouse in hopes of finding a heirloom variety or two. Otherwise you can contact theTasteful Gardento see what interesting heirloom tomato choices they may still have in supply.

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