Wednesday, March 11, 2009

TomAto, ToMAto

Pineapple                
Pineapple
Marianna's Peace
Marianna's Peace
Cherokee Purple
Cherokee Purple
Aunt Ruby's German Green
Aunt Ruby's German Green

Green Zebra               
Green Zebra
Rose deBerne
Rose de Berne
Pruden's Purple
Pruden's Purple
Black Krim
Black Krim

I really don't know what I've gotten myself into.  I am now the proud mother of heirloom tomato plants.  Twenty-one tomato plants!  They are all certified organic and I got them for just a buck a piece.  
Brenton, owner of my CSA farm, planted 2700 tomato plants last week and has many, many left over.  He originally planned on selling them at a local farmers market, but has discovered that spring time is far too busy at the farm, to spend the morning at a farmer's market.  He'd make a killing if he could make the time though---he's the only person in the city selling organic seedlings.

I also bought some hybrids from him.  As he tells it, "Heirloom tomatoes are a pain in the backside."  I asked why and he said, "For starters, they die.  They get every disease possible and are VERY particular about their watering schedule."
He's willing to put in the work because they are soooo cool to look at and taste great if you can get a harvest.  Why am I going to try it?  Because they look cool and taste great.  

Mine are just babies right now---in one inch starter trays.  Brenton said to be sure to stake them.  They are indeterminate (grow and produce all summer) and get huge.  I'm thinking maybe my wonderful mother and father in law will be glad to take a couple off my hands???
Don't you just love the names?  Obviously, many were named after people.  I wonder who Aunt Ruby is.  Same with Marianna and Rose and Pruden.  
I'll keep you up on how they do.  We'll see if I can out-do Brenton this summer.  

13 comments:

  1. I think there is one called Lazy Housewife. I always wanted the story behind that one.

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  2. Oh My! How that makes me wish it were summer. I grew the Cherokee purples last year. They were really good, but the harvest was small.

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  3. I LOVE heirloom toms, I always sold them at the market. I hope they produce for you, I remember the price being so high because they are hard to grow! Good Luck Sis! xo

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  4. Those tomatoes look wonderful...so juicy. I hope yours do just as well as those photos. I am loving those names as well.

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  5. If you brush your hand over the leaves while the are small, I hear that they don't grow as large, but put lots of work into the root system. Whether or not that is the case, I dunno. I do it anyway!

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  6. Oh...so fun! You are way ahead of me - I just got 10 heirloom variety trial-size seedpacks. Aunt Ruby's German Green was one of them! I'm going to try really hard not to kill mine!
    It will be fun to see your plants once you've got them planted!

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  7. Wow! So many unique varieties. I can never grow toMAtoes because I am terribly allergic to the vines and leaves. Brushing up against them gives me hives. gah!

    I'm also one of those weirdos who just doesn't appreciate a good raw toMAto. I never eat them on a sandwich or just sliced or in a salad.

    I'll eat them in sauces or salsas, but that's it. I know. I'm weird. I also don't care for cheese. lol!

    ~Lisa

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  8. What unusual names and what beautiful looking tomatoes. Good luck with growing them. I'll be anxious to see how they turn out.

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  9. I forgot one---it's called Taxi.

    Christy, I would think Lazy Housewife would imply that they'd be easy to grow--thus the housewife wouldn't have to work to get them to grow??

    Marcee, that is good news about the Cherokees. Maybe I'll get a couple off that plant??

    Sis, I always thought the price was so high because....well, just because they could say the tomatoes were cooler than perfect, red ones.

    Vonda, The names make me giggle. I Googled the varieties, but got no hint as to how they were named. Some are obvious (Green Zebra).

    Katie, My CSA farmer told me the same thing. He also told me it helps keep the seedling from getting leggy.

    Danni, lets see if we can NOT kill them, together.

    Lisa, what a drag about tomatoes for you! You aren't a weirdo about not liking raw tomatoes. Pearl doesn't like them either. She tries them every summer, just to make sure. Says they're too acid. I've even tried growing the low acid varieties---she just doesn't like them.

    Linda, I'll try to keep up with them. I'm hoping our summer isn't like last summer. We didn't get a lick of rain and these heirlooms are crazy about their watering schedule.

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  10. So, have you figured out yet what "crazy about their watering schedule" means yet? I hadn't even heard this, so I'm already having a slightly nagging feeling about how well I'm going to do on my first attempt at heirlooms...

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  11. Crazy, meaning---watered on a regular basis. Not too much, not too little. They are all VERY prone to splitting if they get too much water. So, if you have to water them one day, and it rains the next---you're dorked.
    I think the learning curve in these tomatoes is pretty sharp. Because they are prone to disease, make sure to water them by hand (close to the base) or heavily mulch them. Splatter from a sprinkler can cause soil borne nasties to splash up on the plant.
    I'm not going to get my panties in a bunch if they don't do well. It's just for fun.

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  12. For sure they are more particular about the watering. And like CeeCee said...if you water and then get rain...youre dorked! ahahahahhaa....but yeah, they split more easily. It doesnt affect the taste when they split, just doesnt make them look very pretty. And if you leave them split out there on the vine it will attract more bugs. So, they take a little more coddling, I think in comparison to hybrids.

    But, have fun with them. Its always neat to try something new.

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  13. Keep us updated on your tomato project. I'm especially intrigued with the pineapple ones. I want to know how much they really taste like pineapple...

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