Tomato, Old German (Lycopersicon esculentum), packet of 20 seeds, organic

$2.95

Family:  Nightshade (Solanacea)

Indeterminate annual, 70 to 90 days to fruits.

(Heirloom multicolor beefsteak) German heirloom brought to the new world in the mid-1800’s by Mennonites of Shenandoah Valley, Virginia.   Stout bushes, stems thick and squat, producing (often) convoluted fruits weighing up to 1.5 lbs apiece.  Consistent with the genre, these tomatoes are very delicate and difficult to get to market without bruising–best used vine to cutting board, a low acid, sweet and handsome slicer. Staked tomatoes form dense clusters, with fruits so firmly attached that a pair of snips comes in handy at harvest.  We started these rather late on May 14th and had buckets of tomatoes by August 15th.  These we enjoyed on sandwiches–very mellow, no acid sting.  If added late to any stir-fry, a few handfuls of pieces of these fresh, thin-skinned tomatoes will cook down quickly (almost instantaneously, actually) to sauce.  Tomato culture is pretty much a part of any gardener’s DNA, but here’s a short rundown.  Start indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Use pure compost for your starting soil, tomatoes are heavy feeders.  Thin to one seedling per pot.  Keep warm and in bright light.  Run your hand over the top of the seedling from time to time, which will flex the stem, in order to strengthen the stem and keep the plant from getting leggy.  Once the ground has truly warmed up, transplant outdoors at 4 foot centers (tomatoes need lots of light to develop fruits).  Use organic compost under the plant at transplant and around the stem. Once the plant gets to a foot or more tall, tie it to a stout stake or put a cage around it to support growth and keep fruit off the ground.  Water infrequently and deeply (watering too often makes for watery, tasteless tomatoes). Allow to ripen on the vine before harvest.

20 seeds per packet, certified organically grown

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