Organic Tomato Plants Organic Tomato Seedlings

 
 

Annuals, like tomatoes, are an odd lot. They don't like stress (who does?. As seedlings they often rot at the base of the stem (damp off) in response to less than desirable germination temperatures. As early transplants into a cold garden, they can go into a kind of hibernation that can be difficult to wake up from.  As late transplants, they may have gotten so used to their containers that they don't want to make a new home in new surroundings, which can make them act like dwarf varieties instead of the monsters most of them are. Sometimes older containerized plants have developed a tap root that can be easily damaged when removed from the pot. Sometimes the roots are twisted around in the container so badly that they never have a chance to become the deep tap root needed for proper growth. After all, tomatoes can develop a tap root that is five feet long---that means five feet straight down into the soil (how is your soil?). When the tap root is damaged, the tomato tends to depend more on smaller fibrous roots which give less support and can result in a poor quality plant and fruit. Soil should be well drained with plenty of organic matter.

Tomatoes are fussy about their water, too. Not only can their tap root go down five feet, but their fibrous roots can spread out just as far. Any water stress can cause numerous maladies. One of those, blossom end rot,  is thought to be a lack of calcium carried into the fruit when it is just beginning to form. The calcium is carried by water. Now since growth in annuals is rapid, what may seem like just a day without water to you may be like decades to the tomato. This small dry spell can spell ugly, unusable fruit.

Not usually bothered by too many pests, tomatoes do have one foe that can take down a whole plant if not stopped. That formidable insect is a Tomato Hornworm Moth. This huge moth can get up to 5 inches across but, since it flies at night, we normally see it in the caterpillar stage on a tomato plant. The first sign that this creature has chosen your plants is the disappearance of leaves off the rib. There will also be tiny black "logs" on the rest of the plant. These were your tomato leaves at one time. Since the moth is so large we find it works well to use a cage with openings about four inches. We like concrete reinforcing wire for ours. Make them very tall and very wide, about three feet in diameter,  because each bit that pokes through is a way for the caterpillar to get into the cage. Hand picking and destroy is effective also if you are consistent about monitoring your plants. As a last resort, you can also use our Caterpillar Killer.

 

Tubes of Water and Red Mulch help to get an early start.

Tomatoes have to have warm weather and warm soil to grow in. Tomato  transplants should go into the garden in spring as soon as the night time temperatures are around 55 and there is no more danger of frost. A cold soggy soil will slow growth and possibly kill a young tomato plant.

 In cold spring areas, mulches can help warm up the ground and give the tomato seedlings a boost. Our Red Mulch has been shown to be very effective in increasing the yield of tomatoes, not only in the north, but throughout the United States. Plastic cones filled with water (Season Starters) also boost the temperature and really help in early spring to get the plants off quickly.

Take advantage of our buy 5 of any one variety and get the 6th variety free. Order below.

Ripe Cherokee Purple Tomato

 

 

Cherokee Purple may be the best tomato that you will ever eat. An heirloom (a plant over 100 years old), Cherokee Purple is a large sprawling vine that grows to about 6 feet. It is labeled as an indeterminate variety which means it can grow and grow and grow and reports of 9 feet are not unusual. Smokey colored fruits can weigh up to a pound. Slicing reveals a pink and burgundy inside.

 

Cherokee Purple Tomato

$3.45 per 3 inch pot

Quantity

 

Cherokee Purple 6 Pack

$17.25 per 6-3 inch pots

Quantity

 
Basket full of Green Zebras.

Green Zebra Tomatoes are really cool because not only are they green when ripe but also because when you slice into them, green and yellow striations paint the flesh. Slice it, stuff it. put it in a salad. Its firm texture makes it nice in a relish too. Indeterminate.

Green Zebra Tomato

$3.45 per 3 inch pot

Quantity

 

Green Zebra 6 Pack

$17.25 per 6-3 inch pots

Quantity

 
Roma Tomatoes ready for sauce!

 

 

The question is not whether or not to grow Roma Tomatoes; it is how many do you grow? Roma Tomatoes are dry tomatoes so they make great sauce. Who wants watery sauce? Because they are less juicy than other tomatoes they also dry faster. And because they are meatier they also make great slicing tomatoes. They won't cover your whopper burger, but they do go well with a slice of mozzarella and a basil leaf! The VFN means this tomato is resistant to Verticillium, Fusarium and Nematode; a very good thing indeed! Roma tomatoes are determinate which means they top out at a certain height and stop growing up. Ours get about five feet tall. Since they are a bit shorter than indeterminate varieties we find them a bit more suited for container growing.

Roma VFN Tomato

$3.45 per 3 inch pot

Quantity

 

Roma VFN 6 Pack

$17.25 per 6-3 inch pots

Quantity

 
Rutgers Tomatoes whole and sliced

 

 

In 2034, the Rutgers Tomato will be an heirloom tomato. Developed in New Jersey in 1934, Rutgers was a break through for growers and canners. A large meaty fruit that is on the dry side means it can be used as a slicer and a saucer. Rutgers is nice because it produces a lot of foliage which helps protect the fruit from sunscald (those annoying little bleached spots on your nice big red orbs). Fruits weigh about a half pound and are really quite yummy. Indeterminate and Fusarium wilt resistant. Fusarium wilt is a nasty soil borne fungus that makes tomato plants suffer and  die.

Rutgers Tomato

$3.45 per 3 inch pot

Quantity

 

Rutgers 6 Pack

$17.25 per 6-3 inch pots

Quantity

 
Supersteak sliced. Wow!

 

 

 

What a whopper of a tomato! Red and juicy and sweet, Beefmaster VFN is a giant beefsteak tomato. Great flavor and lots of juice to run down your chin while you eat your burger. Nothing says summer like homegrown tomatoes. These are large vining plants (indeterminate) and definitely need a cage or fence to grow up. Water and fertilize well so the fruits can reach their one pound or greater estimates. Be sure to leave them on the vine until they are nice and red and give just a bit to the gentle pressure of your thumb.

Beefmaster VFN Tomato

$3.45 per 3 inch pot

Quantity

 

Beefmaster VFN 6 Pack

$17.25 per 6-3 inch pots

Quantity

 
Lots of Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes.

 

 

 

We grow other cherry tomatoes hoping to find a better one than Sweet 100, but alas no luck. These tomatoes are the perfect size to pop in your mouth. They are so sweet that even folks who don't care for tomatoes will enjoy a few of these delicacies. Because this is an indeterminate vine (cages helpful) one plant makes buckets of tomatoes. Like all tomatoes they are best if left to fully ripen on the vine. However, if you pick them when they just start to turn color, you can continue to ripen them on the kitchen counter. Please never put a tomato in the refrigerator, unless you like tasteless tomatoes. Like a good cheese, tomatoes are most flavorful at room temperature. However, you can freeze them. And, with this tomato even one plant should give you plenty to sock away. 

Sweet 100 Tomato

$3.45 per 3 inch pot

Quantity

 

Sweet 100 6 Pack

$17.25 per 6-3 inch pots

Quantity

 
Yellow Pear Tomatoes: a better idea!

 

 

 

You can hold one of these light bulb shaped tomatoes over your head but you won't get a better idea for a yellow cherry? tomato. At about two inches long, Yellow Pear Tomatoes are a bit big for straight mouth popping so we cut ours in half before we add them to the salad. Try frying cut halves in olive oil for about 10 minutes and adding a bit of fresh basil for an impromptu yellow tomato sauce. Yum. Indeterminate.

Yellow Pear Tomato

$3.45 per 3 inch pot

Quantity

 

Yellow Pear 6 Pack

$17.25 per 6-3 inch pots

Quantity

 

Patio F1 Hybrid tomatoes may be the most widely grown patio tomato in America. The plants get about two feet and need between 10 and 15 gallons of soil and because the tomatoes get heavy they do benefit from a bit of support like our link-ups system. Unlike some varieties of container tomatoes that produce teeny tiny tomatoes, Patio F1 tomatoes are large enough to slice for a sandwich. This hard working plant produces lots of tomatoes that typically weigh between four and five ounces, are a deep red and very yummy! Determinate.

 

Patio F1 Tomato

$3.45 per 3 inch pot

Quantity

 

Patio F1 6 Pack

$17.25 per 6-3 inch pots

Quantity

 
 

FUN TOMATO FACTS

 
 

Did you know that as late as 1900, tomatoes were still thought to be poisonous?

That in the 16th century, tomatoes were yellow and in Italy were called "pomi d'oro" or golden apple?

That George Washington Carver tried repeatedly to convince people the tomato was OK to eat? Maybe he knew about Lycopene?

That the tomato green on your hands and the air of tomato smell come from the hairs on the stems and the leaves?

That the two most popular veggies in this country, the potato and the tomato both come from the same family, Solanaceae?

That there are two ways tomatoes grow? Determinate (to a certain size and generally fruiting all at once) and Indeterminate (grows up the garage and into the bedroom and fruits until frost).

That they can be frozen whole and thawed for a delicious tomato sauce. To freeze, wash and lay out on a cookie sheet until dry. We usually lay paper towels under them and then change the towels mid-day. By the end of the day they are dry and we just pop them whole into a ziplock bag and freeze.

  Cultural Information

Height: 5 feet or more 

Hardiness: Warm Weather Annual

Time to Harvest: 8 to 10 weeks

Characteristics: Full Sun,
Frequent watering

Used: Raw, Grilled, Roasted
or Cooked with other foods

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