Friday, January 6, 2012

Choosing tomatoes for growing

Friday, January 6, 2012

There are hundreds of tomatoes to choose from.  There are whole catalogues devoted to America’s most raised home vegetable.  There is nothing like a homegrown tomato, fresh off the vine!

I prefer heirloom, organic veggies.  I love the idea of these seeds being handed down from generation to generation with loving care, through good times and bad.  Back in the day, every vegetable was precious.  You should save the seeds from your very best tasting, performing plant with the biggest fruits.  It was a sacrifice to take the biggest, juiciest fruit for its seeds.  Seeds were like gold back then.
Family lore has it that my great grandfather killed a man in self defense when one of my great uncles stole some seeds the neighbor had ordered.  The neighbor came with a gun and confronted my great grandfather for the theft of his seeds.  The family had to leave the state, worried that the law would come after him.  At least, that is a story I heard told.........
This year I have told myself I am going to stick with 3 tomato plants.  2 for canning and salads and one for slicing tomatoes.  
You may be surprised with my canning tomatoes choices.  I get great yields with Juliet (a hybrid, 1999 All American) and Yellow Pear (a heirloom from pre-1800).  Both are indeterminate, meaning they produce from summer through frost.  The Juliet is a mini Roma, great taste, very prolific.  I have read that they are great for drying as well.  I am going to try sun drying them this fall (using my electric dehydrator, too humid in the Midwest to “sun dry’).
The slicer-has to be the heirloom Brandywine, dates back to 1885.  It continues to win taste tests to this day.  I tried a grafted tomato last year from Territorial Seed Co.  I think that is the route I will go again this year.  A graft is an age-old technique of taking a strong root stock and grafting a tasty plant on to it.
Between these 3 tomatoes, we should have enough for eating, freezing for salsa, and canning that will last us until the next year.  

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