Its tomato seed planting time and I spent an hour this morning washing trays and cell packs to get ready for seed planting. I like to be sure my planting pots are nice and clean especially with my tomatoes. Some seeds I am not as fussy with but tomatoes are so prone to fungal diseases. I like to lean on the side of caution and do it right. I add a bit of bleach to a large sink of hot water in the laundry room and give the pots and trays a scrub with a brush. The next step is to fill them with soil, not any ordinary soil but a seed starting mix. Seed starting mixes are light enough to allow seeds to emerge when germinating. Heavy soils like garden soil or top soil just don’t work. You don’t want to use garden soil as it may bring unwanted pests and disease with it.
Once I have filled my trays with seed starting mix I give the soil some water to make it moist. That way I can now plant the seeds, add a light dressing of soil over top and I am done. So let’s get started. I grow up to 500 tomatoes each year. They are not all for me as I sell them in May and keep about 20 for myself. If you are growing a few of each for your own use, you would plant just a few seeds in each pot. Because I am growing a larger quantity, I actually plant a whole package of tomato seeds in one four-inch pot. I know, its crazy right? I learned this technique from a master at propagation. Once all the tomatoes have germinated I transplant each plant into its own four inch pot to grow on. Tomatoes are fast growers. There was a time when I would transplant from a cell pack to a 2″ pot and then again to a 4″ pot. I sell most of my plants at the 4″ pot size. The plants I keep for myself go into pots from 5 gallon size or larger. Most of the tomato plants I grow for myself are being grown for their seed. I grow and harvest seed for the Populuxe seed bank in Edmonton. I will also be growing out some of my tomato seed from last year to see if it comes true. By true I mean that I need to be sure it’s actually the same as the parent plant. Sometimes cross-pollination occurs and I may get a new tomato that’s very different. Mind you it may be a new tomato that no one has ever seen. Could it be possible that I create a tomato variety of my own? You never know. That’s how many of our tomato varieties came about in the old days.
Without further ado lets look at my list of tomatoes for this year.
Mortgage Lifter- for seed only. The person who invented this tomato paid off his mortgage with sales from it, hence the name.
Fargo Yellow Pear- An improved yellow pear tomato although I couldn’t tell the difference from Yellow Pear. Extremely rare seed
Snow White Cherry-An off white to cream cherry tomato that makes any salad look great.
Silvery fir Tree-This 18″ high tomato bears medium-sized red fruit with amazing flavour.
Stupice-A very cold hardy tomato with red fruit which is great for a short season climate.
Black cherry-1″ dark purple to black cherry tomatoes. 65-75 days from transplant. Vigorous plants with fruit held in clusters. Indeterminate.
Ivory pear-Ivory coloured pear-shaped fruit, indeterminate plant.70 Days from transplant
Yellow Brandywine- large beefsteak.
Sungold- Year after year this tomato is the top cherry on the market so I have to try it although it’s a hybrid.
Pole Pineapple- Yellow orange tomato with red streaks.
Yellow Pear-This tomato dates back to the 1800’s. Easy to grow and good producer of pear shaped yellow fruit.
Wapsipinicon Peach- One inch yellow tomatoes that are very sweet. A must have for my garden every year.
Black from Tula-10-12 ounce dark reddish black fruit with green shoulders and rich taste.
Marvel Striped-Seed only. Large pleated yellow fruit with red stripes. Heat and drought tolerant.
Giant Belgium-Seed only-2-5lb pink tomatoes which will need staking as they grow quite large. Very low acid tomato
Little Lucky-Seed only-83 days, 4-6 ounce orange fruit with a red blush. Large vine that needs staking.
Rosado de tervel-Seed only
Negrillo de Almoguera- Seed only, large beefsteak from Spain
Early Annie-Early season tomato, excellent for canning, slicing or salads, good producer. 65-70 days from transplant.
Sophies Choice-Early maturing tomato, compact, determinate and productive tomato. Good for small gardens.
Matina- Red potato leafed tomato with 55 days from transplant to fruit. Early producer.
Giant Tree-For seed only. Wondering how I will contain this plant that can grow to 18 feet high. Yikes! Envisioning myself trapped by tomato vines in the greenhouse.
Ananas Noire- Seed only. The name means black pineapple. Green and purple fruit with green flesh and red streaks running inside. Does not keep well so must be eaten quickly. Good producer with great flavour. 75 days from transplant.
Calabacito Rojo- This tomato originated in 1795. Bushy determinate plants with small slightly flattened red fruit.
Peacevine- Best cherry tomato ever, sweet and high producer.
Cherokee Purple- Great flavour and nice dark striped tomato. This tomato was originally grown by the Cherokee Indians and is more than 100 years old.
Gospodar-Red tomato that I received seeds from when participating in the CSA Tomatosphere project many years ago. Looks like seeds are hard to find so I will be growing this one for seed this year. Red 4-5 ounce fruit used for canning and fresh, late season tomato.
Branscomb’s Orange-4-6 ounce deep orange fruit, lovely flavour.
Orange Strawberry- I grew this last year for the seed bank and its an orange strawberry shaped tomato with a point at the bottom. Lovely taste but few seeds.
Morado del rincon- One of my favourite beefsteak tomatoes. Slight scar along bottom but the taste makes up for any imperfections.
If you are looking for tomato plants, my plant sale will be on May 2, 2015.