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Growing Heirloom Tomatos

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  What’s an Heirloom?
Modern supermarket “hybrids,” are bred for their long shelf-life, but classic “heirloom” varieties are picked for their superior flavors. There are hundreds of varieties of heirlooms that gardeners around the world have carefully selected and preserved for generations, so you’ll find much more than just red tomatoes
you’ll discover green, yellow, orange, purple, and even black ones (man say these tastes best). Some will be sweet, some spicy and others smokey; they’ll range in size from tiny cherries to giant fruit that weigh over two pounds.
 
   
 
How Do I Pick?
With so many heirloom varieties, nurseries and chain stores are only able to carry a limited selection, so small gardeners have been stuck with just a few options. Recently though, specialty farms have begun shipping sturdy young plants direct to gardeners. Some even offer themed collections made up of popular varieties, so picking which plants to grow is easy. You can find these collections and a huge selection of individual varieties through websites like the online gardening center, Windowbox.com. They offer a range of packs, each with a different theme, including: beefsteak tomatoes container growers, high yeild plants, huge fruit plants, Italian paste & sauce, weather tolerant, cherry tomatoes, and more.
 
  From UPS to BLT
Once you’ve got the right plants for you, it’s just a matter of raising them. Thankfully, heirlooms are hardy (they have to be to have lasted so long), and they’re easy to grow. Most heirlooms are “indeterminate,” which means they grow like a vine, and they’ll produce fruit all season long – until the first frost. “Determinate” plants are more like a bush, and they typically produce all their tomatoes in one batch. Depending on which you’ve selected, they’ll require slightly different care. Basically though, with sun, water, a little fertilizer and pruning, you’ll be enjoying delicious tomatoes all summer long
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Where Do I get Help?
Many tomato growers share their knowledge on the web, and this increased communication has helped the heirloom community expand significantly. Many sites feature growing hints and tips as well as discussion forums. Windowbox.com offers a detailed tomato growing guide (download here) that is a great help throughout the season, and if that’s not enough, their group of online experts shares basic growing tips and answers specific questions.
 
 
 


Growing Heirloom Tomatos




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