Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Heirloom tomatoes have grown in popularity in recent years and have become more readily available as well. There are several reasons for their popularity, but primarily it is because of their historical interest and tastiness.

Why Are They Called Heirloom Tomato Plants?

They are named that way because the seeds used in these cultivars are handed down from generation to generation. Heirloom tomato plants are said to be self-pollinating varieties, which is their main difference to conventionally grown tomatoes which usually are cross-pollinated. An example of an heirloom tomato variety is the beefsteak tomato originally invented and cultivated by Johann Heinrich Muster at his Marathon NY farm. Beefsteak tomatoes, which are the largest among cultivated tomatoes, are known for their pronounced ribbing.

How to Grow Heirloom Tomato Plants

The first step to grow your heirloom tomato plants is to get the seeds. You can purchase them from gardening section of your favorite department store. Alternatively, you can collect seeds by getting ripe heirloom tomatoes, cutting them in half, and scooping the seeds and placing them in a jar that is filled halfway with water. Shake this daily and wait for the seeds to sink to the bottom, rinse them, and dry.

Buy a seed starting mix and put these into small pots, and drop a couple of seeds into each of them. Make sure to water the mix, but not too much. Bring the containers outside and put them under a shady area for 2-3 hours every day and bring them back into the house before nighttime. This process is called hardening and this is necessary to get the plant ready for the outdoor weather.

Every day, make sure that the mix is moist. In a week or so, the seedling will poke out of the mix, and by such time you should bring the pot outdoors and place it in an area that is warm and receives good amount of light. When the seedling is already several inches to a foot tall, transfer it onto a bigger plant box. In order for the plant to remain upright as it grows, you should put in stakes beside them as well, to which you will tie the plant. Harvest the heirloom tomatoes just before they change hue and ripen them inside your house.

This article has been sponsored by Schumacher Homes

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