Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Growing Heirloom Tomatoes

Most of my garden is sown directly into the soil. i've never had a good place to start seeds inside, my cats always manage to knock them over or eat the seedlings. The only plants i don't directly sow are tomaotes and peppers. i usually purchase 4 packs from our local garden center, they do a really good job of having a large selection of heirloom plants.

However, a few months ago, my folks gifted me with a small inside greenhouse, so i was really excited to get to try growing my own tomato and pepper plants this year. i may have gone a little overboard purchasing seeds. :)

Last year was my first attempt at growing tomatoes from seed, and it was a complete failure. i didn't have the green house, and i put the seedlings outside so the cats wouldn't get them..and accidentally froze them all.
This year, i decided to try again and my tomato starts are doing really well! To start the seeds i just used recycled containers and our own homemade compost. You could also use potting soil and seed trays. This is what they look like when they are first start coming up.

Once they start leafing out and are about 3" tall i transfer them into individual larger containers.

Once they around this size, i start bringing them outside for a few hours each day to help them harden off.

Eventually i transfer them into larger pots, and am able to leave them outside. They can remain out all the time, i only bring them in if there is a threat of frost.

Starting tomato seeds inside this year has really allowed me to get an earlier start. My last frost date is this week, so i can actually start planting them into the ground now. i already have several blooming!

This years Heirloom tomato variety includes Cherokee Purple, Purple Calabash, Black Krim, Black Brandywine, Yellow Brandywine, Mr. Stripy, Big Rainbow, Hillbilly, Amish Paste, Black Cherry and Silvery Fir Tree. i'm sure i'll be adding a few more varieties, as i can not resist purchasing a few heirloom 4 packs from the local greenhouse. i tend to come home with new plants each time i pass by it. :)

What kind of tomatoes are you doing this year? What varieties are your favorites?


  1. I just planted some Amish salad tomatoes and Amish paste tomatoes. I still want to get a few more plants. Last year I planted four plants and ended up with a total of one tomato. Of course we were still in the apartment and growing in a pail.


    1. Yeah, tomatoes can be grown in containers..but i've never had much luck with it either. i've grown them in the hanging planters a couple of times and only get a few tomatoes off the plant. Hopefully they will do better for you this year. They grow well in our garden, but we struggle with blight every year so they never produce as much as they should be.

  2. WOW, they look great mama!! I had a hard time with my plants this year, but most of them have snapped out of it, and I think Ill be ready for the market :) This year I did, Rutgers, Brandywine, Pink Ponderosa, Cherokee Purple, woodle Orange, green velvet, Big Rainbow, Yellow pear, Amish Paste, Chadwick Cherry, Matts Wild cherry, and Money Maker,, and i think thats it :) I never have huge yields with my 'maters,, early blight always gets them first :( but im not giving up hope!!! Happy Gardening!

    1. Sounds like a great variety! i usually have the yellow pear every year. i haven't planted any in years, but they always come back in various beds or in the compost. :) We struggle with blight too, and don't get huge yields either...although last year was pretty good. We are still enjoying pasta sauce, and canned tomatoes from last years garden.