cold and heirloom tomatoes
I thought I’d update you with an heirloom tomato report, on how these wonderful plants are growing in the garden. I’ve had extremely unsettled weather from January through the beginning of March and the tomatoes have taken it with differing results. Here’s a homegrown heirloom tomato report!
Heirloom Tomatoes in the Garden
First, in case you aren’t aware, I am in South Florida. Although my winters have been pretty mild in the recent past, it was a cold one this year, with several freezes. Last week’s temperature dip into the 30’s didn’t help matters. But it’s warming up now, and the plants look happier.
Here’s a list of the heirloom tomatoes currently in the garden:
- Black Sea Man: Determinate, black fruit
- Brandywine: Indeterminate, pink fruit
- Druzba: Indeterminate, red fruit
- Eva Purple Ball: Indeterminate, dark pink fruit
- Kelloggs Breakfast: Indeterminate, orange fruit
- Loxahatchee: Semi-determinate, red fruit
- Mr. Stripey: Indeterminate, bicolor yellow/red fruit
- Pineapple: Indeterminate, bicolor yellow/red fruit
- Pruden’s Purple: Indeterminate, dark pink fruit
- White Bush: Determinate, white fruit
And here are the heirloom plants that (sadly) succumbed to one of the freezes:
- Big Rainbow: Indeterminate, bicolor yellow/red fruit
- Green Zebra: Indeterminate, green striped fruit
- Yellow Cherry: Indeterminate, yellow fruit
That’s not too bad, though — just three that are more temperature-sensitive.
Last Week’s Cold Snap
Almost all the plants got nipped by the dip into the 30’s last week. Green Zebra was the only casualty, but all the other plants except two showed signs of stress and/or what I call “freezer burn” on some leaves.
The two heirloom tomato varieties that came through totally unscathed were Loxahatchee and White Bush. Both acted as if the cold snap never happened. Unfortunately, White Bush doesn’t seem to be in circulation anymore (couldn’t find any seeds for sale) and Loxahatchee is from my own heirloom breeding program, and I don’t have enough seeds to offer for sale at the moment.
Heirloom Tomatoes — Who’s Blooming?
Mr. Stripey is the only one with tomatoes and blossoms, but that’s the one variety I bought as a plant; all the rest I have grown from seed.
None if the seed-grown plants are actually in full blossom at the moment, but about half have small (and in Brandywine’s case, not so small) blossom buds. So far, I expect Brandywine to have the first open blossoms, probably by Saturday.
The heirloom tomato plants that aren’t showing blossom buds, like Druzba and Pruden’s Purple, are just too young yet (I just put them in the garden a few days ago). I plant my tomatoes is waves, hoping to extend the season. While it doesn’t always work (sometimes they all stubbornly decide to ripen at the same time no matter what I do), sometimes I get lucky.
I’ll be taking some photos this weekend of the various heirloom tomato plants. I’ll also be updating The Great Tomato Experiment report. Meanwhile, you can take a look at other posts I’ve written on heirloom tomatoes.