Heirloom Tomato Plants: Growing Heirloom Tomatoes
When it comes to growing tomatoes in your home garden, you can not do better than to add some classic heirloom tomatoes.
These tomatoes have not been altered through modern methods and tend to have more personality and flavor than varieties that are readily available at the local grocery store.
Most gardeners prefer heirloom plants because they can be easily grown again through saved seeds year after year. Growing your own heirloom tomatoes is easy to do at home in your garden.
Why heirloom tomatoes are the best option for your garden
While you will find many available tomato varieties on the market, heirloom tomato varieties have not been crossbred or hybridized. This makes heirloom tomatoes a better option for your home garden.
Heirloom tomato seeds can be saved for planting year after year, getting you the most value for your original investment and helping to provide for your family for years to come.
Heirloom tomatoes have more varieties. With heirloom tomatoes, you can find a wide variety of flavors, colors, and even textures to help add more variety to your diet.
Some varieties of heirloom tomatoes are very interesting and can make a great unique addition to salads, vegetable trays, and other dishes to add some flair to get together that you would never find at the local grocery store.
How to choose an heirloom tomato variety
There are so many amazing varieties of heirloom tomatoes to choose from for your garden. Growing a variety of heirloom tomatoes is a great way to add more flavor and variety to your family’s meals.
Take the time to read over the selection of heirloom tomato varieties that your seed supplier has to offer. There are a few types of tomatoes your garden should have.
Paste or sauce tomatoes
If you plan to preserve tomatoes for the winter by making homemade sauces your garden should include a variety that is good for this. Some tomatoes make a better thicker sauce with less work because they are not too watery.
Amish paste tomatoes make a great sauce with their large and heavy tomatoes. These are juicy and despite the name, they are not the best option if you are making tomato paste.
If your family likes to eat tomato slices on burgers and other sandwiches you want to be sure to bring an heirloom beefsteak tomato into your garden. These come in a wide variety of flavor profiles.
By growing a couple of different varieties you can have a classic tomato or change things up with a deeper or sweeter flavor when you want to. Try a classic heirloom beefsteak tomato like Brandywine.
Cherry tomatoes are perfect for salads and snack trays. These plants also tend to be prolific growers allowing you to produce more food in less space.
Heirloom cherry tomatoes are great because you can find so many varieties with different colors and flavor profiles that your snack trays, salads, and other dishes will have constant variety all summer long.
Look for golden yellow and sweet chocolate varieties to spice things up a bit.
Caring for your heirloom tomatoes
Heirloom tomatoes are actually very easy to grow from seeds. Start your heirloom tomatoes seeds early and provide the seedlings with enough heat and light.
This will allow your tomatoes to get a head start and is particularly important if you live in an area with a very short growing season and your plants need a bit more time to stand a chance at producing to their full potential.
To help prevent cross-pollination between your heirloom tomato varieties you want to place different varieties far from each other. While you can still end up with some cross-pollination it is usually much less when you make an effort to keep your plants separated. With companion planting, it is easy to spread your tomato plants around your garden.
Heirloom tomatoes are easy to care for. The most important thing you can do to help your heirloom tomatoes thrive is to make sure you amend the soil at the start of the season then continue to fertilize and amend the soil as the gardening season goes on.
This will help to ensure that your plants are healthy and grow well. If your plants do not have what they need you will find issues like blossom end rot ruining your harvest.
To have a thriving tomato garden you need to make sure that your tomatoes are getting enough water. There are several great ways to do this from burying a bucket with holes for watering or using a drip irrigation system on a timer to make sure that your tomato plants never have to go without the water they need to thrive.
Companion planting your tomatoes with other plants can help them thrive, increase your yield, and improve the overall flavor of your heirloom tomatoes.
Planting your tomatoes with green beans can help to balance the nitrogen in the soil to help your tomatoes thrive. And basil is great for growing along with your tomatoes to help keep pests at bay while improving the flavor of your tomatoes.
Saving seeds from your heirloom tomatoes
The best part about growing heirloom tomatoes is that unlike modern varieties these fruits are perfect for preserving your seeds to grow new plants year after year. Remove the seeds from mature ripe tomatoes and dry them before storing them in an air-tight container in a cool dark place.
Tomatoes are self-pollinating and will grow both male and female flowers allowing the pollen from higher flowers to fall down to the lower ones when the wind blows.
Tomatoes do cross-pollinate which can lead to some changes in the varieties of your tomatoes from year to year if you grow them close together. If you would like to maintain the varieties you are growing when you have multiples you should plant them far from each other.
If you plant your tomatoes of different varieties close to each other you may find some crosses in your garden next year.
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