Eager to grow tomatoes? Me, too. This kind is called “Mortgage Lifter,” supposedly because the grower sold enough of them to pay off his $6,000 mortgage back in the 1940s. Nowadays, the payoff is the size and flavor of the tomatoes.
My children like the “cherry” or “grape” varieties and we can a lot of tomato sauce.
This year I started two “1020″ trays of soil blocks of tomato seedlings, placing 40 2-inch blocks in each tray. The trays will hold 50 blocks but I like having a little more space.
I did a lot of “horse trading” with folks this year with saved tomato seeds and received many different varieties of seeds in trade for my own. Some of the seeds were a few years old and I am unsure of how the other gardeners saved and stored their seeds.
After 17 days my seedling status is as follows:
Barnes Mountain: 25% germination, 1 seedling not doing well.
Red Cherry: 75% germination, 2 strong seedlings, 1 not doing well
Red Oxheart: 100% germination, 4 strong seedlings
Roma VF (2009 seeds): 25% germination, 1 strong seedling
Roma VF (2014 seeds): 50% germination, 2 strong seedlings
San Marzano: 100% germination, 4 strong seedlings
Most of these were 4 soil blocks with a single seed placed into each.
I am pleased but frankly not surprised that the bold varieties had 100% germination rate. Most of these are tried and true tomatoes that are known to do well.
I will start 4 more soil blocks for each variety that had less than 75% germination success or where I only have a single seedling doing well. I have plenty of soil mix available and it only takes 30 minutes to make a tray of blocks, plant the seeds and clean up.
Anything that fails to germinate in this second group - I’m looking at YOU Cherokee Purple and Gold Medal ! - will be removed from the seed inventory and I’ll chalk those up to poorly saved seeds.
I’ll make some updates on these existing seedlings at the 30 day mark.
All the rain we got in the last couple of days has made the tomatoes explode in production! Just look at these tomatoes! Have you ever seen anything more beautiful? A big thanks to hyggehaven of biodiverseed for all of the seeds and anyone else who might have helped her in the seed exchange. Varieties from biodiverseed pictured are black cherry, bedain, minigold, mortgage lifter, and worlds smallest tomato. Other varieties pictured are Nebraska wedding, Eva purple ball, green zebra, Hartman’s yellow gooseberry, sweet 100, and marglobe.