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Tomato plants for sale 2016 – Permaculture Farming – Organic Principles

February 21, 2016

This year I will have only four varieties of tomatoes for sale. Every year we offer Sungold cherry, Juliet small pear, and a black tomato. This year that will be Cherokee Purple. For our disease resistant hybrid I am growing Better Boy for the first time. My stepfather, Jack Kelly, grew the best tomatoes and that was the variety that he grew. He’s not been with us for over a year and in honor of him, and in hope of replicating his success, I will be growing them.
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These plants are started from certified organic seed in an organic soil. They are then transplanted into 3″ recycled pots in a soil mix that I prepare from mulch and compost with organic minerals added. These tomatoes, due to our warm winter, only spent a few days with the hoop house closed, so they are hardened off and ready to plant. They will be available at the Eastside Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, 8:00 until 12:00. I only planted 1200 this year and will plant many of them in my garden, so expect to sell out fast.
All these tomatoes are indeterminate, meaning they will keep producing and keep growing until the heat and diseases kill them. Therefore they all need staking, stringing, or caging. They can reach 6 feet and higher if you provided the support. The Cherokee Purple is heirloom, meaning they grow true from seed and have been proven over many years, passed from generation to generation, and the other three are F1 hybrids, meaning they were intentionally crossed from two parent varieties and are first generation. None are GMO. The “days” is the estimated number from transplanting until first fruit. The timing is dependent on weather and luck.
Cherokee Purple

Black Krim

Black Krim

This rare, and outstanding heirloom tomato yields 3-4″ slightly flattened dark-red (mahogany-colored) slightly maroon, beefsteak tomatoes with deep green shoulders. Green gel around seeds. Fantastic, intense, slightly salty taste. They grow well in the Texas heat. Indeterminate – Heirloom – 75 days
Juliet

Juliet

Juliet

A small plum F1 hybrid, Juliet is one of the heaviest producers we have found. The 2″ long, 1.5 oz tomatoes are perfect for salads, sun drying, cooking or eating off the vine. One of the most disease resistant. Indeterminate – 60 days
Sungold

sungold

sungold

Exceptionally sweet, bright tangerine-orange cherry tomatoes that are 3/4″ to 1 1/4″ in diameter. These are by far my best selling plant and fresh tomato every year. They are best eaten raw in salads or as a snack. F1 hybrid – Indeterminate – 57 days
Better Boy
Better boy tomatoes have the Guinness record for the most production from one plant and have a great, classic tomato flavor. It is an early tomato for a beefsteak. Indeterminate – 70 days

Beefsteak

Beefsteak


Planting info:

Set out your spring tomato plants as early as possible.  I usually aim for March 1 in Hempstead, but the weather this year is warm so now would be the time. I plant mine 2 foot apart.
It takes about 6 weeks for the plant to be mature enough to flower and they fruit best when nighttime temperatures are in the 60′s. We get very little of that temperature range in the Houston area. Once we start having days in the 90′s with nighttime lows in the mid 70′s tomato production will be reduced or terminated.
If the temperature drops below 35˚ cover the plant with frost cloth or a sheet.  To plant, dig a hole and add one teaspoon of rock phosphate or bone meal in the bottom. Set the tomato in the ground deep, up to the first leaf.  I like to sprinkle the ground around the plant with a half cup of cornmeal and a few handfuls of compost. Mulch. Stake or cage.
As leaves near the bottom turn yellow or brown remove and discard them.  I spray them every other week with seaweed extract/compost tea. Fertilize with a complete organic fertilizer when the first flowers appear.  It is usually advisable to add calcium to the soil at that time in the form of lime, bone meal, rock phosphate, gypsum or even egg shells or powdered milk (my grandmother’s solutions).  You can pick the tomatoes as they start to turn red (if they are a red tomato) and let them ripen at room temperature.  If you leave them on the vine until fully ripe you will be competeing with the birds and insects, so be watchful. Don’t put them in the refrigerator.

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