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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cold Climate Tomatoes: A Second Wave

I grew several Russian heirlooms over the years. Loved the idea of Russian heirlooms. They didn't love the hot Maryland weather. They started out great, when it was cool, but literally burned out come mid July.

I've decided to plant tomatoes differently this year. I am planting in waves. I have the standard May plantings, the first wave. I planted one on April 4th in a hot-house cage, the early wave. I just planted 4 - 8 inch plants last week, the second wave. I am going to start a 3rd wave.

The third wave will be made up of the tomatoes below. I am selecting fast growing cold weather resistant varieties. I will build plastic wrap hot-houses as needed. My goal is to produce tomatoes through October.

Most of the May tomatoes burn out in August. If it's not the heat, it's diseases. If it's not diseases they are just over grown and picked. Why not have a third wave? I'll be growing extras for interested locals. I just ordered the seeds below. I will also take my hot-house cage idea and start it in March, next year, using the same seeds below.

Glacier #4518 (30 seeds) $2.65
While this variety may not be able to withstand a glacier, it does set fruit well even in cold weather. In fact, it becomes loaded early in the season with very flavorful, 2 to 3 oz. red tomatoes. The taste is sweet yet rich, a combination found more commonly in larger and later-maturing tomatoes. Potato-leaved foliage helps support the large harvest of these very tasty tomatoes. Determinate. 58 days.

Oregon Spring V #2712 (30 seeds) $2.65
A cold-tolerant tomato developed by Oregon State University for short season gardeners. Compact plants produce concentrated sets of medium to large fruit that is nearly seedless. Fruit is juicy and tender with full tomato flavor. Determinate. 58 days.
Polar Baby #2536 (30 seeds) $2.55
Very small plants bear large harvests of 2-inch red salad tomatoes. These tomatoes are sweet and very well flavored, especially for a variety that produces so early. This is a cold weather tomato that was developed in Alaska. Determinate. 60 days.
Siletz #2831 (30 seeds) $2.65
Deep red, full-flavored slicing tomatoes are 10 to 12 ozs. and very nice for an early variety. Developed by Dr. James Baggett of Oregon State University, these plants yield well even in cool weather. Good acid taste and excellent interior fruit quality in an early tomato. Determinate. 52 days.
Silvery Fir Tree #2742 (30 seeds) $2.60
This very unusual dwarf plant has delicate, lacy leaves that have a silvery sheen. Not only does this plant add great ornamental interest to your garden, it also bears very flavorful 4 to 6 oz. red tomatoes that mature quite early. Russian heirloom. Determinate. 58 days.
Sub Arctic Maxi #2733 (30 seeds) $2.55
One of a series of extra early tomatoes bred for extremely cold climates. Dwarf vines produce concentrated clusters of 2-1/2 oz. fruit with good flavor. Excellent for Northern gardeners or anyone seeking early tomatoes. Determinate. 62 days.

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