Growing heirloom tomatoes

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Heirloom tomatoes
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Tips for growing heirloom tomatoes for the best taste and yield

The colors are stunning: purple, red, orange, yellow. The taste is rich, complex, unlike anything you've tasted. And the diversity of potential growing options ranges in the thousands. What type of food are we speaking of, you ask? The heirloom tomato, of course!

For those interested in growing heirloom tomatoes, the sky's the limit in terms of diversity, flavor, color, and cultivation. Below, we'll take a look at the popular fruit, the best practices for a successful cultivation of the species, and resources to help you on your way.

So, read on and find out the true pleasures of growing -- and eating -- this wonderful variety of tomato.

Why Are They So Special?

Well, for one, the heirloom tomato plants produce a larger fruit; the plant instills more sugar -- and thus, flavor -- in the growing fruit. Most connoisseurs will agree that these varieties are much more flavorful than your average tomato. Many plants will continue to grow throughout the summer, producing fruit and providing a rich harvest.

Introductory Tips offers some helpful tips for those looking to produce top-notch varieties. Those looking to find the most success will look to plant seeds indoors as the first steps to the overall process. BHG's seeding guide will help newbies start on the right foot.

In essence, a seed just happens to be a plant embryo; once moisture, air, temperature, and light combines to germinate the seed, it can grow into something beautiful.

Getting Started on the Process

Here are the things you'll need for the process of growing these special tomatoes:
  • A container -- anything you can think of: egg carton, black plastic pot, milk jug, yogurt cup, etc. -- which has proper drainage channels in the bottom
  • Seed-starting mix which can be found at your local nursery, garden center, or even online
  • Seeds (heirloom, or course)

For even more information on proper practices, head over to BHG's gardening site. There, you'll learn about composting, biodegradable pots, planting in your garden, watering, and more.

Advice for Proper Growing Methods

Author/gardener Amy Goldman, speaking with Dr. Oz over at, offers several insights into the best methods for growing:
  • Begin the growing process by placing seeds in a sterile potting soil, inside; this should be done approximately 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date of spring, which normally occurs at the end of April or even into early May. Provide the seeds with enough water to germinate.
  • At planting time, add compost, or other organic matter, to the soil. Try a little fertilizer mixed into the area, as well.
  • Remove any leaves which have sprouted up; according to BHG, buried leaves may lead to rotting and disease in the plant.
  • Be sure to water -- Even add a little bit more water during the first two or so weeks after planting in your garden.
  • Try red plastic mulch as it can provide a boost to your plant's productivity.
  • Use newspaper and wrap tightly around the bottom of the plant; this will protect against insidious cutworms.
  • Spacing can be a key component of a successful planting; prospective planters should keep 5 feet between the plants and 7 feet between each row.
  • By staking or caging your plants they will grow faster (be healthier) and allow for an easier harvest.
Where To Find Seeds

One can search their local gardening store for seeds, as well as peruse online for some of the best options for growth. Many online stores offer seeds by mail.

For more information on different varieties and some potential sticking points for growers, be sure to head over to the Tasteful Garden to learn more about heirloom tomatoes. In no time, you'll have a diverse, tasty, and colorful assortment of fruit to enjoy!

Resources: Growing Heirloom Tomato Plants. Growing Heirloom Tomatoes.

Above photo attributed to permanently scatterbrained

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