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Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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Published: Wednesday, 2/20/2013

Readers answer tomato call

BY KELLY HEIDBREDER
BLADE COLUMNIST

I have found dozens of gardeners who are obsessed with tomatoes. Last week, I shared a few varieties favored by my friend who owns a greenhouse. So I thought I would share some of your favorites and tips this week.

Brandywine and Early Girls

Kevin and Kathy Kusz are eager to get their tomatoes started. “Let me begin by saying my wife and I agree with everything you wrote regarding Brandywine tomatoes. They are our second favorite. Our top favorite variety is Early Girl,” he said.

“We start a few of them in a small homemade greenhouse in early March. We usually have our first Early Girls in mid to late June. We stake them and remove the suckers so the vines grow as long as 12 feet. The tomatoes are also larger with some as large as baseballs.” They had such a bumper crop last year they canned over 90 pints of salsa and over 100 quarts of tomatoes,” Mr Kusz sald.

“Third on our list are Sun Cherry Extra Sweet cherry tomatoes. We start several cherry tomatoes in our greenhouse and we keep one plant for ourselves and give the others to our parents. The cherry tomatoes are also ready to pick in mid June. We tie the single plant to a large trellis and have quite a huge plant still bearing delicious cherry tomatoes in September.”

Sunsugar

Judy Zinober said she likes to try new varieties every year. She has a small greenhouse and starts her tomatoes from seed. “I start the plants in my basement the end of March. In April, when the plants are bigger, I put them in bigger pots and put them in the greenhouse.”

She recommends Mexico. “It is a large pinkish tomato that is more productive than other big ones like Brandywine. I also like some small ones like Sunsugar and Juliet.” And if you are lucky to be one of her neighbors, you will most likely get some of her extras.

Fourth of July

Bud Liming said his favorite salad tomato is the Fourth of July. “This tomato is golf ball size and excellent. It will ripen in early July and yield until late fall.” But he said, “Plants are hard to find as few greenhouses grow them.”

Oxheart and Rutgers

Laura England grows her tomatoes in the heart of south Toledo. She has grown this popular fruit for more than 30 years. “Oxheart is my favorite and Rutgers is my second favorite,” she said. “Oxheart [is] a pinkish colored tomato with real tomato taste that is very meaty. It is almost impossible to find started plants of Oxheart and I haven’t seen the seeds in years. It is, however, the very best tomato I have ever grown or eaten,” she said.

“I like them both for eating fresh and for canning.” But, she says she has had a hard time finding seeds for Oxheart. “Anything you can do to help me find seeds or starts of Oxheart tomatoes, would be appreciated,” she said.

Don’t stop there! I have much more to come next week!

Contact Kelly Heidbreder at getgrowing@gmail.com.



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