ITALIAN TREE TOMATO (Lycopersicon esculentum) is an heirloom dating to 1937 that will simply astound you! Definitely needs more than your typical tomato cage or stake. This one needs an arbor! The indeterminate potato-leaf vines can grow as long as 20 feet and put in a truly remarkable heavy yield. The large and meaty red beefsteak tomatoes themselves can be as large as 6", but average 5"x3" and weight 1lb to 3lbs. And they have very good flavor! This is a GREAT canning tomato! Sadly, it is not a good choice for many southern gardeners, as excessive heat can sometimes cause it to fail. But grows well in the Piedmont here in North Carolina and many other states, so definitely worth a try! Indeterminate. 75-85 days from transplant. 10 seeds.
GROWING TIPS: Tomatoes and Tomatillos are heavy feeders with specific food requirements. So put a lot of attention to bed preparation both when you plant your seeds inside and out. Tomatoes love organic fertilizers and regular watering which, except early in the season when you are fighting pests, should be done from the bottom. Manure teas are an excellent continual food supply. My tomatoes love the comfrey tea I routinely make in my garden using nothing but large buckets and clippings from my comfrey plants. They love warm weather - don't stress out your seedlings by planting too early you will only set back fruiting. Plant flowers nearby to encourage pollination. Even those plants that say they don't need staking should be given some support. I prefer stakes for all such plants. If growing the taller indeterminate tomatoes you need to discipline your plants by pinching out the leaders. This will cut down on the fruit initially, but the fruit you get will be of better quality and ultimately more because if you do not pinch the leaders I have found the plant stops producing flowers. Tomatoes often attract aphids - don't be horrified. Use a hose and your hand to wash away daily and you will find they disappear after a few days-weeks once their breeding cycle is completed. Give tomatoes plenty of space. Don't let them touch each other, especially if growing different varieties, as it will help stop any disease problems from spreading. Did you know that nicotine spreads a terrible virus among tomatoes? So if you smoke, don't touch your tomato plants without using gloves, and don't grow certain nicotine related plants near tomatoes. Keep the fruit picked so production continues. As the season end nears, you can store whole branches of tomatoes by hanging them inside where they can continue to slowly ripen.
END OF SEASON TIP: If you have grown a variety that you love and want to grow the following season, consider cloning this season's healthy plant. It's easy to do. Just take a healthy cutting and root in moist soil indoors. You'll want to remove any lower leaves and sink so that as much stem as possible is in the soil with just a few top leaves showing. I like to put on a heating mat under grow lights and then pot up after the roots have really gotten going. You can keep this cutting alive through the winter and early spring and get a jump on the growing season next year. Avoid using cuttings from any plant that shows signs of blight or pest infestation.