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Tomatoes

Tomatoes Lycopersicon esculentum

Grow under unheated glass or outdoors in a sheltered spot. Sow for the glasshouse in late February or early March and outdoor varieties in late March. Sow seed shallowly in pots with some warmth; prick out seedlings into individual pots, then grow on (and pot on if necessary) until ready to be transplanted to final positions. Transplant after the last frost, or a bit earlier if protected by cloches or fleece, 35-45cm apart. Some tomatoes are ‘determinate’ which means they form a natural bush and cannot be trained as a cordon. These will benefit from a layer of straw under them to keep the fruits clean. Most tomato varieties are “indeterminate” and may be trained as a cordon. These need to be supported on a stout cane or up a string, and can easily grow to 1.5m. Side shoots of cordoned tomatoes need to be removed regularly. The growing tip can also be removed once four to five trusses have set fruit, in order to encourage them to ripen. Some of the older varieties sprout from the most unlikely places; keeping them a neat cordon can be a full-time job and a challenge. However, indeterminate varieties can also be allowed to ramble if given plenty of room (at least 1m²). This is recommended for smaller-fruited varieties, where cordoning may reduce the yield. We make a recommendation for training with each variety – but why not experiment? Please note that we do not specifically recommend varieties as suitable for growing under glass or outdoors unless the donor of the variety has given us this information.

Auntie Madge's

Donated by Veronica Parsons, this variety has been in her family for generations and was handed down to her by her husband’s Aunt Madge. A prolific producer, the early fruits vary a lot in shape, maturing to a regular rounded plum shape 3-4 cm in size. HSL Member Nick Robinson enthuses: “If you must grow just one tomato, this is the one to grow! Ideal for salads, soups, paste or casseroles. I suspect it would flourish even in a crack in my concrete drive”. HSL Member Bill Leadbetter found it to be more able to resist the dreaded blight than ‘Gardener’s Delight’.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Beefsteak

Produces a heavy crop of medium-sized (6-7cm), orange-red fruit with some ribbing and a mild, sweet flavour.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Broad Ripple Yellow Currant

Originally discovered growing in a pavement crack in downtown Indianapolis, this variety can produce masses of sweet-tasting, tiny yellow fruit right up until mid November! Will need rigorous pruning and plenty of space, as it is a very vigorous grower. Noted by many as being only mildly affected by the dreaded blight, and very hardy. Seed Guardian Loppy Garrard says, “kids love them as they are ‘sweetie’ sized”.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Carlton

A large, red, beefsteak tomato donated to HSL by William Clifford Carlton, who was given seed by a friend in 1976. It is believed to be of Polish origin. David Frith thought it had “a good tomato flavour, neither sweet nor acid. Solid flesh with few seeds, which with its large size makes it an excellent slicing tomato.” Seed Guardian Justine Gallaccio adds, “Love them, beautiful shape, thin skins, really good flavour”.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Christel's Plum

Originally from Germany this variety bears red, medium sized (8-10cm) plum tomatoes of uniform shape. Seed Guardian Deborah Lacey says that they have “a gentle flavour, not acidic. Excellent to cook with, make sauces and freeze.”

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Cyril's Choice

The Cyril in question lived in Essex and grew his special tomato every year until he passed away in 1984. His sisters carried on the tradition, however, they thought that the tomato was lost in 1993 when their saved seed was not properly dried. A search in 1995 revealed that two seeds remained, tucked away at the bottom of their seed tin. The deep red fruits have a tangy flavour, perfect for cooking or salads. Seed Guardian Eluned Paramor has grown them under glass, outdoors and in pots with equal success.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Darby Striped Red and Green

Donated by Peter Fry, who saved seed from striped tomato fruit given to him in the mid 1960s by Dr Lewis Darby of the Glasshouse Crops Research Institute, Littlehampton. The vigorous plants produce an abundance of attractive fruit, which have thin skins and dark red/dark green striped when mature, ideal for cooking and making tomato sauces.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Dwarf Wax

Originally bred by Tom Wagner, of Tater Mater, this late variety produces curious, hairy, stout bushes followed by green striped tomatoes, which ripen to pale yellow. The fruits have distinctly waxy skin, ‘squeaky’ to the touch. Good eating, they are sweet and tangy, and keep well despite their thin skin. Grows well in pots. Seed Guardian Diane Bailey says, “The flavour is good for a large fruit”, but also commented that “once they turn pink they are past their best for eating”.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Earl of Edgcumbe

Donor Cedric Baring-Gould, who received the seeds from his nephew Joseph Widdecombe, said that he had never seen this variety in seed catalogues. The seeds were brought to the UK from New Zealand by a sheep farmer who inherited the Mount Edgcumbe estate from the 6th Earl of Edgcumbe in the 60s, thus becoming the 7th Earl. The large, round fruit have golden skin, flesh and juice. A good all-purpose tomato with a great, sweet flavour. Also displays some disease resistance (mildew, wilt and blight).

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Estonian Yellow Mini Cherry

This variety can be described as the tidy gardener’s ‘Broad Ripple Yellow Currant’. Donated by Lila Towle, who obtained the seed from an elderly Russian lady at the covered market outside Tallinn, Estonia. Grown in the HSL tunnels it was very high yielding and visually quite spectacular. It produces flowers in clusters that look like golden ‘chandeliers’ giving rise to a profusion of small, bright yellow, sweet and thin-skinned fruit. HSL Member Mrs C Bull says it “is the most delicious tomato I know.”

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Garden Peach

Produces medium-sized fruit with an orange/pink colour that really does resemble that of peaches! The skin, however, is smooth; perhaps it should be ‘Garden Nectarine’. Slower to crop than many tomatoes, but fruit keep well (some into December). A very old variety, thought to date back to the 1850s. It was popular at a time before tomatoes were imported out of season and deliberately selected to ripen late, so that fresh tomatoes could be enjoyed well into the New Year.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Gazzi Yellow Egg

New for 2011. Dr Susan Arregger, an English botanist who has lived in Italy since 1963, bred this variety. It is an early variety and really needs a glasshouse to perform at its best. The small, yellow fruits have a distinctive egg shape (hence the name), delicious sweet flesh and acid juices.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Giant Italian Plum

One of the classic old continental tomatoes boasting the true taste of Italy. Does not quite achieve the same strength of flavour in this country; the tomatoes we buy tinned, or might have eaten fresh in Italy, are grown in poor soils which tends to concentrate the flavour. The extra sun helps too. But in a good year, this one can do as well. Perfect for sauces, soups and relish, Seed Guardian Jane Hibberd says that they are “delicious!”

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Hillbilly

Donated by Dave Podmore of the Seed Savers Exchange, USA, this is an old heirloom variety from the hills of West Virginia, USA. Produces large, beefsteak-type fruit, which are orange-yellow and streaked with red. Seed Guardian Sue Price says, “Lovely yellow and pink flesh, makes fantastic tomato sauce”. Its sweetness also makes it perfect for slicing and salads.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Imur Prior Beta

Donated by John Yeoman, this variety was selected from high altitude areas in the Chilean mountains and developed in Norway for growing in cooler regions. Also thought to be blight resistant. The juicy, red fruit have soft, smooth flesh and are slightly acidic in flavour.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Jugoslavian

A beefsteak variety producing very large, thin-skinned, red tomatoes with meaty flesh and a continental flavour. The plants grow well in a greenhouse but need plenty of space because of their vigorous nature. This variety is not really suited to outdoor cultivation. The huge fruit have a delicate flavour and sweet, tender flesh, delicious sliced as a salad tomato or on sandwiches.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Little Tatyana

New for 2011. This tomato originated in Azerbaijan and was named after the collector of the seed, Tatyana Chandra. John Yeoman donated the variety HSL. This red, golf-ball-sized tomato did very well in taste tests at Garden Organic, the flavour being described as “delicious; sweet with bite!” Another taster noted that he liked it “better than the ‘Gardener’s Delight’ that I grow”.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Livingston's Favourite

New for 2011. Another variety donated to HSL by John Yeoman, this variety produces clusters of small globe-shaped, deep scarlet, tomatoes. Described by Vilmorin-Andrieux (1885) as “one of the handsomest smooth kinds in existence”.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Longkeeping

An odd sort of tomato, with a strange growth habit! The leafy plants tend not to produce side shoots and stop themselves, rather than needing the top pinching out. A prolific producer of large, round, orange fruits with a slightly acid flavour, but is very slow to ripen. Like ‘Garden Peach’, this is an old variety developed to supply tomatoes well into the winter.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Mammoth German Gold

An old-fashioned beefsteak type producing very large (500g or more), orange-yellow fruits sometimes streaked with red. The soft, juicy flesh is sweet with a hint of peach, perfect for eating fresh in salads, but also great for stuffing and cooking because of its size.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Mrs Ruck's

New for 2011.The Hon. Mrs Catherine Ruck gave this variety to Mike Thurlow at Audley End before she passed away in 2004. Mrs Ruck was the daughter of the 7th Lord Braybrooke and the last person to remember Audley End as a family home. Mrs Ruck had moved to Cornwall to care for her elderly mother, where this tomato was growing. She gave Mike seeds of the variety in exchange for some ‘Tommy Toe’ plants, and he has been growing it ever since. It produces small, round, red fruit.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

My Girl

Sara Furse of Clwyd donated this variety to HSL, and describes it as follows “A tomato with very little seed compared to flesh. Originally from George Roberts Seedsmen of Daventry, some time in the 1950s”. It is a prolific producer of medium to large, plum-shaped fruit that are pinkish in colour. A very thin-skinned, sweet tomato, excellent for cooking because of the lack of bitter seeds, and also great for slicing. Larger fruit can keep for several weeks.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Nova

Compact plants produce an abundance of small, red, plum-shaped fruits that are ideal for tomato sauces and cooking. HSL Member, Ruth Walker, notes that the plants required no staking, no removal of side shoots and were “perfect for containers”.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Pink Plum

This early variety produces sturdy plants laden with deliciously sweet, deep pink, plum-shaped fruits.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Plum Lemon

Kent Whealy of the Seed Savers Exchange, USA, originally collected seed of this variety from an elderly seedsman at the Kalitnikovskiy Bird Market in eastern Moscow. Sadly, after operating since the 1930s, the market was closed in 2001. Known as ‘Limmony Liana’ (Lemon Vine) in Russia, this variety produces an abundance of firm, lemon-shaped fruits with a sweet but refreshing flavour. Does well in cooler climates and the short season of northern areas.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Pop In

Donated in 1998 by Mrs V Hurry from Braintree in Essex. She was given this tomato by a work colleague from Kent and has been growing it for at least 25 years. The fruit is red and plum-shaped, very prolific, sweet with a slight sharpness, and can be grown in a greenhouse or garden. Each plant produces three or four amazingly heavy trusses of 50-100 small fruit, which need supporting outwards as well as upwards. HSL Member Mr P Howlett commented, “They have a nice tangy flavour. Well worth growing.”

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Queen of Hearts

Our donor, Mrs Smallwood, acquired these seeds from an elderly lady who had been given them many years ago at an RHS seminar. The person delivering the talk was American, and it was assumed that the variety was of American origin. The fruits are thin-skinned, sweet and almost heart-shaped.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Russian Red

This tomato was bred in New Zealand in 1943, where it became the most popular ‘home grown’ variety. It is hardy and produces large trusses (mostly 6+ fruits) of scarlet, round, medium-sized fruit. This variety performed well in our taste tests being described as “rich, sweet & tasty”, “firm, but juicy” and “has a lovely home grown taste”. Must be isolated from other potato-leaved or beefsteak varieties if saving seeds.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Ryders Midday Sun

Donated by Garden Organic Member Joan Cullen, who has grown them since the 1960s. Originally from seed company Ryders of St Albans, just before the firm was sold to in the 1970s, and all its varieties were discontinued. Ms Cullen says, “My father grew this tomato before me and, I think, my grandparents before him.” Sue Stickland thought it noticeably the best tomato in late autumn, as it preserves well in poor conditions, ideal for a wet growing season. Seed Guardian Elizabeth Dennis found that they do equally well outdoors or under glass and describes them as “a cheerful, reliable tomato”.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Salt Spring Sunrise

The late J James of Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada developed this very early variety. David Frith says, “Fruit varied in size from 50-200gms (quite a useful attribute) and were of good flavour. Delicious baked in a dish of mixed vegetables Mediterranean-style.” Mark Moran adds, “My wife considers this to be the best cooking tomato she has ever come across. Incomparable flavour, and no blight too! I had to fight to get these tomatoes away from her to get the seed!”

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Sandul Moldovan

New for 2011. Passed to HSL by John Yeoman, this Moldovan heirloom was originally taken to the USA by the Sandul family and offered through the Seed Savers Exchange. The beefsteak-type, orange-red fruit are around 8-10cm in diameter and are noted for their exceptional flavour, a perfect balance of sweet and acid. Ideal for slicing in salads and sandwiches.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Scarlet Knight

This variety came to the Heritage Seed Library from donor Mr Beardshaw. He had obtained the seed from Harry Sissons, a farmer who had obtained his seed some 70 years ago from a commercial supplier. The variety went out of commercial production, but Mr Sissons continued to save his own seed every year, maintaining the variety. A prolific yielder of large, deep-red fruits with a sweet flavour and soft skin.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Snow White Cherry

Thought to have been developed by Joe Bratka, an American tomato collector in New Jersey, USA. Superbly sweet, succulent and slightly tangy yellow Tomatoes, similar in flavour to the popular variety ‘Gardener’s Delight’. Although small (around 2-3cm diameter), they are borne in profusion. Seed Guardians John & Ann Matthews said, “without doubt one of the finest tomatoes I have tasted!” Early enough for outdoors but can also be grown under glass.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Sugar Italian Plum

Best grown under glass, this variety produces horn shaped, orange-red fruits that are very fleshy with few seeds, and also skin easily. The tomatoes taste best when fully ripe and are really good for cooking or bottling.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Sugar Plum

We received this variety of Tomato from two separate donors, Mrs Winch of Bristol and Mr O’Connor of Colchester, in response to our Seed Search appeal in the late 1990s. Both donors had been saving their own seed for more than 25 years. The grape-shaped, sweet, red tomatoes grow in large clusters and ripen early. This variety came out on top in taste tests at Garden Organic, consistently described as “excellent”.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Sundrop

A tomato introduced by the American Seedsman, W Atlee Burpee Co., this variety produces small (2-3cm), oval, juicy, orange fruits with a sweet and slightly sharp flavour. It is very productive and has good resistance to splitting. In taste tests Garden Organic staff comments included “beautiful colour”, “tangy and sweet” and “perfect lunchbox tomato”.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Wapsipinicon Peach

Donated to HSL Collection by John Yeoman, who comments, “This is one of the best tomatoes I have ever tasted”. It is an American heirloom named after the Wapsipinicon River, Iowa. The small/medium fruit (5cm) are creamish-yellow with a slightly fuzzy surface, hence the name ‘Peach’. It also has rather a complex flavour, sweet and fruity, and great texture. Caution. This variety has been known to exact an allergic skin reaction in some people, possibly because of the downy hairs on the surface of the fruit.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

White Queen

Introduced by Livingston's Seed Company, Ohio in 1882, this white variety is described as "fragrant, fruity & intensely sweet". The fruits are around 170-200g in weight and creamish white.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Wild (Lycopersicon pimpinellifolium)

New for 2011. This currant variety has changed little from the tomatoes first found growing wild, from which all tomato varieties originate. Prolifically produces long trusses of tiny (3-4g) fruit with a rich flavour described as sweet, but sharp. It will need staking because of its sprawling habit. Thought to be resistant to blight.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Tomato Wladeck's

Indeterminate. Cordon. Donated in 1994 by Frank Ryder, Stafford, but brought over from Poland after World War II by his neighbour, Wladeck Neitzgoda. This prolific variety can be grown outdoors or under glass. The donor comments: “Heavy trusses, which require ingenuity to support. Very good disease resistance. Fruits are large, vari-sized and often mis-shapen beefsteak-type…the taste is a revelation – unsurpassed flavour and aroma." Seed Guardian Adam Hesketh describes them as "Absolutely fantastic!" If seed saving will require isolating from other beefsteak tomatoes.

Tomato Wladeck's

Yellow Plum Formed

Donated to HSL by William Woys Weaver, this old variety is described in the USA publication ‘The Magazine of Horticulture, Botany & all Useful Discoveries & Improvements in Rural Affairs’ (1867) as “very handsome”. It is a prolific producer of small, yellow, oval-shaped fruits with a lovely sweet and mild flavour.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.

Yellow Russian

Garden Organic Life Member John Crocombe passed this variety to HSL in 1996. It produces large fruit that are light green when immature, becoming irregularly shaped and turning orange with very sweet yellow flesh when ripe. It was popular in tomato taste tests, described as having “a good mix of sweet and acid”. Performs best when grown under glass.

Please note: this variety needs a little bit more of a helping hand, so we are not able to send out seeds with gifts, however by adopting it you will be directly contributing to its conservation, so that one day we will be able to make it available to everyone.


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