Useful Sites & Sources

Organic TomatoesSources for Heirloom Seeds

Heirloom tomatoes can’t be beat for their intense flavor. They are wonderful to look at, too, and have great names like Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple, Red Pear, Mortgage Lifter and White Wonder. Finally they have wonderful stories to tell. For example, a West Virginian home gardener named Charlie fell on hard times during the depression. He owned a radiator repair shop, but people were so broke that they weren’t repairing their cars. Charlie took his four largest-fruited tomato plants and crossed them repeatedly to create a plant that produced two-pound fruit. He sold the plants claiming that each plant would feed a family of six. Within four years, he made enough to pay off his mortgage.

While not all tomato plants have such an interested history, they all have a “tasty” tale to tell. Below are some Web sites that offer heirloom tomato seeds.

Planet Natural

Appalachian Seeds

Heirloom Tomato Seeds

Seed Savers Exchange

Laurel’s Heirloom Tomato Plants

Tomato Bob’s Heirloom Tomatoes

Gourmet Seed International

Tomato Fest

Victory Seeds

Further Reading: Books

The Gardener’s A — Z Guide to Growing Organic Food, by Tanya L.K. Denckla

Pests of the Garden and Small Farm: A Grower’s Guide to Using Less Pesticide by Mary Louise Flint

Golden Gate Gardening by Pam Peirce

Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally by R. Kourik.

Great Garden Companions: A Companion-Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden by Sally Jean Cunningham

Tomato Varieties

Heirloom: Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Mortgage Lifter, White Wonder, Nebraska Wedding, Black Prince, Persimmon Yellow, Pixie Peach, Green Zebra, Mr. Stripey, Old German.

Paste tomatoes: Roma, Sauce and Slice, Plum Dandy or Super Marzano.

Here’s a partial list of special needs and the varieties that can adapt to them:

Cooler climates: Oregon Spring, Northern Exposure, Manitoba and Stokesalaska

Hot climates: Heatwave, Sunleaper, Equinox, Sunmaster

Early starters: Early Girl, Sunstart, Burpee’s Early Pick, New Yorker, Wayahead, Moreton Hybrid, Jet Star, Pik-Red, Pilgrim.

Early cherry tomato: Red Robin.

Mid-season: Heinz 1350, Better Boy, Burpee, Roma, Floramerica, Celebrity, Red Star, Market Pride, Mountain Delight.

Late starters: Supersonic B, Ramapo, Supersteak, Mountain Pride, Beefmaster

Yellow and orange fruits: Jubilee, Sunray, Lemon Boy

Cherry tomatoes: Red Cherry, Sweet 100, Sweet Million, Small Fry, Chadwick

Pear tomatoes (small fruit): Red Pear, Yellow Pear

Dwarf cherries (great in containers): Tiny Tim, Small Fry, Presto, Baxter’s Bush Cherry

Dwarf vines with medium fruit: Patio, Pixie.