Skip to Content

Gardeners, foodies and cooks all crave the tender, rich, juicy tomatoes that their grandparents grew.  Heirloom varieties offer that taste memory, and it is the holy grail to grow your own.

Hybrid tomatoes are perhaps “easier” to grow as they are bred to be smooth, round, red orbs with no cracks or green shoulders, etc. If your goal is high yields, or longer storage and no unsightly attributes, then a hybrid variety might be for you. While they typically don’t have the old-fashioned taste qualities, there are some that are quite good.

This category covers the bases of growing, cooking and selecting the best plant for the intended use.

Extend the Tomato Season: Harvest & Frost Prevention

In many zones the tomato season is all too short. There are some tried and true ways to extend the tomato season however, whether it be protecting them from frost or making the best use of an early harvest. Here are some simple ways to get the most from your tomatoes, especially if you live …

Read More about Extend the Tomato Season: Harvest & Frost Prevention

Best Time to Plant Tomatoes & Vegetables: (aka Phenology)

Old gardener stories are often based around a science called phenology. “Plant potatoes on Good Friday; prune trees on Presidents Day, and never plant anything during the full moon.” Homilies or science? The Science of Phenology – when to plant Before starting our small farm in Minnesota, I went to a number of classes, seminars …

Read More about Best Time to Plant Tomatoes & Vegetables: (aka Phenology)

Characteristics of Best Heirloom Tomato Varieties: by Color

This is a summary of the flavor, growth performance and unique qualities of what I consider to be the best heirloom tomato varieties. I have been growing, tasting and testing heirloom tomatoes since 1997 and this guide is based on that cumulative experience. It includes the characteristics of each color category of heirloom varieties. What …

Read More about Characteristics of Best Heirloom Tomato Varieties: by Color

Best Tomato Cages vs Staking vs Fencing

Many people who are new to  growing heirloom tomatoes in the ground start with a tomato plant, a bag of fertilizer and a tomato “cage” purchased at a garden center.  Here are some alternatives to typical cages that will result in more tomatoes, a longer season for tomatoes and higher quality tomatoes. Range of Methods …

Read More about Best Tomato Cages vs Staking vs Fencing

How to Get the Earliest Tomatoes (Heirloom or Hybrid)

When I sell the tomato plants at the Farmers’ markets in early spring, customers are always curious about “when” they’ll get their tomatoes.  The answer is definitely one of those, “it depends”  qualifiers.  Here are a few tips to help answer this question: Criteria for Getting the Earliest Tomatoes (Heirloom or Hybrid) In general, there …

Read More about How to Get the Earliest Tomatoes (Heirloom or Hybrid)

How to Harden off Seedlings Before Transplanting Outside

Hardening off young tender plants so they can withstand the heat, wind, rain and cold swings of Spring is the most important thing you can do before transplanting seedlings in your garden, particularly if you started your plants indoors. For me, hardening off young plants is a difficult task because I grow so many of …

Read More about How to Harden off Seedlings Before Transplanting Outside