A tomato garden is popular and useful, both for established gardeners and for those just starting a first serious garden. Heirlooms are great because you can save the seeds from what you harvest, and be confident that any seedlings from these will be true to type. Most heirlooms are "indeterminate." This means that there are lots of vines, and it's best to keep these well-staked or otherwise supported.
One of the larger "beefsteak" tomatoes is the Cherokee Purple. Cherokee Purples are among the most delicious tomatoes, growing tall, and with large luscious fruit. Spacing is important for these, and it's a good idea to keep about two to three feet between plants.
Another great type is the Yellow Pear tomato. These adorable, perfectly pear-shaped, small yellow "cherry" tomatoes are sweet and delicious and are a perfect salad tomato. You can pickle them, use them in a number of easy-to-find recipes, or as a pizza topping. Spacing and support is also important, these plants can get pretty tall and have lots of vines.
So just to be annoyingly repetitive: Space these plants out! A funny story goes along with this:
I set up a tomato bed in one corner of my yard. I planted heirloom seedlings with mixed Cherokee Purple, Yellow Pear, and Green Zebra tomatoes. There were only about two feet between each, mostly along my fence. I figured tying them to the fence would be enough support. This turned into a giant mess! the cherries were twined around both the large Cherokees and the mid-sized Green Zebras. There were so many leaves and vines that they didn't get enough sun, so they matured slowly and stayed small and greenish. It was even hard to tell the gorgeous striped Green Zebras apart from the Cherokee Purples!
Each of the stellar varieties mentioned (and more!) are a part of our Tomato Seed Starter Kit, a perfect gift for the gardener in your family no matter what stage they are at! It also makes a pretty darn good gift for yourself!
Written By David Wiley