Although long ago tomatoes were believed to be toxic, today growing (and EATING!) tomatoes is a popular American pastime. Neighbors compete for the title of earliest tomato; friends claim the most bountiful crops; and Wilson’s boasts the largest selection in town. Whatever your tastes for tomatoes may be, Wilson’s has a match. From our sauce tomatoes like ‘La Roma,’ to straight off the vine goodness given by ‘Super Sweet 100,’ we love our tomatoes!
With all the local competition for growing the earliest tomato, our eager customers are always asking, “How soon?” The best time to plant tomatoes outdoors is after the threat of frost has passed. This is usually around the middle of May in our area. Of course, for those die-hard tomato growers, Wilson’s has large plants available a bit early. We have giant tomato plants that will allow you to have the first tomatoes in the neighborhood. We recommend using mulch to help with moisture retention and to deter splashing up of any over wintering diseases.
Choosing The Right Tomato
Out of all the varieties of tomatoes at Wilson’s, how’s a person to choose? First, decide what you like in a tomato and how you would like to use it. For example, if you are looking for a cherry tomato, great for salads and easy to grow in a container, choose the ‘Super Sweet 100’ or ‘Sweet Baby Girl.’ These cherry tomatoes do very well in containers and are extra productive.
We have a long list of heirloom tomatoes for that old fashion tomato taste. Pick from modern hybrids that are disease resistant and very heavy bearing. Plant a rainbow of tomatoes for interesting salads and delicious eating. Choose from red ones, yellow ones, pink ones, orange ones, and purple ones.
Tackling Tomato Trouble
Often times just when summer truly becomes hot and the tomato grower is anticipating their first ripe tomato, something goes wrong.
Commonly, gardeners notice a leathery brown rotting on the blossom end of the tomato fruit. This condition is cleverly called Blossom-end rot. Although the affected fruit cannot be saved, future fruiting of the same plant can often continue as normal if precautions and care are taken.
Proper calcium levels in the soil can prevent blossom-end rot. Bumper Crop Natural & Organic Tomato & Vegetable Food with its extra calcium is what we recommend to counteract this problem. For organic growing use Espoma Tomato Tone. Commit to consistent watering practices. Heavily pruning tomato vines may promote blossom-end rot, too. So using tomato cages and letting the plants grow through them rather than staking and pruning will counteract blossom end rot.
Wilson’s carries several different Heirloom tomatoes, such as Cherokee Purple tomato and Old Fashion Striped German tomato. What’s the fuss for Heirlooms? Heirlooms are basically super old plants. Many gardeners consider heirlooms to be pre-1950’s, which is about the time folks started hybridizing our favorite veggies. However, many common heirlooms are over 100 years old. Another special aspect to heirlooms is that they are open pollinated. Simply put, each generation will look, and taste, more or less like its parent. Although the definition of heirloom is highly debated, how interesting some of these plants are cannot be questioned. Take for example the heirloom tomato ‘Brandywine.’ This dense fleshed tomato is known for its oddly deep red to purple color and nostalgic flavor.