Heirloom Seeds & Poultry
1878 230th Street, Calamus, IA 52729
(780 total varieties to chose from)
Ideally, we start our tomatoes in mid-April to set out in late May. Lately, our tomatoes have been started in early May and set out in mid-June. I’ve noticed we have virtually no early blight problems and, if properly cared for, have lots of tomatoes. Plant outside after all danger of frost is past. On early plantings, we speed growth up by covering new transplants with milk jugs which have had the bottoms cut out and lids removed. We set out plants about 12” apart in a row and cage to support indeterminate types. I have evaluated all of the varieties we offer this year plus some others and discovered that there is no real way for me to properly describe some of them. Even though some appear to have almost identical descriptions in here, each and every one is different. Each summer it is so apparent walking around the seed plots and seeing all of the diversity. I am terrible at describing colors that I see and flavors that I taste. My fondness for growing tomatoes comes from my childhood struggles of trying to get a vine ripened tomato in the mountain valley where I lived. That is not much of a challenge here in Iowa, but I still realize there are some of you that face that struggle and we will continue to search for early, flavorful types.
Explanation of Terms:
We hope to include the following information for as many varieties as we can in the future.
Days to Maturity - Time from transplant to first ripe fruits is variable depending on temperature, rainfall, soil, etc., so a range is given.
Very Early - 55 days or less
Early - 55-70 days
Mid-season - 70-85 days
Late - usually over 85 days
Determinate - Determinate means short vines, bush like, compact, terminal blossom clusters (meaning the top of the stem usually is flowers not foliage). Most produce fruits in a short time span while others may produce all season.
Indeterminate - Indeterminate means long vines, subterminal blossom clusters (meaning flowers occur along the sides of the stem), usually produce well until frost.
Semi-determinate - Semi-determinate means a happy medium between the above two. Staking these is a good idea.
Rugose - Rugose means the plant is ideal for growing in a pot as the foliage is very thick and dark green and the plant is usually able to support the heavy load of tomatoes they produce.
Regular Leaf- Serrations/indentations on the leaf edge, some varieties have crinkled/puckered leaves called “rugose” and some have greyish/fuzzy foliage called “angora”.
Potato Leaf - Smooth edges on the leaf margin like true potato leaves.
Oblate - Flattened fruits
Bicolor - (Means two colors) Some varieties have fruits that have a primary mature exterior color with a blushing of pinkish red that starts at the blossom end and goes upwards. That same second color is also found distributed as swirls in the interior flesh. Varieties that have fruits that have stripes on the exterior only are not bicolors. Some white, yellow and green varieties do sometimes develop a secondary exterior blush of color, but that secondary color is usually located just at the blossom end of the flesh so they aren’t considered bicolors either. Most bicolors are gold/red ones.
We have attempted to divide the tomatoes by the color of the ripened fruit or in some cases by the principal use.
Please be advised that on occasion an off-type plant may show up. Some of these types we offer are primitive and also on occasion a seed can get mixed during the cleaning process.