Growing-In-Place Cherry Tomato
60 days. This juicy, currant type, deep red, round tomato is the size of a small cherry sporting mouth-popping, bold flavor. It was a real hit at our local HomeGrown Festival 2014. Perfect in salads and kids love them! Plants are vigorous and yield large quantities of clustered fruits all summer long. This fabulous tomato has been home to Michigan since the 1990s. It was given to us by Anne Elder of Community Farm of Ann Arbor. The seed was given to her by Laura DeLind who founded the former “Growing In Place” CSA farm in Mason, Michigan in 1995 for which Anne named the tomato. In 1998 Laura received these tomatoes from her friend Gail and she loved the taste so much that she saved the seeds. Indeterminate. NN
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Growing Instructions (for USDA Zone 5b):
Start tomato seeds inside at least 6 weeks before last frost (around 4/1). Ideal temperature for germination is 85° (use a heating mat). Days to germination: 5-14. Once leaves appear, grow plants at 72°. Plant seedlings outside late May into fertile garden soil (with lots of compost or decomposed manure) at a spacing of 18” apart. Stake tomato plants. Tomatoes are susceptible to several fungal diseases (including Early and Late Blight and Verticillium Wilt). To prevent blight, keep foliage dry by 1) Pruning tomato plants to allow for good air circulation 2) Water with drip irrigation/soaker hoses. Crop rotation is also key to preventing tomato diseases. Ideally, plant tomato plants in a spot that has not had any Solanaceae crops (tomato, peppers, eggplant, potatoes) growing there for 4 years. Frequent watering will help to minimize cracking of tomatoes.
Harvest when fully deep red colored and fruit is somewhat soft when squeezed. Pick individual tomatoes and eat asap, or to avoid splitting fruit when picking, clip entire clusters and store “on the vine” until ready to use.
Seed Saving Instructions (for gardeners):
Tomatoes are relatively easy seed-saving crops. They are primarily self-pollinated but may be crossed pollinated by insects when different tomatoes varieties are planted next to one another. You can just save seed and see what you get! Isolation distance of 10ft will minimize crossing while 150’ is necessary to eliminate it. Always harvest seed from the best plants. It is best, but not totally necessary, to collect seeds from a minimum of 6 plants. Collect very ripe tomatoes, cut and squeeze out seeds. See instructions for fermenting seeds. Rinse and dry seeds on a screen.
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One of the most popular vegetables, the domestic tomato (Lycopericon esculentum) in what is now southern Mexico. In the early 1500s, Spanish conquistadores found it in this region, where the Aztecs called it “tomatl” (“swelling fruit”). Genetic profiling carried out at Cornell University has dispelled the common thought that weedy cherry tomato plants were the “parents” of cultivated types: in fact, cherry tomatoes are shown to be a mix of wild and domestic types. Hernán Cortés brought the cultivated tomatoes back to Spain before it trickled into Italy, where plants were grown mainly as garden ornaments but not widely eaten, for they were often feared poisonous! British colonies and the United States did not start accepting tomatoes as food crops until the 19th century, when they began to be widely cultivated. Growing-In-Place tomato came to us from Anne Elder and Paul Bantle of Community Farm of Ann Arbor. They have been growing and saving seeds of this tomato since around 2000. They received this fabulous tomato from Michigan State University Anthroplogy professor Laura DeLind, who founded the former “Growing In Place” community farm in Mason, Michigan in 1995. Anne named the tomato after the farm. We reached out to Laura DeLind who told us her story regarding the tomato. In 1998 Laura received tomatoes from her friend Gail and she loved the taste so much that she saved the seeds. She named the tomato “Gail’s Tiny” and has also been growing it ever since. Thanks to Laura and Community Farm for preserving this amazing variety!