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Posted on 17 May 2009 by

Plant a Rainbow Tomato Garden

Heirloom Tomatos in 2 Minutes - TomatoCasual.comBy Vanessa Richins

When many people think of tomatoes, they think red, or perhaps green.

However, there’s a whole rainbow of colors available to the tomato lover.

If you have room for 9 tomato plants, you can have your own rainbow tomato garden. I’ve tried to include a selection of different sizes and seasons.

For red, I’ve chosen an intriguing mid-season cherry/paste tomato. Named ‘Britain’s Breakfast’, you’ll be sure to have lots of little red tomatoes for snacking, salads and more.

Being dark pink isn’t distinctive enough for the mid-season ‘Pink Accordion’. It also lives up to its name by having Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 11 May 2009 by

Tomato Types By Size

tomato-typeBy Vanessa Richins

There’s a lot of terms to learn when you venture into the world of tomatoes.

You have to learn the difference between determinate and indeterminate, try to figure out what VFN means, and debate the merits of hybrid versus heirloom.

When you are picking out the varieties of tomatoes you would like to grow, it is important to determine the size of tomato you would like to harvest. Are you looking for bite size morsels or large tomatoes to slice for sandwiches?

Here are the most common tomato types you will come across while poring over seed catalogs or visiting the local nursery:


These are the smallest tomatoes – about the size of a pea. These tiny bursts of goodness are good for garnishing, salads, and for amusing children.


Grape tomatoes are oblong, like a Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 30 March 2009 by

My Parent’s New Tomatoes

tomato-storiesBy Vanessa Richins

I think they got the idea after watching the Topsy-Turvy on TV.

My parents announced that they wanted to try growing tomatoes using the upside-down method this year.

I showed them the post about it here on Urban Garden Casual.

We kept saying that we were going to get them started (since they live in Southern California, time of year doesn’t matter as much), but didn’t get around to it.

I finally got the urge to visit the nursery to buy the tomato plants. I instantly zeroed in to where the heirloom tomatoes were located.

It was a bit frustrating since they had signs proclaiming that there were about 30 different heirloom varieties, but many of them were not actually there. I was hoping to try Mortgage Lifter and Mr. Stripey, among others. In the end, I found 4 heirlooms and 2 hybrids to take home to the folks.

Black Krim
When you get into the world of Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 10 October 2008 by

Black Prince Tomatoes

By Kira Hamman

There has been considerable buzz this summer (admittedly in some pretty esoteric circles) about the Black Prince tomato, a Siberian heirloom originally from Irkutsk.

Since I’m in favor of anything that allows me to use the word “Irkutsk” in casual conversation, I decided to look into it.

A number of garden bloggers, including RKayne at GardenGuides and Kathy at Skippy’s Vegetable Garden, not to mention Tomato Casual’s own Michael Nolan, have raved about Black Prince.

They all say its striking beauty and intense flavor make it a favorite. Well, that’s enough to pique my interest.

Plenty of chefs are smitten with Black Prince too. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 24 July 2008 by

Abraham Lincoln Tomatoes

By Kira Hamman

Springfield, Illinois

There is a story, no doubt apocryphal, that Abraham Lincoln’s cooks tried to poison him using a dish made of tomatoes.

They failed, of course, and tomatoes not only became one of Lincoln’s favorite foods but became wildly popular with the American public as well.

There’s justice for you.

But the real story of Abraham Lincoln and tomatoes is, of course, the Abraham Lincoln tomato. Introduced in 1923 by the H.W. Buckbee seed company of Rockford, Illinois, Abe Lincoln soon became an R.H. Shumway variety. It was billed as “the largest tomato ever grown,” appropriate given its namesake’s famous height. Shumway claimed Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 14 April 2008 by

Tomatoes in the White House

Abraham Lincoln TomatoBy Michael Nolan

You know you’ve accomplished something when you have a tomato named after you.

Okay, so maybe that wouldn’t be such a big deal to anyone other than the tomato centric, but the Abraham Lincoln heirloom tomato would be just as impressive by any name.

The original variety was first introduced in 1923 by W.H. Buckbee who is responsible for naming it after Illinois’ favorite son, good ol’ Honest Abe.

This hearty heirloom plant produces tremendous crops of extra large fruit that is ideal for organic gardeners thanks to its natural disease resistant properties.

Here are a few more interesting facts about the Abraham Lincoln original heirloom tomato, most based on my own experience with it: Read the rest of this entry »


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