SNEAK PEEK! 20 new Locally Grown Heirloom Tomatoes You’ll Find in Prairie Gardens Greenhouses This Spring

They’re bursting with flavor and locally grown by Sean Williams. Learn about the flavorful varieties, plus get growing tips from the grower himself! 




around the 3rd week of April

Why Grow Heirloom Tomatoes?

Why go Heirloom? Because they taste better! Flavor has been scarified in many commercial varieties in order to produce on a large scale. Heirloom tomatoes have superior flavor offerings with over 400 flavor compounds. They also come in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes and can be used for many different purposes. More flavor. More options. Win, Win.

Determinate from Indeterminate…What does it mean?

Determinate varieties are compact and grow in a bush-like form, with most of the crop ripening all at the same time. They are great for those who like to have a large supply of ripe fruit all at once. These are often best for patios or potted containers, because of their bush-lick, compact growth habit. 

Indeterminate varieties grow larger than Determinate varieties (typically around 6′) on a vining stem and produce fruit all growing season.

Semi-Determinate varieties are stuck right in the middle. They’re smaller than Indeterminate varieties, but larger than Determinate varieties. And while they product a main crop that ripens all at once, they also continue to produce through out the growing season.

Planting & Transplanting Tips

The best time to plant your tomatoes is when soil temperatures reach 55–60 degrees, which is typically around Mid-May for our area.

Plant on a cloudy, wind-free day or late-afternoon.

Dig a shallow hole a little deeper than the root ball. Remove 2 of the bottom leaves.

Fill with soil and mulch with straw, newspaper or plastic mulch. 

More Quick Growing Tips

Rotate Your Tomato Crops to prevent most nematodes and fungi from multiplying. Just make sure that you choose species and cultivars that do not harbor the particular pest you’re trying to control.

Prepare your soil with soil solarization (placing a dark tarp on top of your soil out in the hot sun) will kill off many more nematodes, fungi, and disease.

Use consistent watering, well-drained soil and mulching to keep your tomato plants as healthy and vibrant as they can be. Make sure to water from the base of your plants to help avoid disease.

Add compost to your tomato bed to help improve your soil year over year. This includes worm castings and fully composted manure.

Be proactive when you see signs of disease. If you plants show any signs of disease, get the out of your garden as soon as possible. Do not re-incorporate tomato plants or diseased plant matter into the soil at the end of the season. Compost from a tomato and eggplant can give rise to new diseases and will just infect your next crop, so it is best to either burn it or throw it away.

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