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100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden (Smith & Hawken)
Synopses & Reviews
Preserved by families, collected by seed savers, passed around among farmers, heirloom tomatoes are now being sought out by more and more home gardeners as an alternative to the bland sameness of commercial hybrids. And happily, these growers are discovering that heirlooms are not only vastly more flavorful, but are just as hardy and easy to cultivate as the hybrids.
Dr. Carolyn J. Male, who has raised more than a thousand heirloom tomatoes, here presents 100 consistently top-performing varieties for North American gardeners. There are red tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, green, orange, purple, and even black tomatoes--like Black from Tula, with green shoulders and a dusky rose-black coloring. There are cherry tomatoes, too--try Martino's Roma, a paste with spectacular yield and built-in tolerance of blossom end rot. For every gardener, no matter how experienced, here's everything you need to know to grow and harvest tomatoes with real taste.
Book News Annotation:
Tomato aficionado and professor of microbiology Dr. Male provides a detailed analysis of 100 heirloom tomatoes, with observations ranging from their foliage type and productivity to nuances of flavor. Includes chapters on tomato culture and seed-saving, with excellent color photographs.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Tomatoes have always been far and away the most popular plant in the vegetable garden, and today the class act among tomatoes is the heirloom varieties--those vegetables with a past that go back generations, their seeds preserved and passed down among families, friends, and dedicated farmers. And no one knows heirloom tomatoes like Carolyn Male, a biologist who's grown more than a thousand varieties in the last 14 years. Following the lush and practical format of 100 English Roses for the American Garden (with 57,000 copies in print), 100 Heirloom Tomatoes is a thorough how-to and a stunningly photographed field guide. It covers every facet of growing heirlooms, from selecting the right varieties for your zone and type of garden to timing and planting of seeds, transplanting, hardening off, staking vs. caging, fertilizing, and more. There's a section on how to become a seed saver and even how to do crosses that will lead to creating your own heirlooms. Then comes the tasty part: Aunt Ginny's Purple and Amish Paste, Redfield Beauty, Green Zebra, Georgia Streak and the Santa Clara Canner. Fluted, scalloped, flattened, or lobed--white, pink, red, orange, gold, or chocolate brown--sweet to tart, mild to strong, perfumed and fruity to dark and smoky--now these are tomatoes with real character.
Drippy, delicious, mouthwatering taste. That's what heirloom tomatoes are all about. From seeds carefully collected and passed down through generations, heirlooms reinvigorate the garden--and captivate the gardener--with their beguiling flavors, their wild variety of shapes and colors, and their enchanting histories.
100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden covers every facet of raising these nearly lost treasures, including when to plant seeds and transplant seedlings, ways to prevent foliage diseases, cultivation, propagation, and more.
Following the step-by-step how-to is a stunningly photographed and comprehensive field guide to 100 tried-and-true heirloom varieties, from the spicy Green Grape--the only true ripe-when-green cherry tomatoe-- to Omar's Lebanese--a superbly flavored pink beefsteak that can grow as large as four pounds.
About the Author
Carolyn J. Male, Ph.D., is a professor of microbiology at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York. She is also a major voice on AOL's tomato forum, and an author whose articles appear in Kitchen Gardening, The American Cottage Gardener, and The Historical Gardener. Dr. Male scientifically--and lovingly--has raised more than a thousand different varieties of heirloom tomatoes in her zone 5 garden in upstate New York.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Kent Whealy
Preface: Cultivating an Heirloom Tomato Obsession
ORIGINS OF THE TOMATO
What Is an Heirloom Tomato Variety?
Classification of Heirloom Tomatoes
SELECTING HEIRLOOM TOMATO VARIETIES
GROWING HEIRLOOM TOMATOES
Siting the Garden
Sprawling, Staking, Caging, and Pot Culture
Fermenting Tomato Seed
How to Ferment Seeds
CREATING YOUR OWN HEIRLOOM TOMATOES
Selecting for a New Variety
Dehybridizing a Naturally Created Heirloom Variety
Dehybridizing a Known Commercial Hybrid
Genetic Traits for Selection
How Many Plants Do I Have to Grow Out?
Tomato Traits and Genetics
FIELD GUIDE TO 100 HEIRLOOM TOMATOES
Commercial Sources for Seeds and Books
Seed Sources for Individual Varieties
What Our Readers Are Saying