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Italian Heirloom Tomato Seeds

Italian Heirloom Tomato

50 Seeds

$ 2.79

One of the best dual-purpose tomatoes around

  • Meaty & coreless with few seeds
  • Excellent flavor
  • Great sweet/acid balance
  • Great for canning and slicing
  • Good resistance to drought


(Solanum lycopersicum) It's excellent flavor and meatiness make Italian Heirloom one of the best dual-purpose tomatoes around. When I first grew this variety in the extreme drought of 2012, I thought I would never grow it again. Early on, it always seemed to look thirsty with its leaves often rolled and droopy. However later in the season, Italian Heirloom produced nice yields of large near-perfect tomatoes while other varieties suffered from extreme blossom end rot (a calcium deficiency that is worsened by drought). It turned out that my initial impressions were wrong, Italian heirloom had been coping with the drought stress while the others were chugging along as if everything were fine. I learned an important lesson in plant physiology that summer and thanks to Italian Heirloom we had plenty of canned tomatoes that winter. 85 days to harvest. 50 seeds/pkt.


CULTURE: Tomatoes perform best in well-drained soil that contains plenty of organic matter and adequate phosphorous and calcium.  Ensure that the planting site receives at least 6 hours of daily sunlight.  Tomatoes require about two inches of water per week, otherwise fruit may become prone to developing blossom end rot.  Mulching plants with poly, paper, or natural materials will ensure consistent moisture throughout the root zone, especially during dry periods. 

SOWING: For earliest harvest, start seeds indoors 6 weeks before the last frost.  Sow seeds 1/4" deep in well-moistened, sterile seed-starting mix.  The ideal temperature for tomato seed germination is 80 degrees.  For best results, place a growers heat mat beneath trays until germination has occurred.  Under ideal conditions, germination should occur in 7-10 days.  Water only as needed, as watering cools the soil and encourages fungal growth.

TRANSPLANTING: After danger of frost has passed, set transplants 30-36" apart in rows 48-60" apart.  To encourage strong roots, pinch off all but the top three leaves and bury the bottom two-thirds of the plant.  Ensure that plants receive 2" of water per week.  Avoid over-application of nitrogen as this can cause vegetative growth at the expense of fruit set.

INSECT PESTS: Biological controls such as Bacillus thuringiensis can be effective in controlling climbing cutworms and tomato hornworms.  Flea beetles, and other hard-shelled insects can be controlled with a simple homemade insecticidal soap solution.

DISEASES AND PROBLEMS: Contact your local university extension office to learn which tomato diseases are most prevalent in your area.  To prevent common tomato diseases like Septoria leaf spot, anthracnose, tomato wilt and blight, avoid watering plants at night or on cool, cloudy days.  Watering from below the canopy, mulching, and ensuring ample space between plants can also slow the spread of disease.  Finally, removing plant litter in the fall along with proper crop rotation and tillage will further limit the spread of disease.  Blossom end rot is a common issue caused by calcium deficiency and/or insufficient water intake.  Excess nitrogen and/or insufficient phosphorous can cause tomato plants to become bushy and produce few blossoms. 

HARVEST AND STORAGE:  For best flavor and texture, allow tomatoes to remain on the vine as long as possible.  If any fall before they have ripened, place them in a paper bag or wrap them in newspaper and set in a cool, dark place, stem side up, until fully ripened.  Tomatoes should not be refrigerated as it inhibits flavor-enhancing enzyme activity and contributes to an unpleasant, mealy texture. 

SAVING SEEDS:  Tomatoes are inbreeding plants with self-fertilization usually occurring before flowers have opened.  Therefore, measures to control cross pollination are usually not necessary.  Reports of outcrossing in tomatoes range from 0 to 5 percent, with substantially higher rates seen in potato-leaved cultivars.  Varieties with larger tomatoes are more prone to outcrossing because their large flowers are more open and the stigma may extend beyond the flower.  For this same reason, seeds should never be saved from double fruit of any variety.  Examine the stigma length of a particular variety to determine whether flowers will need to be bagged to prevent outcrossing.  If needed, inexpensive organza bags, like those used for wedding favors, can be placed over blossoms until nascent fruit appear. Bags should then be removed and the fruit tagged.  To harvest seeds, cut fully ripened tomatoes in half and squeeze seeds and pulp into a container.  Cover with mesh and let sit until a layer of white fungus covers the surface (about 3-5 days.)  Fill container with cold water, stirring until seeds settle on the bottom.  Pour off water and pulp.  Repeat until seeds are clean.  Dry on a coffee filter.

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