Ok, so I gave in and bought some tomato plants; just 2. I really didn’t want to, based on last years crop and the year before that and the year before that. I’m tired of the bugs and lack of yield on my tomato plants. I was recently visiting some fellow gardening friends and the talk of tomatoes got to me. I bought some.

The variety I picked out is an heirloom plant known as “Mortgage Lifter”. Funny name but here’s the story.  I lifted the following from www.montecellocatalog.com.  Check out their seeds and stories.

In Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, written in 1781, he lists tomatoes as produce common to Virginia kitchen gardens. Jefferson grew his tomatoes at Monticello in 1809 – the first summer of his retirement – and grew them until his death.

The Mortgage Lifter tomato was developed in the early 1930’s in Logan, West Virginia by a radiator repairman, M.C. “Radiator Charlie” Byles. Without any experience in breeding, he made a successful cross of four of the largest tomatoes he could find – German Johnson, Beefsteak, an Italian variety, and an English variety. Radiator Charlie sold the first seedlings of his new tomato in the 1940’s for one dollar each to customers who drove up to 200 miles for his famous plants that bore tasty tomatoes averaging two and a half pounds. With these sales, Charlie managed to pay off his $6,000 mortgage in only six years, and so the tomato was named Mortgage Lifter.

This large, meaty, mild-flavored tomato has few seeds and is the perfect tomato-sandwich tomato. Indeterminate plants bear pinkish-red, two and a half to four pound tomatoes all summer long. The Mortgage Lifter should be started indoors six to eight weeks before the last spring frost. Sow one-quarter inch deep in flats or pots, keeping the soil mix moist, not soggy. When several leaves have developed, harden off seedlings and transplant eighteen to thirty-six inches apart in the garden. Full sun.

For now they are in a small patch in my raised bed but I’ll have to find another place for them as they are currently just 6″ apart.  Wish me luck growing tomatoes this year. 


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