The Dry Garden: Heirlooms by trial and error

Posted on | July 3, 2010 | No Comments

A tomato left to rot in the garden last summer resulted this spring in my eating ripe homegrown heirloom tomatoes by Memorial Day instead of the normal harvest time around the Fourth of July. A fruit dropped in mulch sprouted in October rain, did nicely through winter storms and then, with some watering since May, the vines have been yielding what I’ve decided must be Cherokee Purple tomatoes for going on a month. In terms of flavor, they’re not Black Krims. No other tomato is. The word online is that Cherokee Purples rival Brandywines. That is true. In other words, they’re good enough that, with heirloom tomatoes of this quality costing $3 a pound in farmers markets, I thought I might be on to manna for readers. So I rang UC Davis’ C.M. Rick Tomato Genetics Resource Center to ask why every gardener in Southern California doesn’t plant tomatoes with their poppies — in the fall.

Click here to keep reading this week’s “The Dry Garden” column in the Los Angeles Times.

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