Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mater Samich

There is NOTHING, I said NOTHING! like a sandwich made with a garden tomato picked the same morning you receive it.

My daughter sent this one to me today. It is a heritage tomato called "Oxheart".
 I have posted about this variety in the past.   see below.

Last year they all got blossom rot, due to wetness. This year there are very few for the same reason, BUT... there are a few.

Ah! non-acidic, sweet, warm, D-licious! The meaty flesh has very few seeds. Come have supper with me. I will share.

Click for larger View and DROOL.....

In 2004~~~~~~~~~A camping friend from Pittsburgh PA gave me a couple of these. She said her dad (he was 86 then) starts them and gives her some. He was from old country, Lithuania or Czechoslovakia. She brings them to the beach in SC in September every year. I saved some seeds in 2006 and brought them back to PA. I forgot all about them until April 2007 when we were getting ready to head to SC, so I just threw my saved seeds into an outdoor container. Well when we returned in July, the container was full of tall spindly ugly tomato plants. Missy tore all out and threw them away except for four. They grew and grew in July and August and thrived. When we were preparing to head to SC in September I brought only 6 ripe ones those four plants produced. There were plenty of green ones left. Too bad. Guess the slow start hindered their growth and they matured too late. Be sure that I have saved seeds to start some more EVERY year since.
Saving the seeds so they will all germinate is a bit tricky. This is what I do:
#1 Seed Saving Method
Saving tomato seeds is a little bit more of a process but still very simple. Start by squeezing the tomato seeds and juice into a container. Leave the juice sit for a few days to begin fermenting. The fermenting process will help to remove the seeds from the gel that coats them. The fermenting seeds will sink to the bottom and the pulp will float to the top. Add water to the mixture and pour off the fluid. You will now be left with very wet tomato seeds. 
Pour these seeds onto a screen or paper towel to dry at room temperature. Running a fan over the seeds is a good idea to speed up the drying process. Store seeds in a cool dry location. My favorite way to store seeds is placing them in a sealed jar and putting them into the freezer. Seeds can be stored for a very long time this way. 
#2 Seed Saving Method (mine)
Tomatoes are surrounded by a lot of juicy material which makes it a bit more difficult to get a dry seed. But plant breeders and seed savers have their ways. Simply press or scoop out the juicy material from the tomato along with the seeds into a clear glass container. Don't add water at this point. Then let it sit a few days, stirring daily. As the mixture ferments, the good seed will settle to the bottom, with almost everything else floating. After a few days. you will get a good growth of mold on top (I didn't say it was pretty). When you are ready to collect the seed, add water and stir it up. Slowly pour off the trash on top, until the good seeds on the bottom are about to pour out. Then stop pouring, add water, and pour it off again. Repeat this process several times. Don't worry if you see a few seeds pour off, since the ones that float are usually not good anyway. Each time, you will get rid of more non-desirable materials, and the good seed on the bottom will be cleaner. When it is clean enough for you, drain off all the water and place the seeds on a paper towel to dry. (I use newspaper.)

About the Oxheart Tomato Plant
Oxheart tomatoes are large, old-fashioned, very fragrant heirlooms. Heirloom, or heritage, tomatoes have come back into fashion because they are easy to grow and pack a wallop with their production. Oxheart tomatoes come in many varieties and sizes, and their shapes are not your traditional round fruit. These tomatoes are a favorite for slicing and sandwiches.
Oxheart tomatoes come in heart, strawberry or oblong shapes. They range in color from yellow to pink to red. The oxheart tomato plant has fern-like foliage. Oxhearts are indeterminate tomatoes, which means they will grow and produce fruit until killed by frost. The plants can get as tall as 10 feet, thought most reach only 6 feet.
Oxheart tomatoes need full sun, well-drained soil and lots of fertilizer. They prefer soil with a relatively neutral pH of 6.5 to 7. Before you plant your tomatoes, add a general purpose 8-32-16 or 6-24-24 fertilizer to the soil. After planting, apply 1 lb. per 100 square feet and work it well into the upper 6 inches of soil. Because oxhearts are indeterminate, sprawling plants, they will need a tomato cage or trellising. The diameter of the cage should be at least 20 inches and up to 5 feet tall.
Lack of nutrition or lack of water will cause your oxheart vines to stop growing and flowering. Tomatoes should be watered twice per week if there is not adequate rainfall, and they should be fertilized every 10 days. If the temperature drops below 55 degrees F, oxheart tomatoes will drop their blossoms.
Oxheart tomatoes generally take from 70 to 85 days from planting to fruit harvest, depending on the variety. Check the back of your seed packet to determine exactly how long it will take.
There are many different oxhearts to choose from. Some include the Amish Paste, which has an oblong oxheart shape and grows to 8 oz.; German Red Strawberry, which are large, strawberry-shaped and slightly acidic; Japanese, a pink variety known for extra high yields and rich flavor; or Shilling Giant, which produces giant, heart-shaped red fruit with a meaty texture.

1 comment:

  1. That is sure a lot of work for a tomato. I admire your diligence in obtaining the seeds and growing the plants. I am afraid I am not that patient. My hubby loves tomotoes, but I don't think even he would be that patient for a good one.