Since I’m involved in growing dwarf tomatoes for Craig Lehouiller in his project, I decided to grow some of his varieties of open pollinated dwarf tomatoes that have been released to the public. I got the seeds from Victory Seeds. I’ve never grown dwarf tomatoes before. All the dwarf tomatoes will get between 3-4 feet tall and are stockier than regular tomato plants. They are indeterminate variety so the they will grow like all other indeterminate tomatoes only slower throughout the season and will be shorter. Indeterminate tomatoes keep producing fruit till it freezes. The actual tomatoes on dwarf tomatoes aren’t necessarily smaller just because the plants are. The days to harvest can go from 65-80 days depending on the dwarf variety. I am trying 10 released dwarfs plus 6 more unreleased in trials for Craig. So I am heavily invested in the dwarfs this year but I am growing some of my all-time favorites as well.
I noticed right away that the dwarf tomatoes pictured above are shorter and stockier even just after germination. I start all my tomatoes in shallow seed propagation trays on heat mats with a thermostat and under lights inside the house. Because of their shallowness, the soil heats up faster so germination is faster but you must water them 2x a day. The two taller tomato plants in the background on the left side are regular indeterminate tomatoes called Lucky Cross, which is one of my favorites but notice the height difference with the dwarfs being much shorter and stockier. For earlier post on dwarf tomatoes, go here.
short, dark and handsome!
I know what that means, but it sounds funny anyway. ‘Dwarf tomatoes’ sound like a trendy name for ‘cherry tomatoes’.
Some dwarf tomatoes are indeed cherry tomato size but many do not produce small tomatoes but are as big as some regular indeterminates out there.The sizes of the tomatoes vary just like in regular size indeterminates. This is not some trendy tomato project but has been going on for some years in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The tomato breeder (or grower), Craig Lehouiller, was the person who created the Purple Cherokee and Chocolate Cherokee which are famous tomatoes that everyone knows, so he is legit. I know there is lots of trendy stuff going on about tomatoes and lots of false info but he is not that. There are many great tomato breeders (most in the U.S.-Brad Gates from Wild Boar Farms and Fred Hempel from Baia Nicchia Farm are some of my other favorite growers) that are producing some fabulous open-pollinated tomatoes and Craig is one of them. As of now, I’m not sure any of the others are breeding dwarfs. He also created “Lucky Cross’, which is my new favorite open- pollinated indeterminate tomato (actually a monster size plant with big tomatoes). Do you grow any of the newer open-pollinated (not hybrid) tomatoes that are out there? If the answer is no, then you are losing out on some great tomatoes. I don’t know if these dwarfs are great but will post back later as the season goes on. You can check it out here to educate yourself Tony-very interesting read: https://www.craiglehoullier.com/dwarf-tomato-breeding-project/
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Thank you for sharing the link. Sadly, we do not grow as many tomatoes as we used to. My favorites were the simple old school paste tomatoes. They were so productive that we would can enough for a year, and then cut back on what we planted the following year. It took a while to get to an equilibrium. As you know, tomatoes are easy to can, but are so much better if they do not need to be canned! I do not know what was planted this year because I did not select them. They came from Love Apple Farms in Ben Lomond (although I do not know where the plants were obtained). You know, I actually did not like ‘Purple Cherokee’ much. I thought it was too rich. I did not like what it looked like either. No one else agrees of course. Did you happen to write about the Tomato Festival here in Los Gatos last summer? I have not looked for articles about it. It was a great event, but I sort of think it would have been better somewhere else, where people have a better appreciated for tomatoes and vegetables.