Friday, August 03, 2007

Miniature Tomato Plants

I have enjoyed the first three cherry tomatoes from my semi-determinate "Sugary" grape tomato plants outside and am already worrying about my tomato-related food security come winter time. Oh yes, there are the local grocery stores, but don't we all know that store-bought tomatoes are bland and not worth the money we pay for them?

I figure that I am going to try growing tomatoes indoors again. Last year, I grew one of those random seedlings from the indoor compost pile. It got about three feet tall and then turned a strange color and died suddenly, like some tomato flesh-eating-disease had overtaken it.

This is the plan: get a dwarf plant, choose a "determinate" variety (stops growing at a genetically predetermined size), and grow it under lights in the basement.

I was taken by this novelty tomato: "Micro Tom" 'World's smallest tomato variety,' developed by Drs., J.W. Scott and B.K. Harbaugh at the University of Florida. Grows 5 to 8 inches tall in a 4 inch pot bearing flavorful miniature tomatoes about the size of salad croutons. Plants are truly diminutive and wonderful for patios, windowsills or garden borders. Determinate. 85 days from seed.

A popular garden blogger in Cleveland, Ohio has pictures of Micro Tom in a container, but doesn't say what her yield was like. Other gardeners complain it has poor yield and taste. Micro Tom was released for home gardens in 1989 and since then, Dr. Scott has also produced Micro-Gold (1995), Micro-Gemma (1999), and Micro-Tina(1999). Micro-Tina is sweeter flavoured than Micro-Tom. Unfortunately, the newer types are not yet commercially available.

"Red Robin" is a bit bigger plant. I might try that one out as well and compare them. Does anybody have a favourite dwarf tomato for indoor growth under lights?

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