11.02.2011

Heirloom Tomatoes: Stupice -- Seedlings


As I mentioned a few weeks ago I'm currently undertaking a research project, growing Heirloom tomatoes as a food crop in my Vegetable Production class.  This project is very close to my heart and has two aims: #1 - to demonstrate that Heirloom tomatoes are a viable alternative greenhouse crop, equal to or even better than commercial hybrid tomatoes for a variety of reasons while busting some of the myths about growing Heirloom vegetables.  #2 - to experience growing a vegetable crop organically in a production setting, using peat moss / worm casting soil mixtures and compost tea fertilizers.

We chose to use TreeandTwig's Stupice seed because this lil round tomato is rumoured to be a real workhorse - a prolific producer with long and high yields of sweet, red and very uniform fruit.  The plant itself is vigorous, tolerant to cool temperatures and naturally resistant to a number of pests/diseases and ripening disorders.  Stupice is also consistently a favourite during taste tests.  All these criteria make it a great choice for our research project :)  If you want, you can read my entire Cultivar Selection proposal here

We sowed two rounds of seeds on October 15th and 25th into Ellepots: paper wrapped peat moss "pots" that are biodegradable, so you just transplant them straight into the final container!  The Ellepots are open on the bottom, which means great air circulation and encourages rooting :)  The earlier ones are just showing their first set of true leaves and the later ones have just germinated and are still emerging under a "mini-propagation dome" (upside down tupperware with a few holes drilled into it)  They look so great and healthy .. I'm super super super excited!  I find it almost magical watching hard work translate into something that's alive and growing :)

Heirloom Tomato Growers Resource Manual
I wanted to share some of the great resources I found while researching this project.  I printed these ones out into plastic sleeves, to make a growers manual we can reference and pass onto the next crops class.  I also have tons of links to more in-depth research papers, if anyone is interested feel free to contact me.

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