Climbers & Keepers


“CLIMBING” VARIETIES:

This section is devoted to tomato varieties that go out of their way to provide us with bountiful crops. There is no such thing as a “climbing” tomato, but after you grow one of these you will understand why they are termed as “Climbers”. It is quite common for vigorous vines to reach 6 ft. or more. These listed here are capable of travel far beyond that! Allow these to cover some surface or provide support, where the fruits can hang down, ready for you to harvest. Be warned, some fruits may need support too!

Will remain online for educational purposes. Operating on a “Hobby” basis.

Occasionally we may have “extra” seed. Pkts. found below will be $2.50. If nothing marked…then it is “N/A”.

  1. Bearo – from my friend Micky. A lot packed into this chubby (2-4 oz) plum shaped red fruit! Has excellent acidic flavor (perfect for canning/freezing…) combined with high yields and produces over a long period of time. The virtue of this one…is that it is capable of growing over 12 feet long! A climber, to be used to shade a deck or veranda! Keep roots cool mulched, moist and well fed. It has a lot of work to do! Ind. 75 days   Pkt…$2.50
  2. Climbing-Trip-L-Crop – (aka Italian Tree) There appear to be several varieties, laying claim to this famous name. Their claim is its ability to grow vines to 15 feet by season’s end. Each plant can produce tons of fruits (forms of huge beefsteaks…), some of them reaching 1 to 3 lb plus! Fruits are mild-flavored, sweet, rich and meaty with few seeds. Ind. 75-90 days Ex: 1) “Climbing Pink” – regular leaf, pink 4-6oz, good yield, great flavor. 2) “Climbing Trip-L-Crop Pink” – large 12oz beefsteaks, long season production, fruits have 12 seed cavities, flesh is sweet, texture is succulent to creamy. Reg. leaf. 3) “Climbing Trip-L-Crop Burgess” – obtained from S. S. Ex. Large pink beefsteaks on tall vines. 4)Climbing Trip-L-Crop (Red)” – largest of all, with fruits reaching 2 lbs, vermilion red. 5) “Trip-L-Crop” – Potato-leafed plants bearing pink flattened globes of 10-12oz (5” x 3.5”) 6) “Pink Climber” – Potato-leafed, large seeded, 10-16oz pink fruits. From Rosella Richardson. In 2014, mine were: very productive, huge deep pink/rose fruits on large plants of 7 feet.     Pkt…$2.50
  3. Lunch Bucket – Back for 2017! unknown history. Small red fruits are perfect for children’s lunch boxes, about (4-5oz.) Flavor is unusual…spicy and salty at the same time. (maybe better for “big” children, than for small children) Plants are very productive and vigorous…growing to 8 feet! This variety is unusually early for such a tall one. Ind. 67 days    Pkt…$2.50
  4. Radio – from Roger & Dorcus Brown, Winnipeg, Manitoba with many thanks.

LONG KEEPERS:

Here is a novel group of tomatoes that will extend your tomato season by several months and still taste better than any “store bought” tomatoes. The majority of them start out later (reserving their energy….) than most, to ensue that a good crop is available to the grower at season’s end. Be sure to try a few.
To prepare: (It would benefit to put some type of mulch around the base of the plant while growing, so fruits stay clean and free of soil bacteria.) The ideal ones are those showing some amber tones. Always select the very best (no cracks or blemishes) of your crop for preserving. Find a low edged cardboard box and lay paper towel to soften the area, on which they are placed. Do not wash the fruits unless they are horrifically dirty. Just like the chicken’s egg, nature provides a fine natural protective coating (… a natural preservative???) on the skin’s surface to slow down decay.

Lay the fruits, in one row on the paper towel. (Some folks wrap each individual fruit with newsprint.) Would be a good idea, if you have a lot, to experiment with both methods… naked or wrapped! Place them in a tray in a “windy” area (here, I mean a slow, slow fan to circulate the air) preferably at an angle to. Temperature for proper storage should be gently cool. Humidity ideally should be less than 50%. Try not to have any apples nearby as they release a gas that causes almost anything placed beside them to ripen too quickly! Return to the tray every few days to monitor the process and remove those tomatoes that become too soft or show rot, as these will ruin the whole batch! Good Luck!

Note: Tomatoes may not appear ripe on the outside (…not bright red…) are often ripe on the inside and ready to use. Best to do the “touch” test…if it gives slightly under thumb pressure. Get to know the “finished/ripe look” of individual varieties…as they vary greatly.

One can never have too many Long Keepers for wintering over!

Will remain online for educational purposes. Operating on a “Hobby” basis.

Occasionally we may have “extra” seed. Pkts. found below will be $2.50. If nothing marked…then it is “N/A”.

  1. Giallo a Grappoli – Back for 2017! According to a source, these are a “winter keeping” type. [According to another experienced gardener who has trialed them, they did not do as well as claimed. She also indicated that they bore a thick and slightly tough skin….Kim Langen, Jan./Feb. 2013 Small Farm Canada magazine] However having said that, their photo (Solana Seeds...) indicated a beautiful 1″ yellowish/reddish/orange cherry type. They also said that these will not taste well until AFTER they have “cured” a while. […A specialty variety that is kept hung in Italy for winter use….reported to keep well for months. They recommend eating these once they turn clear yellow on compact vines] My interest is their small plant structure and unique coloration. Trial 2013: Indeed these were a smallish “winter keeping” type! Smooth skinned fruits are over-sized 2″ golf balls. Plants are huge…5 ft., no small plants here! Production was awesome. And as I speak (Oct 20, 2013) they are only now starting to show some color…which is a light pale orange. They are definitely not ready to taste and I probably wouldn’t try them till months down the road! If it wasn’t for the -4C this past week, I would still have them outside on the vines. Definitely fit for long term storage & in my collection for uniqueness. (Mar.14, 2014..WOW! Fruits continue to look marvelous! Tasted several and they are red inside and very delicious! I think they will last even longer!) Re-trialed for taste in 2016…Nov. 20th, Hubby loves them, as they are a beautiful orange red inside and quite delicious!     Pkt…$2.50
  2. Green-Skinned Long Keeper – preserved by members of the US, S. S. Ex. Regular leafed variety that is quite productive for a storage type. Thick skinned (7-8 oz.) round beefsteak-type, flatter than usual, bearing light green and white gently striped skin. Will last a long time in storage, if picked almost ripe and kept cool & dry, with some air movement to prevent spoilage. Flesh is deeper pink and tasty. Plants do not grow too tall…about 30″. Ind. 90 days
  3. Keepsake (orig.) – (? hyb.“long keeper”)  tomato which has great flavor, when picked vine-ripe. You can keep fruits at room temperature for 6 plus weeks without decreasing temperature to ensure best quality. Orange scarlet, medium to large “heavy” fruits with great juice, thick walls and thick skin. One unusual trait…80% offered a large nipple on their blossom ends. Plants are bush-type (less than 30″tall) and offer very high yields for such small plants. Fruits come on mid season and continue to produce till frost, ripening evenly overall, compared to other “long keepers”. Determinate 76 days   
  4. Keepsake (M’s) – As above, de-hybridizd, reselected and saved. There are still some variations here that need to be worked with, but improved store and flavor have been noted. Fruits are still very scarlet red and large. I will only offer seed from this version and encourage seed savers to move forward on it. Plants continue to be on the short side, typical of long storage varieties.    Pkt…$2.50
  5. Long Keeper – famous for its storage ability. This was my first attempt at trialing storage tomatoes (1995). The color of these was quit different than anything I ever saw. Even the foliage was darker green, plentiful, ”hairy” and rugose than regular varieties. If picked ripe in late fall (before any frosts threaten…) and stored properly, most fruits can last thru the winter, without change in flavor. Ripe peel is lite golden orange/red, (mottled….) while flesh is medium red. Taste is moderate, leaning more to the acidic side. Determinate 78 days  
  6. Long Keeper (?Golden) – New for 2017! This one came at me out of nowhere. Seed was obtained from PGS (Sask) and I have never had this color from this variety…only red. So here sits a deep golden variety that came in a little more earlier than the others, which tells me…something was going on. However flavor is very good. Worthwhile to take and work with it…crossing back to some orig. reds of this line and see what happens!   Pkt…$2.50
  7. Mystery Keeper – an outstanding storage tomato, in a light orange translucent color. In my garden trials, this one was out of this world. Plants were barely 30″ tall, with deep green Rugose style leaves & several trusses, each offering close to 10 or more fruits on each! Try harvesting before all the fruits turn color and just before any serious frosts damage them. They will ripen slowly from this point on and keep for weeks. Hunter friends ate some of these in December and were impressed by their great flavor. Some may not appear ripe on the outside, but maybe ripe on the inside. When cut open, insides were quite red in color, compared to the outside. As late as Feb.4th, 2012…still have 5 tomatoes looking good, in a plate on the kitchen table! Determinate 80 days   Pkt…$2.50
  8. Rev. Marrow LongKeeper – (aka ? Rev. Marrow Peach) Back for 2017! According to sources, this variety was selected out by Merlyn Neidens and that the original seed came Rev. C. Frank Marrow, ? from Northern Illinois. A late producing “keeping” peach (furry?) variety with light ( orange/red) tones that slowly ripen from the inside out. Flesh will appear pink/orange when fully ripe. Fruits can reach 10 oz and are very roundish. Plants in 2016, grew to only 4ft and were heavy producers. Fruits also produced right up until the cold crept in, which was quite late this year ’16.   Det.   Pkt…$2.50
  9. Ruby Treasure – firm medium-sized fruits that keep well into the winter. This one (of two…) was bred by Tim Peters of Peters Seed & Research Co. Will develop early enough to produce some vine-ripe, so you have some to taste, before you put the rest into storage. These will turn red and soft, much earlier than other “keepers”. Flavor is the best of all. Determinate 75 days
  10. Winter Gold Keeper – here is the other variety bred by Tim Peters of Peters Seed & Research Co. An improved version of the “Long Keepers”. In my trials of 2012, I vote this one my next favorite ! As I sit here updating website additions and deletions, a basket of them still sit pretty on my kitchen table! (January 29th) Yellow/green on the outside (changing to a clear deep yellow as it ages…) with pale pink on the inside when ripe. 4 to 6oz (the smallest in our collection…) flattish, round fruits born on regular-leafed plants. Growers have remarked how much prettier than the others these look. (…see photos on Flickr…) 91 days     Pkt…$2.50
  11. Yellow Fleshed Red Interior – (aka Yellow Out Red In) Honestly, I can’t get enough of long keeper varieties and here is another, just to prove that there are literally 100’s of these out there. (At one time I thought there was only half a dozen) Yellow thick walled fruits, where the interior changes completely to a rosy red! A 6 to 8 oz smooth globe, blemish & crack free, long keeper with excellent flavor and juice. Plants are semi-determinate, reaching about 3 feet. 93 days