Brandywine tomatoes are a heirloom tomato which has that good old-fashioned tomato taste. I have grown Brandywine Tomatoes for 2 years now. This fall, as I was cleaning out my tomato vines I found these two beauties (in the pic on the right) nestled in the leaves. I had already harvested my Brandywine tomatoes maybe 2 months ago. And then I had proceeded to cut out all the vines because they were diseased with early blight and I wanted to stop it spreading. A master gardener diagnosed the early blight.
Little did I realize that I had missed some of the vines and these 2 tomatoes were growing unbeknownst to me. So I had a delightful surprise when I found them. They are really delicious and full-flavored tomatoes. They remind me of the tomatoes my father used to grow when I was a kid before the extensive use of hybrids.
Growing these tomatoes has been somewhat problematic for me because they grow a beautiful first level of large tomatoes and then they stop producing so after I harvested the first group I did not expect any more so I didn’t even look for any. Besides I thought I had cut out all the Brandywine vines.
I wrote to the extension service last year about this problem of only growing a first level of tomatoes and got this reply:
“There may be several reasons for blossom drop and failure to fruit and flower such as: High and low temperatures, excessive nitrogen, limited sunlight, initial heavy flower set, botrytis (gray mold) if excessive moisture and overhead watering. See our tomato publication University of Maryland Extension Tomatoes”
So I didn’t really figure out what was wrong because their response included so many variables. After speaking to the master gardener who diagnosed the early blight, I learned that I should get more tomatoes from one plant than I had been getting. So I was very delighted and surprised when I discovered these two “extra tomatoes”. And then 2 weeks later I discovered 2 more like these! So that was really great!
More on early blight in my next post…