This post is brought to you by Seeds of Change Save the Flavors.
Have you ever tried a Cherokee Purple heirloom tomato before? If you answered no to that question, then you need to read on. If you answered yes then you know exactly why you need this beautiful heirloom in your garden. I asked my husband to explain to be me what the flavor was like, after he first responded with an expletive awesome, he explained to me that it has a very loud taste and that a tomato connoisseur would greatly appreciate them. But did you know, that like endangered animals, there are certain fruits and vegetables that are starting to disappear? One of those is the Cherokee Purple tomato. But you can help change that, Seeds of Change has launched an initiative to Save the Flavors to help share this information and even send you free seeds to grow your own.
We started growing heirloom tomatoes a few years ago, and in that time we have found there are a few tips to keep them healthy and active.
How to grow Cherokee Purple Tomatoes
The first thing to remember is that they need lots of space. These plants get very large if they have all the proper growing conditions. You can also grow them in a big pot if you don't have space in your yard.
Make sure you plant them in tilled, incorporated soil. It can be soil that has fertilizer already mixed into the dirt or good compost that it tilled into the existing soil. Because we live in Georgia, we have to deal with Georgia red clay which is a pain because it's so thick. Our second year of gardening, we made our plot bigger and brought in organic soil. Which is just soil that hasn't been treated with any chemicals or fertilizers. We then added our compost in and tilled it all together.
Our garden sits on a slight slope in our backyard. This slope helps to drain off any extra water from the soil. We build up rows as well. Cherokee Purple's love well-drained soil. It gets the ground moist but not soggy.
Make sure you place your tomato in a sunny spot. They need 8-10 hours a day of sunlight.
The next thing you'll want to remember is that the Cherokee Purple plant gets really big (and the tomatoes are thick) so you will need a strong cage and a way to tie them up.
Pick your tomatoes off the vine when it's plump and the skin looks smooth and waxy. All tomatoes are best ripened on the vine but if it gets to big, you can harvest and ripen on the windowsill. You'll know they are ripe by their beautiful purple color.
My husband likes to eat his fresh and with nothing on them. They are that good, but in case you need some inspiration of what to eat them with, you can check out these great recipes.
So go and grab your Seeds of Change Cherokee Purple tomatoes and get to growing!
photo credit: Foodlander: Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomatoes