Best Storage Tomatoes: How To Grow Long Keeper Tomatoes
By: Amy Grant
Tomato growers and devotees of the fruit find themselves longing for a fresh from the vine tomato in late fall and winter. Fear not, fellow tomato aficionados, there is a storage tomato called the Long Keeper. What is a Long Keeper tomato? If you’re interested in growing Long Keeper tomatoes, read on to find out how to grow Long Keeper tomatoes and about Long Keeper tomato care.
What is a Long Keeper Tomato?
Long Keeper tomatoes are storage tomatoes grown specifically to be stored so they can be enjoyed in the early winter. While there are not many to choose from, there are several varieties of storage tomatoes. These include the Red October, Garden Peach, Reverend Morrows, and Irish Eyes Long Keeper.
Long Keepers are a semi-determinate tomato that takes 78 days to harvest. The fruit is harvested before frost when it is a pale blush and stored at room temperature until ripened into a red-orange about 1 ½-3 months post-harvest.
How to Grow Long Keeper Tomatoes
Unlike other tomatoes that are usually seeded by March, Long Keeper seeds should be started in early May. Prepare a bed in full sun for the tomatoes by turning it to work in left over plant material and allow it to decay. This may take 4-6 weeks. Dig fertilizer into the soil a few days before planting.
The soil pH should be 6.1 or above to prevent the incidence of blossom end rot. A soil test should be taken to determine if any amendments are needed.
Moisten the soil prior to transplanting. Remove any blossoms from the seedlings. Plant the tomato deeper than its current container, up to the top few leaves on the stem. This will help support the plant and foster root growth all along the buried stem to absorb more nutrients.
For the first week, shield the tomato seedlings from direct sunlight until they can acclimate to outdoor conditions.
Long Keeper Tomato Care
Care for Long Keeper tomato plants as you would other types of tomato. Water deeply and regularly, one inch (2.5 cm.) of water per week depending upon weather conditions. This will help avoid blossom end rot and cracking. Once the fruit is ripening, ease up on the water a bit.
Long Keeper tomatoes are ready to harvest when they are blush colored in the late fall. They can be removed from the vine and stored in an apple box or canning jar box that has cardboard separators that will keep the fruit from touching. Store them in a cellar or cool basement. It is said that you can also remove the entire plant and hang it in a cellar for storage.
Tomatoes should keep for up to 3 months and maybe even longer. Keep a close eye on them and check them every few days for any rotting.
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Plants→Tomatoes→Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Reverend Morrow’s Long Keeper')
|Plant Habit:||Vine |
|Life cycle:||Perennial |
|Sun Requirements:||Full Sun |
|Water Preferences:||Mesic |
|Minimum cold hardiness:||Zone 11 +4.4 °C (40 °F) to +7.2 °C (50 °F) |
|Plant Height :||Varies greatly by species and cultivated variety.|
|Plant Spread :||Varies greatly by species and cultivated variety.|
|Leaves:||Other: Varies greatly by species and cultivated variety. |
Edible to birds
|Fruiting Time:||Other: Varies greatly by species and cultivated variety. |
|Flower Color:||Yellow |
|Bloom Size:||Under 1" |
|Flower Time:||Other: Varies greatly by species and cultivated variety. |
Suitable as Annual
|Edible Parts:||Fruit |
|Eating Methods:||Raw |
|Resistances:||Rabbit Resistant |
|Toxicity:||Leaves are poisonous |
Roots are poisonous
|Propagation: Seeds:||Self fertile |
Other info: Direct sowing into the garden not recommended. Sow seeds into sterile seed starting mix, 1/8"-1/4" deep, indoors, 6-8 weeks prior to last expected frost date. Optimal germination occurs in 7-14 days with constant moisture and soil temperatures of 75-90F.
|Propagation: Other methods:||Cuttings: Stem |
|Containers:||Preferred depth: Some tomato varieties, primarily dwarf and determinate varieties, are suitable for container gardening. Large, vining, indeterminate types can be grown in 5 gallon or larger containers but may require extra attention. |
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Growing a Reverend Morrow’s Tomato
If you desire tomatoes that you could make use of right into winter season, it might be time to begin expanding a Reverend Morrow’s tomato plant. You could begin them from seeds 6 to 8 weeks prior to the last springtime frost.
Wait up until the dirt is cozy to hair transplant the plants of Reverend Morrow’s treasure tomatoes. They require an area completely sunlight, and also choose abundant dirt with great water drainage. Maintain the growing location devoid of weeds.
When you begin expanding a Reverend Morrow’s tomato, watering is vital. Make certain the plant obtains one to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 centimeters.) of water weekly, either via rainfall or supplementary watering.
After concerning 78 days, Reverend Morrow’s Long Keeper tomatoes will certainly start to ripen. The young tomatoes are white or eco-friendly, however they ripen right into light red-orange.
Tomato Seed 'Long Keeper'
Solanum lycopersicum 'Long Keeper'
- Cordon (Vine) Tomato.
- A late ripening beefsteak variety that can be grown in the normal way or the fruits picked green to ripen in storage over the winter.
- Suitable for protected and outdoor growing.
- Open pollinated heritage (heirloom) variety.
Supplied as a packet of approximately 15 seeds.
This Product is Available Now.
First introduced by Burpee, the American seed house, in 1979
Without doing anything out of the ordinary, this meaty beefsteak tomato is possibly the latest variety to ripen naturally, with the first fruits being ready to eat in late September / early October - even under protection. This makes it the perfect tomato for anyone trying to extend the cropping season - and perfect for school gardens, where ripe fruits in the summer holidays would go to waste.
But where this variety really comes into its own is just how well the green fruits store if picked in the autumn. They can then brought into warmer conditions later to ripen - giving the potential to be eating 'fresh' home grown tomatoes as late as February.
The juicy,meaty fruits average 3-4" (7.5 - 10 cm) in diameter and are perfect for cooking in virtually every way, from grilling, to roasting to puréeing. And what could be better than fresh home-grown tomatoes with your Christmas leftovers?
To make the most of this variety's long-keeping properties, we would advise a second sowing around May/June to ensure a large quantity of green fruits hanging on the vine in October. These should be picked complete with calyx (the little green 'spider' at the top), wrapped dry in soft tissue and stored at around 50ºF (10°C).
Throughout December, January and February, transfer the green fruits to a fruit bowl as required, take off the tissue and place a ripe banana or apple amongst the green tomatoes. At a temperature of 70-75°F (21-24ºC) they will ripen over a period of about two weeks and have the taste of summer tomatoes.