Cherokee Purple Tomato

The Cherokee Purple tomato is said have originated more than 100 years ago with the Cherokee people. This beefsteak-type fruit is deep purple with green shoulders, is densely textured and has a mild, sweet tomato flavor. Because it is an open-pollinated heirloom variety, seeds are easily saved from year to year and return true to type.

by Dani Yokhna
PHOTO: Elsie Hui/Flickr

Size: Indeterminate vines grow large unless pruned; fruits weigh 12 to 18 ounces each.

Sunlight requirements: Full sun (A minimum of six to eight hours per day is ideal.)

Water requirements: A minimum of 1 inch of water per week is required for maximum growth. Water the root zone as needed, and keep foliage dry to deter foliar diseases. Proper mulching aids in prevention of blossom end rot, drought stress and other issues associated with fluctuations of soil-moisture levels.

Soil requirements: Well-drained soil rich in organic matter is best. Soils high in nitrogen will result in excessive foliage growth at the expense of good fruit production.

When to plant: Plant in spring after the danger of frost has passed and nights remain warmer than 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Seeds should be started indoors under lights four to six weeks before transplanting outdoors.

Where to plant: Garden; containers (8-gallon minimum)

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When to harvest: 80 days from transplant.

Produce storage: Store at room temperature for best flavor.

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