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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Perennial Tomatoes? What a Great Idea!

I got the neatest idea from Kathi over at Oak Hill Homestead. She has been growing perennial tomatoes! When I saw that description, I was immediately intrigued. Here is what she is doing this year, and I am going to see if I can duplicate her success by doing the same thing.

So, here goes. We have really enjoyed our Arkansas Traveler tomatoes this year. We have enjoyed them so much in fact, that this is the only variety I plan to grow next year so I can save the seeds. 

My garden is not very big, so I don't have room to plant things far enough apart to prevent cross pollination. In years past, we have been big fans of Roma tomatoes because they can so well, so we grow them every year.

Interestingly enough, I don't like tomatoes. Each year I try them and hope to enjoy them, but they are just yucky. This year was different. I actually enjoyed the Arkansas Travelers. Not a large amount at any one time, but they were good. They didn't have that whang like most other tomatoes.

So our perennial experiment will be with our Arkansas Traveler plants. Another reason for this choice is the long history behind this particular cultivar and the reputed acidity of this tomato. If we no longer have the ingredients to acidify tomatoes, which is the common practice today, then I want to grow tomatoes with a higher acidity to increase the potential for healthy canning and not foster botulism. 


I started off with seven cuttings from the tops of some plants. I tried to get strong, vigorous stems without any tomatoes on them.

I noticed a few aphids on them, so I decided to rinse them off before I brought them in the house.

The kittens were rather fascinated with the watering wand, but couldn't quite bring themselves to bat at the tomato stem that was dancing in the water.

Here is my harvest. It is very interesting to think of harvesting next year's plants this fall. I have high hopes for this technique.

Since there were aphids on the leaves, I decided they all needed another closer inspection before being placed on the shelf. I rinsed them all again in the sink.

Frank reminded me of how effective it is to cut the stems under water. This helps prevent a small vacuum from forming at the site of the cut. When  he cut these stems under the water, each one released an air bubble. We then quickly put them in a jar of water.

These plants will spend the winter in a south window. This is where I will be starting some seedlings in late January as well.

Kathi, thanks again for the idea. I just love to learn new, useful things!

Until next time - Fern


  1. You're welcome, Fern. I'm so glad you are giving this a try. I like the idea of cutting the stems under water. Your cats are just like mine, helping with everything I do.


  2. What a great idea! We'll be trying it this spring (our growing season is not thru April). Seed saving hasn't worked real well and I hate to buy large packets of seeds or plants. I'm very frugal :)

    1. I thought Kathi had a great idea, too! This helps us to be even more frugal. Perpetual tomato plants.


  3. Never thought about a vacuum! Glad I saw this before I went any further and I had planned to do it this week. SO timing is perfect. Thanks, Fern and thanks OHH! for sharing on facebook.

  4. I love the shot of the kitten by the hose. SO cute. :-) I just found your blog today and am delighted to learn more about perennial tomatoes. :-)

  5. Arkansas Traveler are the first tomatoes I grew in my garden with great success before I met Ralph. He has corrupted me with the introduction of many many more types of heirlooms! One you may want to try is Striped Roman....a roma that tastes great for fresh eating and everyrthing else. And do enjoy your Traveler's.