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Growing up in the 70's/80's my dad always had a garden. He grew the typical stuff i.e. peas, beans, squash... and of course tomatoes. His garden always drew a lot of interest from neighbors and the number 1 hit was tomatoes. I can remember him giving tomatoes away by the bag full. It was amazing to me the fuss everyone made over them. It was then that the seed was planted in me.
My very own first garden was in 91 when I purchased my home. Tomatoes were by far what everyone commented on. I wasn't aware of heirlooms then, but did grow a German Johnson a time or two way back.
My choice of varieties was limited to what seedlings were available for purchase. Better Boy, Celebrity, Big Boy, BeefSteaks and a Sweet 100 cherry tomato were the hybrids to choose from. Homestead and Rutgers and an occasional German Johnson were sold as old favorites but were marketed as not having disease protection. Starting from seed as far as I know just wasn't talked about much 10 or 15 years ago.

A few years ago I wanted to try something different. I found a seed catalogue and couldn't believe how many different varieties they were to grow. I really thought that the heirlooms listed were to be grown more as a
novelty rather than a viable producer of great tomatoes. I didn't go with the heirlooms but I did get all my seed and for the first time started my own plants. To my delight the seeds grew into some of the best plants I've
ever had. The really great thing about seed is you're starting your garden a couple of months before it's time to go outside. I truly enjoyed the experience and the following year grew seedlings for my dad and uncle. I
also decided to grow a tomato that was purple, Cherokee Purple.

I was immediately hooked on heirlooms tomatoes. Growing tomatoes became a whole new experience. I already loved growing them but this was a rebirth of sorts. I began to scour the Internet learning what I could on heirlooms. My searches took me to Craig's (nctomatoman) website. It was here that I first heard of Tomatopalooza. The Garden Web site was another that I found.
The GW site took me to absolute obsession, so much info and liked minded talk. This is when my dear wife started getting annoyed. I was either in my tomato patch or on the GW site. She has been very understanding for the most
part. There was one morning I caught her with a pair of scissors headed for my tomatoes. That almost got ugly. She had scissors and I was fending them with a broom handle. No plants were cut but she made her point. I wanted her
to go with me to Tomatopalooza so she could see that others shared the same passion and that I wasn't loosing my mind. It worked and she's onboard now 100 % , well about 80 %. Okay she needs to go again.
That's pretty much it. It only gets better from here. With my limited space I could grow many different varieties each year and still never grow them all.
I didn't even tell you about the joys in saving seed.

Tim Warren

Fayetteville, NC

I live in: United States

My zone is: 8 nc

My favorite forum 1 is Growing Tomatoes.

My favorite forum 2 is Banana.

First registered on June 05, 2005 .