I’m one of the people who just started growing this cultivar over the past few summers, and I do have a confession to make: I originally started because I thought, surely, that name meant that these were the type of tomatoes you’d grow for profit, good to take to market, maybe as a source of added income. And don’t expect any heirloom to hold its juicy flavor and firm texture in a ripened state. Here is more about what we do. His six years of selecting the most productive, healthiest plants established a cultivar far stronger than many others, even some hybrids. His day job was running a radiator repair shop, hence the nickname. If you can meet the requirements though, I’d highly recommend this variety for anyone who’d love to have a source of juicy, firm, relatively seedless fruits throughout the summer. Very huge and juicy and lots of tomatoes per plant. You’ll feel a little silly placing a tall trellis or heavy stake next to that tiny transplant in late spring, but you’ll be thankful you did when the plant is growing sky high. These meaty tomatoes have few seeds and mature in approximately 80 to 85 days. Happily, though, if you too many come in at once, you can use up the surplus in gazpacho (remember, they’re known for having fewer seeds than most), fresh salsa, or pico de gallo. To learn more about growing all types of tomatoes, consult our handy guide. A legend was born, and it continues today! I won’t rule out container gardening, but it takes extra effort for this heirloom. In my hot Southern climate, for example, I was pleasantly surprised that the heirlooms persevered. After three or four days, these beauties start getting mushy. Plant them below the soil line. Disease Resistance: Verticillium Wilt, Fusarium Wilt, Nematodes. The minimum requirements include a deep pot with plenty of nutrition and room for a trellis or other support. COPYRIGHT © 2020 ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. I planted 15 varieties of tomato this year, mostly heirlooms and Mortgage Lifter was one of the best. Plan for tall vines from the start. Also, setting up the support from the start means you won’t disturb the roots or fruits by trying to stake them mid-season. GARDENER'S PATH® IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. Fruits of mortgage Lifter can average 2-1/2 Lbs. Fresh-from-the-vine tomatoes are a luxury you can’t put a price on. 19 Dazzling Delphiniums for Your Flower Beds, How to Keep Kale from Wilting in the Garden, The Best Companion Plants to Grow with Pumpkins, Identify, Prevent, and Treat Common Cabbage Diseases, Managing the Aphid: An Unwelcome Garden Visitor, How to Prepare Boysenberry Bushes for Winter, Start them early. I’d advise picking any that have at least started to ripen and are showing that glossy green. Encourage strong roots to grow when you set the transplants out by burying them so that only the top two sets of true leaves protrude from the soil. and may reach 4lbs when grown well. Large, 10-14 oz. Even in the hottest August weather when it was impossible to keep them well-watered, they still produced gorgeous, tasty fruit. And they require more days to harvest than other, more modern strains. These plants will also need at least 18 inches of space between them, to ensure ample air circulation that encourages growth and discourages the spread of disease. Mortgage Lifter is a huge heirloom beefsteak that puts out heavy yields of low-acid, pink fruits that are a constant taste test winner. Speaking of which, do you have a favorite heirloom? In this tomato’s case, you’ll also have the advantage of this particular heirloom being highly disease-resistant. But at the time, the plants that he sold for a dollar apiece were a reliable source of income, and helped him to quickly pay off his $6,000 mortgage. There are lots of versions of this lore floating around the internet, but I’ve found some of them aren’t particularly accurate. I like to extend that harvest even further by cooking with the green ones. More Tomatoes of the Month. And they were large! At that time, you could only get them from the breeder, an amateur who preferred to be called “Radiator Charlie.”. These beauties could run to a couple of pounds each when grown in optimal conditions, and some were as heavy as four pounds each. And you’ll be toting a lot of water to keep these thirsty plants happy and producing fruit in the hottest months within the confines of a pot or planter. Oh, not by Bill Gates standards. He worked with four types, all of which produced big, tasty tomatoes. These are pink or red-pink tomatoes, and the ripe flesh inside is almost a deep blush. Plants are very productive and disease-resistant, and continue to bear until frost. Some of these links may be affiliate in nature, meaning we earn small commissions if items are purchased. At the time, I was thinking of trying to sell more produce to local food trucks. Just remember that more watery slicing cultivars like these require more cooking than paste tomatoes to reach the proper consistency. Description: Each year when I plant this tomato I think of Radiator Charlie the developer of this tomato. Held up better in the heat than most of the others. Weather you choose a canning or a salad variety, we recommend three to five plants of each variety for the average family. These large, slightly flattened, pink-red tomatoes are meaty and flavorful with few seeds. They’re also a beautiful color, though in this case, don’t look for a bright or deep red. He used a baby’s ear syringe to cross-pollinate a careful selection of the healthiest seedlings by hand from six years’ worth of plants, until he had a cultivar that could reliably produce delicious, meaty fruits with few seeds. Elevate Your Tomato Garden with Mortgage Lifters. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock. It got it's name during the Great Depression to help small plant nurseries and farmers to recover from debt. Mortgage Lifter tomato plants grow 7- to 9-foot (2.1 to 2.7 meters) vines and are indeterminate, meaning they set fruit continuously throughout the growing season. This took six years! ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Eden Brothers, for example, sells organic seeds in various size packets, while Burpee offers both seeds and plants. Like you would for any full-size tomato plant, you’ll need a spot in the garden with full sun and well-draining, nutritious soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8. And that flavor! We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. Large, 10-14 oz…. I’d advise picking any that have at least started to ripen and are showing that glossy green. Here is the Mortgage Lifter Tomato, Solanum lycopersicum. (Indeterminate) An improved version of Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter (see Pink & Pink-Red Tomatoes) with increased disease-resistance and more uniform fruit, ripening to red rather than pink-red.