Red Brandywine tomato: my sister Lisa says these “plump lovelies are the sopranos of the garden’s opera.” It is true that tomato lovers swoon over inch-thick rounds of Brandywines, salted and peppered to perfection, or layered ala Caprese.
Start seeds indoors 6 weeks before your average last frost date, in prepared starting mix. Sow seeds in pairs, 1/8 inch deep and 3/4 inch apart. Cover lightly and press gently for good seed-to-soil contact. Keep warm (75°F) and moist. Seedlings emerge in 5 to 10 days. Supply 16 hours of bright light per day with grow lamps or fluorescent shop bulbs.
When outdoor soil temperatures reach 65°F, choose the strongest seedlings and harden them off in one week. Transplant into well-drained soil, rich in composted organic matter, 2 feet apart. Be sure to trellis, stake, or cage these as they can weigh in at more than a pound each. Water deeply and regularly, and feed every few weeks with a low-nitrogen fertilizer. Tomato flowers are self-pollinating, but can be helped along by tapping the stems after flowers form.
Red Brandywine tomatoes mature in 80 to 100 days. When ripe, fruit will often show a bit of green around the stem.
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