2016 Giant Tomato Project Do-Over

First the good news:

Among the 481 seeds planted which were produced by DT (Delectation of Tomatoes), 459 germinated, yielding a 95.4% germination rate.

Among the 959 seeds planted which came from other sources, 794 germinated, yielding an 82.8% germination rate.  For the third year in a row, seeds from one source in particular, representing several varieties, had virtually zero germination.  I won’t publish the name here, but you’re welcome to send email to dale@gianttomatoseeds.com if you’re curious.

Bad news:

234 tomato seedlings have perished, with more dying every day.  This includes 116 seedlings that were slated for my giant tomato project.

Giant Tomato Project 2016 dead A rev

As an itinerant farmer, I’m spread very thin this time of year and 14 trays of newly potted-up seedlings were left in the cold, heavy rain for two days.  I no longer have a high tunnel.  I really miss my high tunnel!

Anyhow, in the past couple of days I’ve replanted 624 cells, many of them with more than one seed, in hopes of rescuing those varieties for this season, at least in terms of getting enough ripe tomatoes for seed saving.  It’s rather too late to expect much in terms of production from these replacements.

Here’s a look at some of the dwarf seedlings at 5 weeks along:

Dwarf Tomato Seedlings 4-21-2016 B

These were grown in a different location and were not subjected to the two days of cold rain.  However, they have suffered from high winds (after this picture was taken), including gusts up to 55 mph, and about four of these will not survive.

Getting serious about giant pumpkins as well this year, including a seed from the world record 2323 X self – anxious to see if it will germinate!

= = = = = = = = = =

Update 5-10-2016

Among the first round of tomato seeds planted, 186 did not germinate and 357 seedlings have perished, with more dying every day.  This is comes 543 total that failed, or 38% of 1,440.  97 varieties of which all 3 seedlings died or did not germinate:

Angela Giant
Bangladesh Heart
Belarusian Heart
Big Sungold Select
Big Yellow, Simpson
Black Master
Black Mountain Pink
Bob’s Boomtown Titty
Buffalo Heart Giant
Butter and Bull Heart
Cesu Agrais
Chocolate Champion
Cleota Yellow
Delano Green Ripe
Eastham Pink Heirloom
Eva Purple Ball
Fish Lake Oxheart
Fleur de Reagir
Georgia Green
Gramma Climenhagen
Grosse De Perthuis
Homestead 24-F
Isis Brandy
Jersey Giant
Joe’s Plum
Juliet (F4), long
Kennington’s Big Red
Knauss Oxheart
Kozula #135
Kozula #18
Kozula #37
Kukla’s Portuguese Beefsteak
Lemon Giant
Lime Green Salad
Magyar Piroska
Malinovyi Charodei
Margaret Curtain
Maylor Roth’s Orange
Mexican Yellow
Michaela’s Pink Oxheart
Monica (F3)
Mortgage Lifter, Estler’s
Nonna Antonina
Old Fashioned Oxheart
Orange Tree
Pink Petticoat
Red Robin
Russian Oxheart
Summer Sweet Gold
Super Marzano (F1)
Super Sioux
Supersauce (F2)
Tasmanian Chocolate
Teschchin Yazyk
Tollison’s German
Ukrainian Pear
Vater Rein
Work Release Paste
Yasha Yugoslavian
Yellow Out Red In
Yoder’s Red Beefsteak
Zluta Kytice

Plus 13 crosses or lineages of giant varieties

Plus 72 varieties of which only 1 seedlings has survived; in most cases the survivor my not survive for much longer.  In fact, it appears that approximately 50% of the surviving seedlings will likely die before June.

I have replanted most of these varieties, but it might be too late to get production from many of them.

Here’s the beginning of low tunnels intended to keep beet leafhoppers off:  Curly Top Virus decimated the tomato crop in Kanab in 2014 – more than 80% mortality.

Kanab Row Cover 5-6-2016 A revKanab Row Cover 5-6-2016 B

Two Atlantic Giant Pumpkins also transplanted, with shade cloth surrounding them to protect from the high winds that are so common in Kanab:

Kanab Garden 5-6-2016 B Kanab Giant Pumpkins 5-6-2016 A Kanab Giant Pumpkins 5-6-2016 C

Seedlings waiting to go in the ground – weather is finally cooperating!

Kanab seedlings to transplant

A double seedling – I’ve never seen them so tightly fused.

Double tomato seedling

Low tunnels in Cedar City.  Two giant pumpkin plants should be toasty warm in here!

Low Tunnel Cedar City 5-3-2016

But a bunch of nosey, unpleasant, uppity, ignorant neighbors have decided to infringe on my freedoms.  CCCR’s apparently state “No temporary structures of any kind”, so these have to come down immediately.  And “they” will not let me plant any of my tomatoes here – plant supports are too ugly for these rich snobs and, heaven forbid, I might try to sell a seed or two from the tomatoes.  I suppose CCCR means, “Communist Command & Control Restrictions”.  How a true-blooded American could ever submit themselves to yet another layer of government control & bureaucracy I will never understand; people willing to give up their freedoms just so they can control their neighbors.  No thank you and don’t get me started…

This view not too far away:

Horseshoe Bend Page AZ H rev

So 130 or so seedlings ready for my giant tomato project, but nowhere to plant them at the moment.

The Itinerant Farmer

“Itinerant Farming” – an oxymoron?

Few professions require one to be bound to the land more than farming.  “Grow where you live” makes sense for so many reasons.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I moved twice in 2015, in the middle of the growing season.  I landed in a small room in a small house on 2.5 acres of land with the understanding that I would pretty much take over a large garden and earth-sheltered greenhouse.  Last week I got some unexpected news:  I am prohibited from growing ANYTHING where I live.  The property owners have decided to let everything go fallow this year.  So I’m scrambling to adjust my plans.

Now I’m looking at growing at 3 locations, located 20 minutes away, 2 hours away, and 3-1/2 hours away.  All on land belonging to relatives.  They get free seeds, free seedlings, much of the labor, and all the fresh veggies they can possibly eat.  I get to borrow land, free water, and to collect seeds.  And I get to live out of my suitcase for the next several months!

Anyhow, over the past week I’ve planted about 2,000 seeds, mostly tomatoes.  In February I planted peppers.

Here’s what the setup looks like in Kanab (2 hours away)

Seed starting 3-23-2016 ESeed starting 3-23-2016 D

And here is what the setup looks like in a cool basement (20 minutes away), using a 400-watt metal halide light and mylar fabric to help retain heat and light:

Seed starting 3-28-2016 A

These are extra early and dwarf varieties coming up.  The first up was Stupice – 12 of 12 up within 4 days of planting!  And some giant pumpkins started (but where to grow them??)

This weekend I finally finished packaging most of the squash seeds from the 2015 harvest.  But there are still several plates drying, and a few more winter squash from which I have not extracted seeds yet.  I really cannot comprehend boredom…

Here’s the list of tomato varieties I’m growing this year:

GIANT TOMATOES – Those that have been documented to grow to 3+ lbs.; lineage included:

Belmonte (1.556 DT 2011) X Big Zac (2.962 DT 2012)(F1)(0.874 DT 2014)
Bezrazmernyi (1.698 DT 2012) X Big Zac (4.57 MacCoy 2013)(F2)(1.720 DT 2015)
Bezrazmernyi (1.698 DT 2012) X Big Zac (5.50 Johnston/Butler 2012)(F1)(1.676 DT 2014)
Big Zac (1.736 DT 2011)
Big Zac (1.822 DT 2012)
Big Zac (2.044 DT 2014)
Big Zac (2.416 DT 2015)
Big Zac (2.602 DT 2012)
Big Zac (2.986 Montalvo 2015)
Big Zac (4.670 DT 2014)
Big Zac (4.80 Foss 2014)
Big Zac (5.50 Martin 2014)
Big Zac (5.67 Marley 2014)
Big Zac (5.84 Foss 2014)
Big Zac (6.01 Boudyo 2013)
Big Zac (6.16 Foss 2014)
Big Zac (6.88 MacCoy 2014)
Big Zac (7.10 Foss 2014)
Big Zac (8.41 MacCoy 2014)
Big Zac (9.5 MacCoy 2014)(multiple fruits almost joined)
Bigzarro (3.754 DT 14)
Brutus Magnum (2.006 DT 2012) X Big Zac (4.57 MacCoy 2013)(F2)(1.470 DT 2015)
Church (3.206 DT 12)
Delicious (1.224 DT 2012)(4th gen. Gordon Graham)
Delicious (1.874 DT 2011)(5.41 Landry 2011)
Delicious (2.314 DT 2014)(4.78 Lorson 2012)
Delicious (2.686 DT 2014)(5th gen. Gordon Graham)
Delicious (3.205 DT 2014)(6.51 Meisner 2011)
Delicious (3.50 Matesa 2012)(6.51 Meisner 2011)
Delicious (4.04 J/B 2012)(7.33 Hunt 2010)
Delicious (4.20 Lyons 2012)(4.25 Lyons 2010)
Delicious (6.51 Meisner 2011)
Domingo (3.010 Schielke 14)
Domingo (4.647 DT 14)
Domingo (5.75 Marley 14)
Domingo (Vincenzo Domingo 14)
Hoy (~3 Kott 2011) X Delicious (6.51 Meisner 2011)(F2)(1.988 DT 2015)
MegaMarv (2.678 DT 12)
Michael’s Portuguese Monster (1.932 DT 11)
Michael’s Portuguese Monster (2.610 DT 12)
Michael’s Portuguese Monster (2.610 DT 2012) X MegaMarv (4.23 Wahl 2012)(F2)(2.030 DT 2015)
Michael’s Portuguese Monster (2.610 DT 2012) X Delicious (6.51 Meisner 2011)(F2)(3.698 DT 2015)
Michael’s Portuguese Monster (IL LO N)
Rebecca Sebastian’s Bull Bag X Big Zac (4.57 MacCoy 2013)(F2)(__ Johnson 2015)
Rebecca Sebastian’s Bull Bag X Big Zac (4.57 MacCoy 2013)(F2)(1.724 DT 2015)
Shuntukski Velikan (1.978 DT 2012) X Big Zac (3.75 Catapano 2007)(F2)(2.174 DT 2015)
Steakhouse (F2) (0.868 DT 15)
Wes (1.718 DT 2012) X Big Zac (4.57 MacCoy 2013)(F2)(1.242 DT 2015)
Zaczilla (F1) (Zaccaria)
ZacZilla (F2) (1.080 DT 15)

BIG TOMATOES – Those that have been documented, or at least claimed, to grow to 2+ lbs:

Alice’s Egypt
Amana Orange
Aunt Ruby’s German Green
Belarusian Heart
Big McHenry
Black Mountain Pink
Brandywine from Croatia, RL
Brazilian Giant
Butler Skinner
Carol Chyko’s Big Paste
Casey’s Pure Yellow
Claude Brown’s Yellow Giant
Coeur de Boeuf de Nice
DaCosta’s Portuguese
De Weese Streaked
DelMar (F2)
DelZac (F2)
Dikaya Roza
Flathead Monster Orange
Flathead Monster Pink
Florida Pink
Fred Limbaugh Potato Top
Geante de Hutt
George’s Greek Beefsteak
German Giant
German Red Strawberry
Giant Belgium
Giant Colossal
Gold Medal
Goose Rock
Grandfather Ashlock
Great White
Hawaiian Pineapple
Heart of Ashgabat
Huge Giant Yellow
Hungarian Heart
Israeli 2 Pounder
Jerry’s German Giant
Joe’s Portuguese
Lara’s Giant
Leadbeatter’s Lunker
Libanaise des Montagnes
Malcolm Lincoln
Mario’s Oxheart
Mayo’s Delight
Mexican Giant
Mr. Tartar’s German
Mushroom Basket
Nicky Crain
Olena Ukrainian
Palmira’s Northern Italian
Plate Du Portugal
Polish C
Red Belly
Rhoades Heirloom
Rozovyi Myod
Shilling Giant
Siberian Giant
Steakhouse (F1)
Stripes of Syrnath
Toedebush Pink
Vechnyi Zov
Veras Paradeiser
Volovsko Srce Slovenian
White Wonder
Wolford Wonder
World’s Largest
Zagadka Prirody
Zore’s Big Red


Dwarf Mr. Snow
Dwarf Wild Fred
Earl of Edgecombe
Early Girl (F2)
Forest Fire
Fourth of July (F3)
Husky Pink OP
Krainiy Sever
Large Lucky Red
Matchless (Austin)
New Big Dwarf
Orange Pixie
Purple Reign
Rosalie’s Early Orange
Rosella Purple
Sibirskiy Skorospelyi
Sleeping Lady
Summertime Gold
Tasmanian Chocolate
Ultra Skorospelyi
Uralskiy Ranniy
Yukon Quest

MAIN CROP – Primarily for seed production, selling produce and consumption

1884 Purple
Aker’s West Virginia
Amazon Chocolate
Angela Giant
Anna Russian
Bangladesh Heart
Banjan Roomii
Bear Creek
Beefsteak, Yellow
Beijing Yellow
Big Sungold Select
Big Yellow, Simpson
Blaby Special
Black and Brown Boar
Black Creme
Black Master
Blanche Yan
Bob’s Boomtown Titty
Borracho de Aretxabaleta
Brandywine of Croatia, PL
Brandywine, Pawer’s
Brandywine, Yellow, Platfoot strain
Brazilian Beauty
Buffalo Heart Giant
Butter and Bull Heart
Cesu Agrais
Cherry Roma
Chocolate Champion
Chocolate Stripes
Chudo Sada
Chyornyi Slon
Cleota Yellow
Coastal Pride
Cow’s Tit
Daniel Burson
Delano Green Ripe
Dutka’s Pink
Dwarf Russian Swirl
Eastham Pink Heirloom
Eva Purple Ball
Fish Lake Oxheart
Fleur de Reagir
Fruity Cherry
Georgia Green
German Pink
Gezahnte Buhrer-Keel
Giant Green Zebra
Giant Heart Climber
Gramma Climenhagen
Grandma Baker’s
Grape Sausage
Gregori’s Altai
Grosse De Perthuis
GWR Wild Thyme
Homestead 24-F
Honey Giant
Isis Brandy
Ispanskiy Gigant
Iva’s Red Berry
Jaune Saint Vincent
Jersey Giant
Jim Dandy
Joe Thieneman’s Australian Heart
Joe’s Plum
Juliet (F4), long
Kanauss Oxheart
Kellogg’s West Virginia
Kennington’s Big Red
Knauss Oxheart
Kozula #135
Kozula #18 (F5)
Kozula #37
Kukla’s Portuguese Beefsteak
Lemon Giant
Lime Green Salad
Livingston’s Gold Ball
Maddy Rose
Magyar Piroska
Malakhitovaya Shkatulka
Malinovyi Charodei
Margaret Curtain
Marizol Bratka
Maryland Large Red
Maylor Roth’s Orange
Mexican Yellow
Michaela’s Pink Oxheart
Mikada Orange
Miss Kennedy
Momotaro (OP)
Monica (F3)
Mont Athos
Mortgage Lifter, Estler’s
Mortgage Lifter, Pesta Strain
Mountain Gold
Mrs. Benson
Negrillo de Almoguera
New Jersey Champion
Noire Charbonneuse
Nonna Antonina
Old Fashioned Oxheart
Olga’s Biggest
Orange Bourgoin
Orange Russian 117
Orange Torpedo
Orange Tree
OSU Oblonde Avec Teton
Our Own Pink
Oxheart Yellow
Peaches and Cream
Perth Pride
Pink Petticoat
Pink Thai Egg
Pleine de Chair
Polish Ellis
Polish Pink
Prudens Purple X Indian Stripe (F5)
Purple Elgin GWR
Rasp Large Red
Raspberry Lyanna
Red Barn
Red Pear Abruzzese
Red Robin
Rosa de Barbastro
Rosado y Rojo
Rosalie’s Big Rosy
Rosalie’s Large Paste
Rosi Mari
Rozovye Gryozy
Rufus Carrigan’s Mexican Pink
Russian Oxheart
Schlicht’s Orange Cherry
Sean’s Yellow Dwarf
Serendipity Striped
Slovenian Bull’s Heart
Snag’s Pride
Sosulka Krasnaya
South Tyrolean Beefsteak
Stakeless (F4)
Stoina’s Bulgarian
Striped German
Striped Sweetheart Dark
Sub-Arctic Maxi
Sub-Arctic Plenty
Sugar Plum Fairy
Summer Sunrise
Summer Sweet Gold
Summertime Green
Sun Gold (F3)
Sunbursts (F3)
Sunrise Bumblebee
Sunset’s Red Horizon
Sunsugar (F3)
Sunsugar (F4)
Super Choice
Super Italian Paste
Super Marzano (F1)
Super Sioux
Supersauce (F2)
Sweet Scarlet Dwarf
Tekin’s Bulgarian Pink
Tennessee Suited
Teschchin Yazyk
Tollison’s German
Tom Boy
Tree’s Bottom Yellow
Tumbling Tom
Ukrainian Heart, TN MU J
Ukrainian Pear
Vater Rein
Waltingers Fleisch aus Indien
West Virginia 63
West Virginia Penitentiary
Wild Thyme Purple
Work Release Paste
Yasha Yugoslavian
Yellow Giant
Yellow Out Red In
Yoder’s German Pink
Yoder’s Red Beefsteak
Zheltij Delikates
Zluta Kytice

That’s only 396 varieties/lineages – the fewest I’ve grown by far since 2012!  But with all the traveling involved, I’m already feeling overwhelmed…

= = = = = = = = = = =

Update April 03, 2016 – Phase Two begun!  The early and dwarf varieties are not potted up, 14 trays worth.  Going into the potting mix are these OMRI listed amendments:

Soil amendements OMRI 4-2-2016 ASoil amendements OMRI 4-2-2016 MSoil amendements OMRI 4-2-2016 HSoil amendements OMRI 4-2-2016 ESoil amendements OMRI 4-2-2016 GSoil amendements OMRI 4-2-2016 FSoil amendements OMRI 4-2-2016 CSoil amendements OMRI 4-2-2016 S rev

Well, I guess the potting soil and bone meal are not actually OMRI listed.  Anyway, mixed with a very old concrete mixer.  Recipe is available if your would like:  dale@gianttomatoseeds.com

Here is the first plug tray of early and dwarf tomato varieties, potted up 14 days after planting seeds into 14 trays and put under metal halide lights.  Walls are large pieces of cardboard covered with mylar fabric.

Seedling potting up metal halide mylar 4-3-2016 B

Two weeks from seed is on the early side, but I think most of them will take just fine.



Planting Started for 2016

Indoors at my cousin’s place in Kanab:

Seedling light stand Kanab 2-02-2016 E rev

Onions, broccoli, cauliflower, parsley, kale, spinach, lettuce, strawberries and others.  I will be scaling back substantially from the past three years so that I can focus on building the website for seed sharing:

Delectation of Tomatoes

Still have about 5,000 pictures to process, but have completed the task through October 6, 2012!  Pictures taken after this date have been named primarily on an as-needed basis.  So 35,000 or so pictures are now easy to find, but most still need to be edited.  2015 was so crazy busy and intense (mostly due to moving twice during the growing season) that I was unable to even get decent photographs for about half of the tomato varieties that I grew.

Seedling production will also be way down in 2016, and will mostly be by special order only.



Delectation of Tomatoes Website Is Now Online

Finally, after 3 years of hoping, planning and threatening, the website reconstruction has now launched!!


At the moment, there are 1,463 varieties of tomatoes listed.  Among these:

• 1,350 are Heirloom and/or Open Pollinated

• 113 are hybrids in development to deybridize or unknowns

Among the hybrids are 8 which are original with Delectation of Tomatoes; these are documented in previous posts here and summarized at:

DT Big Tomatoes 2014

Of the 1,463 descriptions, 619 of them are original.  Regrettably, the others are “borrowed” for now.  But this is better than what has been available to date, which has been simple lists.

Also lacking for now:  pictures for 99% of the varieties – YIKES!  At last count, I had 39,627 pictures on file, with 14% of these still needing to be named.  So uploading pictures will be a major, ongoing task over the next few months.

And still to upload:

Pictures and descriptions of an additional 647 varieties that are NOT tomatoes as follows:

Pepper 333
Melon & Cucumber 108
Squash & Gourd 74
Bean, Pea, Corn 46
Ground Cherry, Eggplant, Tomatillo 25
Herbs, Greens, Flowers etc. 61
Total 647

These are listed at:


Plus there are another 500 or so varieties of tomatoes, etc. for which I have seeds, but not enough to share – yet!

Whoever said Winter is boring for the avid (I mean obsessed) gardener??

Processing fully mature summer squash for seeds, 1-10-2016

Processing fully mature summer squash for seeds, 1-10-2016


Website Reconstruction

For a couple of years now I have threatened to do what I just started doing:  Starting my website from scratch on a new platform.  For the next few days, this will likely mean difficulties.  But down the road a few months, it should look and behave like a modern, user-friendly, mobile-friendly website.



Still taking seed orders!  Lists of all varieties are published at:

DT All Seeds Available

This site now accepts PayPal and all major credit cards, or PayPal can be used directly to:


To date (Jaunuary 3, 2016), I have not been able to save up enough money to pay for a full-fledged, merchant account.  With 33,000 plus photos, hundreds of descriptions ready to go, and several million seeds needing a good home, I am anxious to get the merchant account up and running!


2015 Seeds Ready to Go!

Well, mostly that is.  Enough to get lists updated:

      DT All Seeds 2015

Subject to change once I get all seeds sorted and entered into the database.

Yes, that’s 2,115 total varieties, including 1,506 varieties of tomatoes!  Regrettably, it will take many weeks to finish processing 31,000+ photos, writing descriptions and getting a user-friendly, mobile-friendly website up and running.  I’ve been threatening to do a major overhaul for a couple of years now.  Turns out that I’m struggling with Webstarts, which uses technology from the 1990’s.  So within the next couple of weeks, there will be a point at which the main website will go offline while I transfer everything over to a much more streamlined platform – one that hopefully will be at least 20 times faster for me.

Here are a few plates of tomato seeds just put out to dry – the tail end of some 1,600 total batches of seeds, more than half of them tomato seeds – saved in 2015.

Seeds on plates drying 12-01-2015

An aside:

Angel's Landing 11-29-2015 S rev

This location is about 1 hour away, photo taken yesterday from atop Angel’s Landing .


Status Update – Fall Harvest 2015

A bit overwhelmed at the moment.  Impending deadlines, a week away from average first Fall frost, but making progress.  Estimated task completion rates

  • Harvesting tomatoes etc. for seed saving – 80%
  • Taking pictures, weights, field notes and starting fermentation process – 70%
  • Seed separation, drying and packaging – 55%
  • Organizing, alphabetizing, data entry – 10%
  • Labeling and preparing pictures, website and blog updates – 5%

Seeds of lots of great new varieties – wish I could get everything processed faster, website up-to-date tonight, and so forth!

In the middle of all this, I am moving my entire business about 250 miles south to Cedar City.

More than a small challenge, so I appreciate patience in getting the 2015 seed lists updated – it will be at least 3 more weeks.