Cherokee Purple tomatoes were rediscovered by tomato grower Craig LeHoullier.
LeHoullier claimed that Purple Cherokees were more than 100 years old, originating with
the Cherokee people.
The Cherokee Purple tomato has a unique dusty rose
color. The flavor of the tomato is extremely sweet with a rich smoky
taste. The Cherokee Purple has a refreshing acid, is watery,
thick-skinned and earthy with a lingering flavor. Cherokee Tomato
plants are very prolific making this plant a good heirloom for gardeners
and farmers. Average: 80 days
Detailed Purple Cherokee Tomato planting instructions:
When starting your Cherokee tomato seeds be sure you have a
place where they can get enough light. Even a sunny, south-facing
window is barely adequate. Consider using a grow light to supplement
Don’t start plants too early. Sow seeds indoors 6 to 8
weeks before transplanting outside. Plant them 1/8 inch deep in sterile
seed starting mix in flats or cells. Seeds germinate best at 75 F to
90 F. Then grow transplants at about 70 F.
Don’t rush to transplant Purple Cherokee Tomatoes, either. Cold soil and air
temperatures can stress plants. Wait at least a week or two after the
last frost. Nighttime temperatures should be consistently above 45 F.
Use black plastic mulch to warm soil and/or row covers, hot caps or
other protection to keep plants warm early in the season. Remove covers
whenever temperatures exceed 85 F.
Harden off plants before transplanting by reducing water
and fertilizer, not by exposing to cold temperatures, which can stress
them and stunt growth. Transplants exposed to cold temperatures (60 F
to 65 F day and 50 F to 60 F night) are more prone to catfacing.
Space Cherokee Tomato transplants:
12 to 24 inches apart for determinate varieties
14 to 20 inches apart for staked indeterminate varieties
24 to 36 inches apart for unstaked indeterminate varieties
Unlike most plants, tomatoes do better if planted deeper
than they were grown in containers. Set them in the ground so that the
soil level is just below the lowest leaves. Roots will form along the
buried stem, establishing a stronger root system.
To reduce root disease risk, don't plant on soils that
have recently grown tomatoes, potatoes, peppers or eggplant for at
least two years.
Mulch plants after the soil has warmed up to maintain
soil moisture and suppress weeds. Cherokee tomatoes need a consistent supply of
moisture. If it rains less than 1 inch per week, water to make up the
Many factors (in addition to your choice of variety)
affect total yield, first harvest and fruit quality. Raised beds, black
plastic mulch and providing consistent moisture by watering or through
drip irrigation are good ways to improve all three.
How you provide support to plants can also affect
performance. Determinate varieties do not need staking. But staking and
pruning indeterminate varieties can hasten first harvest by a week or
more, improve fruit quality, keep fruit cleaner, and make harvest
easier. Staking and pruning usually reduces total yield, but fruits
will tend to be larger. Staked and pruned plants are also more
susceptible to blossom end rot and sunscald. Allowing indeterminate
varieties to sprawl reduces labor, but takes up more space and plants
are more prone to disease.
Wooden tomato stakes are typically about 6 feet long and
1 ½ inch square, but you can use similar materials. Drive stakes at
least 8 to 10 inches deep at or soon after transplanting so as not to
Prune tomatoes to one or two vigorous stems by snapping
off “suckers” (stems growing from where leaf stems meet the main stem)
when they are 2 to 4 inches long. Tie stems to stake with soft string,
twine or cloth, forming a figure-8 with the stem in one loop and the
stake in the other. This gives the stem room to expand without being
constricted. Start about 8 to 12 inches above the ground and continue
to tie at similar intervals as the plant grows. As an alternative to
using individual stakes, grow several plants in a row between
heavy-duty stakes or posts spaced about 4 feet apart, and use twine to
weave in and out around posts and plants.
Growing tomatoes in cages is a good compromise between
labor-intensive staking and just letting them sprawl. You can purchase
tomato cages at your local garden center, or simply bend a 6-foot-long
piece of 4- to 6-inch wire mesh into a cylinder about 22 inches in
diameter. (Cattle fencing or concrete reinforcing wire mesh work well
for this.) Place cage around plants soon after transplanting and anchor
Avoid excessive N applications, which can cause
excessive foliage and poor fruit set. Also avoid using fresh manure or
high nitrogen fertilizers (those with three or more times nitrogen than
phosphorus or potassium). Poor fruit set can also be caused by heavy
rainfall or temperatures that are either too high (above 90 F) or too
low (below 55 F).
On most soils, you can sidedress about 1/2 cup of 5-10-5
per plant and work shallowly into the top inch of soil when fruits are
about 1 inch in diameter and again when harvest begins.
To avoid other common tomato problems:
Keep soil evenly moist to prevent blossom end rot. This
can also help prevent cracking when fruit absorbs water too fast after
heavy rain following dry conditions.
Catfacing (misshapen, deformed fruit) is caused by
incomplete pollination, usually due to cold weather. Don’t rush to
transplant until weather has stabilized and soil is warm.
Fruit that is fully ripened on the vine has a much fuller flavor than
fruits that are picked early and then allowed to ripen. Many cherry
tomatoes, however, have a tendency to crack if they stay on the plant,
so they should be picked at the peak of redness, or even a tad before.
Watch the bottoms carefully; that's where tomatoes start
to ripen. Some varieties, primarily large heirloom types, ripen before
they reach full color. Pick tomatoes when the skin still looks smooth
and waxy, even if the top hasn't turned its mature color (whether red,
purple, pink or golden yellow).
Cut off the top of the plant, or remove all new flower
clusters about a month before the first expected frost. That way, you'll
direct the plant's energy into ripening existing tomatoes rather than
producing new ones that won't have time to mature.
When daytime fall temperatures are consistently below 60
degrees Fahrenheit, fruit will no longer ripen on the vine, so it is
time to bring all mature green fruits indoors, either on the vine or
Saving tomato seeds is a fairly simple process. Every tomato seed is
covered in a gelatinous sack which contains chemicals that inhibit seed
germination. This prevents the seeds from sprouting whilst inside the
tomato fruit. In nature the fruit drops from the plant and slowly rots
away on the ground. This is the natural fermentation process and it is
during this that the gelatinous sacks are destroyed. To save tomato
seeds yourself you need to duplicate the fermentation process. This will
not only remove the gelatinous sack but also kills any seed borne
Firstly cut the tomato fruits across the middle and then
squeeze the tomato seeds and the gel into a container, making sure that
you label the container with the tomato variety. The container of tomato
seeds then needs to be put to one side to ferment for about three days.
During this time the container of seeds will smell horrible and will go moldy. When the mold has covered the top of the container add water
and stir the mixture. The good seeds will sink to the bottom of the
container and the mold and hollow seeds can then be poured off. Add
more water and continue the progress until only clean seeds remain. You
can also put the mold and seeds into a sieve and wash under running
water until just the clean seeds remain.
Next spread out the seeds on a glass or ceramic plate to
dry, which can take about 12 days, making sure that you label the plate
with the tomato variety. The dried seeds can then be put into a labelled
envelope. Saved seeds should store for 5 - 10 years if kept in the
- Comes in E-Z Lock resealable, reusable triple-layered foil packets
- Seeds are open pollinated and can be grown, harvested, and replanted endlessly
- Dried & sealed airtight for long-term storage
- Nutritional Value: