Photo by F. D. Richards (CC BY-SA 2.0).
Scientific Name: Solanum lycopersicum
Common Name: Tomato 'Brandywine'
Brandywine is an old american heirloom tomato although its exact origins are unclear as there are several contradicting stories told about its origin. Brandywine as a variety of tomato was first mentioned in seed catalogs as early as 1886, its origin likely predates this.
Brandywine produces large, pinkish-red beefsteak type fruits and is one of the best tasting tomatoes of this type. Excellent sliced raw for sandwiches, but also great for adding natural sweetness and a rich tomato flavour to soups, stews, curries and casseroles.
Choose a growing site that receives full sun for optimal fruit production, but tomatoes will also grow fine under very light shade. Dig plenty of organic fertiliser, compost or well rotted manure through the soil prior to planting. Leggy seedlings can be deep planted, they'll produce roots all the way along the buried portion of the stem creating a healthier, more stable tomato plant with a better root system. Brandywine is an indeterminate variety, meaning it'll grow as a vine and require staking or caging to support the heavy weight of the fruits. Water tomatoes evenly and regularly to ensure the fruits don't split, crack or rot. Avoid wetting leaves to reduce the chance of fungal infections, you can remove some of the lower leaves to prevent splash-back from the ground. Hand pollination may help fruit set if insect pollinators are absent, use an electric toothbrush to produce vibrations that will encourage tomato flowers to release their pollen. Native blue banded bees are excellent pollinators of tomato flowers, you can attract these to your garden by planting perennial salvias around your tomato patch, the bees will love the their flowers. If your tomato plants grow big without flowering you can pinch off the growing tip of the leading vine to encourage flower production.
When To Sow:
Sow Brandywine tomato seeds in September or November in temperate regions of Australia. Sow Brandywine tomato seeds from March to September in subtropical areas of Australia, but avoid sowing during Winter if you receive damaging frosts where you live. In the tropics sow Brandywine tomato seeds during the dry season from May to July.
How To Sow:
Sow Brandywine tomato seeds 6mm deep spacing plants about 60cm apart to allow plenty of room for growth.
Tomato seeds take between 7 and 13 days to germinate once sown.
Time To Harvest:
Brandywine tomatoes mature a little later than most varieties but the wait is well worth it. Your first big, ripe and juicy Brandywine tomatoes should be ready to pick 11 to 15 weeks after sowing the seeds.