Growing Brandywine Tomato
in Northeast Florida Vegetable Gardens
Brandywine tomato may be solely responsible for the repopulation of Heirloom tomatoes in home gardens! Today, they are everywhere as gardeners, like me, fall in love with the outstanding old tomato flavor. It is the first Heirloom tomato that I grew, and the reason that I still grow Heirlooms today. My garden choices change from year to year, but I just can’t imagine planting tomatoes without a Brandywine tomato in the mix. The flavor is excellent eaten right off the vine. And if you do happen to make it from the garden to the kitchen with one uneaten, they make the perfect tomato sandwich. Indeterminate vines. Harvest begins at 80-100 days from planting.
Origins, Foliage, Fruit and Use of Tomato Better Boy for Northeast Florida vegetable gardens:
Brandywine is among the most popular of Heirloom tomato varieties and has been passed down from one gardener to the next for many years. ( Burpee had this one in it catalog in 1886!)
Open pollinated, heirloom Brandywine tomatoes produce large pink fruits with excellent flavor. The potato leaf foliage will continue to grow and will need good support for this fast growing, extremely large tomato vine that bears large, heavy fruits.
Planting Season for Brandywine Tomato Plants in Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida and the surrounding areas:
Brandywine tomatoes are considered a warm season crop, they are frost sensitive and should only be planted in frost free months in Northeast Florida vegetable gardens. However, tomato growing season is split into two seasons in Northeast Florida as tomato production will slow to nearly nothing during the hottest summer months of June and July.
Start your tomato plants in February from seed, and February straight through March and April from S & J Nursery transplants. The second growing season for tomato plants in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area garden is August and September, Brandywine tomatoes can be planted out again in those months and allowed to fruit up until the first killing frost.
Sun Exposure for Growing Brandywine Tomatoes in Northeast Florida Vegetable Gardens:
Plant your Tomato Brandywine in a full sun or afternoon sun location for the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area garden. Make sure they will receive a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight for best results.
Soil Preferences for Brandywine Tomato in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida areas:
Brandywine tomato plants will do best in the Northeast Florida garden when grown in soils that have been generously amended with compost and cow manure. Be sure to plant into well drained soils and not in an are that will have standing water after a hard rain.
Care of Brandywine in the Northeast Florida Vegetable Garden:
Staking your Brandywine Tomato plant:
Brandywine tomato is a fast growing indeterminate variety that is a heavy producer of large fruits. Traditional tomato cages will not be large enough to contain them unless heavy pruning is done. Consider making your own tomato cage from heavy duty cow fencing and make sure to strap it down with posts so your beautiful crop of Brandywine tomatoes don’t end up all over the ground after a Northeast Florida rain storm.
Watering your Brandywine Tomato Plants:
Newly planted tomato plants will require watering daily for the first few days to a week after being planted from seed or transplanted from an S & J Nursery container.
Once the tomato plants are established and growing, be sure to keep the soil moist by watering at least twice per week if rainfall is scarce. Container grown tomato plants will need watered 3 to 4 times per week, or every time the top two inches of soil is dry to the touch.
Mulching your Brandywine Tomato plants:
For maximum growth potential, mulch plants generously, this will not only help to conserve moisture, but will aid in keeping soil moisture levels consistent.
Fertilizing Your Brandywine Tomato plants:
Feed every two to three weeks with an all purpose fertilizer like 6-6-6.
Or for an organic approach, try fertilizing with a mixture of fish emulsions and seaweed (kelp) at one ounce each per gallon of water. Apply semi weekly as a foliar spray.
If your tomato plants look like they could use a boost, give them a good watering with homemade compost tea as soon as the top few inches of soil around your plant is dry to the touch!
Harvesting Your Brandywine Tomato in the Northeast Florida Vegetable Garden:
Brandywine tomatoes take a long time to mature, but are well worth the weight. They can be harvested when green and allowed to ripen indoors if needed but best flavor will develop when they are allowed to ripen on the plant and picked when fully dark pink.
Store at room temperature for 2-3 days once picked from the vine. For best results do not refrigerate.
Expect tomatoes to be ready to harvest from your Better Boy tomato plants in as little as 80-100 days and continue producing until a frost kills the plant.