Zhong Shu #6 Tomato
This "old-timey heirloom tomato" tastes how a tomato should taste, according to Dorene Pasekoff, who has been growing it for 20 years now. In 2001, the Farmer Cooperative Genome Project sent her this tomato, which had been donated to the United States Department of Agriculture from China in 1988.
The round, red fruits are under a pound and they look like stereotypical slicing tomatoes, with reliable productivity and a taste that keeps people growing it. It does well here in Southeastern PA and seems to be disease-resistant (except to bacterial spot).
Oh, and the name? According to Dorene's gardener friend from China, the name translates to "Chinese Vegetable Company #6."
The stats: Mid-Season (80 days), regular leaf, indeterminate, fruits round, red, and between 8 ounces and a pound.
Looking back further: the word for tomato comes from the Aztec word "xitomatl" or "tomatl." Tomatoes have been cultivated as food in what is now Mexico since at least around 500 BC, and originate in western South America.
Days to maturity: 80
Seeds per pack: 25
Germination rate: 95% on 11/29/2022
Planting / harvesting notes
Start seeds 6-8 weeks before the last frost and transplant into garden well after the danger of frost. We recommend you prune the suckers that form in the crotches of the branches by the main stem. Water tomatoes at the soil level, keeping the leaves dry.
Seed keeping notes
Tomatoes are generally self-pollinating, though we isolate different varieties by 35-50 feet, in hopes that flying insects will not cross pollinate them unexpectedly. Tomato seeds are ripe when the fruits are ready to eat! Cut the fruit at the equator and squeeze or scrape out seeds from each of the cavities. In a cup or bucket, add a little water (1/2" is probably plenty) to your seeds and pulp to keep them from drying out, and allow them to ferment away from direct sunlight. Ideally, you will stir the concoction every day for 3-5 days. In the end, add more water to fill the vessel, stir one final time, and allow to settle. Pour off the floating material and then strain the seeds through a strainer. Sometimes, you will need to add more water and pour off the floating material several times until the water is clear and you can see the seeds sunken at the bottom. Squeeze dry the strained seeds in a towel, and then lay out to dry on a labeled screen or paper product in a ventilated place away from direct sunlight for a week or two.