Minsk Early Tomato

Solanum lycopersicum

Grown by: Experimental Farm Network in Canton, MN

  • $4.00

Early, prolific, red tomato on short, determinate vines. This tomato is from Minsk, Belarus, which is also where two of Nathan Kleinman's great-grandparents are from. Nate is a cofounder of the Experimental Farm Network and offers these seeds as a nod to Truelove Seeds' focus on ancestral crops.

In Nate's words: 'Minsk Early', or 'Minskiy Ranniy', is one of the earliest tomatoes you'll ever find. We're eating them by the handful come July. Picked at peak ripeness, this small to medium-sized tomato has a lovely sweet-tart flavor and a pleasant texture. It's very productive too. Do not confuse with 'Orange Minsk,' a completely different heirloom. 'Minsk Early' is bright red. We are curious to what extent this variety competes with other early varieties.

Dusty just grew it this year in Minnesota, and it was early! Plants were put in the ground late May and started producing fruit in mid July in southern Minnesota in 2018. Seems to want to produce a bunch all at once and then fade away. Plants do not get very big, and instead will put all its energy into producing fruit.

May have a role for edible landscapers or garden designers, given this variety's ability to produce abundantly in a small space.

Experimental Farm Network received their seeds from the United States Department of Agriculture's seed collection (also known as the National Plant Germplasm System) who received the seed in 1969 from Belarus. 

Days to maturity: 60

Seeds per pack: 40

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. Stake tomatoes so that their leaves and branches are kept off the ground, for good airflow between plants, and for easier harvest.

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.

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