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Russian Red, An Heirloom From New Zealand

In 1943 a tomato was developed at the Levin Agricultural Research Centre (New Zealand) to suit New Zealand’s climatic conditions and in 1949 it was released to the public. Commercially it didn’t take off because the fruit was considered a little too small but in private back yards it became extremely popular for a number of reasons. The plants are hardy and vigorous and a semi-dwarf, (they grow to about 1.2 metres). The fruit is red, small to medium in size, and juicy delivering a balanced flavour. Staking is optional but as I have always found with dwarf varieties, it’s a good idea.

Strangely enough I have only just discovered this particular variety which is testimony to the flood of other heirloom types that are grown in New Zealand and I’m keen to see how they go. It has been a very wet Spring here and many backyard growers are having to replant tomatoes because of root-rot and just a general lack of sunshine. My choice for replanting is heirloom Russian Reds, fingers crossed.

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