Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Brandywine Pink Has Us "In The Pink!" - Heirloom Tomato Journal

One of the seed packs brought back from Shirley Meniece was from Linda McLaughlin of North Country GC of LI.  The seeds were Organic Heirloom Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum).  The variety is 'Brandywine Pink.'  The packet was beautifully labeled with instructions and stated "keep cold in packet 2-3 months".  So on my return home, into the fridge they went.  I almost forgot about them as they were in the very back of the shelf in a small zip loc baggie.

We had already completed our first planting workshop.  I decided to give these to my sister who is a wonderful gardener living in downtown Charleston.  I will call her Artful Sprout.  By profession she is a beautiful artist - water colors and oils - very close-up Georgia O'Keeffe type painting but yet very different:  "Monumental patterns and textures, evocative coloring in organic form, challenging the human ability to see and comprehend nature". 

Artful Sprout loves gardening and "had" an empty lot beside her home.  The lot is now home to a lovely flower and vegetable garden with many rooms.  If you ever visit Charleston during FestivALL her home is on the East End Garden Tour.  She starts most of her seeds in her basement under grow lights.  Extra plants are sold during the East End Yard Sale which is always held the Saturday before Mother's Day.

I asked her if she would join us in journaling. "Certainly!" said she. 

And so, today, the seeds were returned to me.  Now they are 6" high beautiful tomato plants waiting to find a home in committee member's gardens.  There are enough for several committee members to share and grow and add to this journal.  Thus, our joint journal.  Thank you, Linda, for the seeds and it is our hope to return some to Seed Share.  Thank you Artful Sprout for your expertise in getting our seeds going.

Brandywine Pink is listed by Burpee as dating back to 1885 and is the heirloom tomato standard. "One taste and you'll be enchanted by its superb flavor and luscious shade of red-pink. The large, beefsteak-shaped fruits grow on unusually upright, potato-leaved plants. The fruits set one or two per cluster and ripen late—and are worth the wait. Brandywine's qualities really shine when it develops an incredible fine, sweet flavor."  All of the reviews were favorable.  A few growers stated low yield but said the taste made up for it! 

Product Details: A late season, indeterminate tomato.  85 days until maturity.  Takes full sun and grows 40-48".  Best in zones 3-9.  Not the most prolific, so don't depend on it as your only tomato for the season!

How to Harvest Heirloom Tomato Seeds (Also look on the WV63 page for additional instructions).

March 22-April 23 are seeds grown at Artful Sprout's house
March 22, 2014
Planted 20 seeds in 2" pots, 1/2" deep.  Miracle Grow moisture control potting mix under grow lights @ approximately 8" above the pots.

March 30, 2014
Germination of 15/20 seeds.  75% germination.

April 8, 2014
Transplanted to 3" pots after the second leaves appear.

April 18, 2014
Plants are now 4" high.  Raised the lights to 12".

April 23, 2014
Kept a few plants and returned a flat full of plants to WV Sprout to share with the other Sprouts.

More soon - aren't they beautiful!

Heirloom 'Brandywine Pink'
Started March 22.  Photo taken April 23.

The first part of this journal was posted by WV Sprout.  Plants will be distributed to other members soon and put into the ground after May 10.  Hopefully many committee members will add to this journal below with their progress and photos!  Horsey Sprout has already volunteered to help.

April 30, 2014 (WV Sprout)
Well, I know I am rushing it but going to be away for a few days so put my plants out a few days ago.  They are doing well despite a couple of hard storms.  Am trying some new tomato cages.  I have carefully checked the long range report and it looks like the coolest evening we are going to have is above 40, so keeping my fingers crossed. 
Brandywine Pink settling in.
Notice my deer repellent soaked tube sock in the background. 
Hopefully enough diversion with cages of various heights to discourage
the deer.

May 24, 2014 (WV Sprout)
My Brandywine Pinks are starting to add growth quickly.  The photo below shows the same plant as above a little over 3 weeks later.  It was evidently very hot while I was on vacation, then a late frost warning and the plants were given overnight protection.  Now back to a gorgeous late spring - cool evenings and sunshiny days.  Starting to taste those tomatoes!
Brandywine Pink on May 24, 2014

 May 30, 2014 (Artful Sprout)
Artful Sprout has a tomato!  And lots of blossoms.  She lives in downtown Charleston with rich riverbed soil and lots of sunshine.  How about the rest of you?  Anything showing?
The first tomato appears!
June 21, 2014 (Artful Sprout)
Visited Artful Sprout's garden today.  You should see her plants!  Big and full of tomatoes. Mine are catching up quickly.   If we measured success by how big the plant is this one would win first place.  They are fun to watch as they grow so fast.  Can taste the tomatoes already.

Artful Sprout's Brandywine pink.
Tomato from Artful Sprout

WV Sprouts plant is already topping the tomato cage.
I bought some stackable tomato cages and so will add the second level tomorrow.
July 7, 2014 (Artful Sprout)
Ripe tomatoes!  Artful sprout has the first that I know of.  She writes:  "One plant is now 63" high, we have three ripe tomatoes. I sent a photo of the second and third...first one was overripe when we got home from a weekend away - picked on July 1 however by my daughter....probably 5" across and 1 LB!!! We ate it before I remembered to photo!!!! These two are about 4". weigh 9 and 11 ounces each"

Look at the size of her plants!  Quite high and lovely.
Close up of the developing tomatoes.
The reward!  I would venture to say they are no longer sitting on the windowsill!

July 21, 2014 (WV Sprout)
I am home from the beach and look what awaited me - see photo below!  Can't wait for dinner tonight.  They look delicious.   Will let you know how they taste.  I may even make a tomato sandwich for lunch.  The four tomatoes on the left (plus there was a 5th one that I gave away to a friend) are the Brandywine Pink.  The two on the right are ones I bought at our local market this spring - a plum variety called Amish Paste as I love plum varieties.  These are heirlooms also and have a great reputation.  So I will add these to the list to seed save and send seeds back to Shirley Meniece in late September.  All of my plants are loaded with tomatoes so no more buying for the summer!
4 Brandywine Pinks on the left, 2 Amish Paste on the right

Here is my sliced Brandywine Pink - with a little JQ Dickinson
salt to top it off.  Read below about the revival of a centuries old
salt maker in Malden, WV

JQ Dickinson Saltworks:  Lewis Payne and his sister Nancy Bruns "have come together to revive our 200-year-old family trade in Malden, West Virginia, and once again produce salt for our local communities and beyond. With our love of the land and our shared culinary passion, we have worked to produce a rare, small-batch table salt, harvested from the ancient Iapetus Ocean trapped underneath the mountains of Appalachia.  The result is a pure, delicious salt sure to transform any dish."

My son enjoys vegetable gardening and I gave him a Brandywine Pink to try.  The plant was doing great, but tall and while away, it fell.  These tomatoes, being indeterminate, grow very tall and need a lot of staking.  So, even though he may lose the plant he will enjoy the several tomatoes that are on it and are just about ready to eat. (Photo below)

August 1, 2014 (Buffy Sprout)
More reports and photos are coming in from our Brandywine Pink growers.  New to our blog is Buffy Sprout.  Here is her journal:
April 19:  Planted her plant outside in Miracle Grow potting soil.  sprayed with milk to repel deer.
Watered daily - growing like a week!  Put a tomato cage around it for support.
April 20:  The first bloom.
June 7:  The first tiny green tomato.
July 8:  One red tomato to eat.
July 20:  A second red tomato.
Thanks for helping us with our journal Buffy Sprout!
Brandywine Pink grown by Buffy Sprout

August 1 (KittySprout - also on KittySprout's journal)
Brandywine Pink are a new variety for this year. WV Sprout gave me two plants. They seem to be bushier and taller than the WV 63 variety. They are beginning to mature also.

This little tomato was trying to hide. First of season for the Brandywine.

August 10, 2014
We are all struggling with the health of our tomatoes. More on that in a separate post to come in September as we finalize our tomato journal for this year.    Cooler temperatures this year, lots of rain probably are contributing factors.  An interesting article from our county ag agent John Porter is linked here:
Keeping Garden Fertility in Balance


  1. An exciting new plant to add to our blog - Brandywine Pink Heirloom Tomato!

  2. What an exciting prospect! Anyone who's tasted Brandywines know what a delicious treat they are. Thanks WVSprout for arranging this bonus for us, and thanks Artful Sprout for sharing with us. The photos of the seedlings are an inspiration!

  3. New update today on Brandywine Pink.

  4. New update and photo on my Brandywine Pink. I think some of the other Hort Committee ladies have some of these. Just go to this post and add your journals here so that all of the Brandywine Pink stories are together. Anxious to hear how yours are doing!

  5. The first tomato has appeared! Anyone else? If so, submit your photo and story on this page.

  6. New photos today of Artful Sprout & WV Sprout's tomato plants. Loaded with blossoms and very tall. Tasting them already.....

  7. Artful Sprout has picked ripe tomatoes - 3 of them. They are gorgeous and delicious. See her photos. How about the rest of you? Any luck yet. I have lots of tomatoes, but not yet red. Can't wait.

  8. The Brandywine Pinks are ripe - will try my first one today! They look delicious - anyone else eating theirs? If so, post a photo on this page and let us know.

  9. A new blogger Buffy Sprout has added to the Brandywine Pink story...