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Smith & Hawken: 100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; First Edition edition (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761114009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761114000
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #602,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

This is a book for the true tomato snob who is not content with the ordinary red beefsteak weighing heavily on the vine at the end of summer. Yellow, pink, green, and orange tomatoes are all part of this guide to heirloom varieties, many of which are only available through catalogs or through an organization called the Seed Savers Exchange.

Author Carolyn Male favors heirlooms that have been passed down through families, not commercially created hybrids. She does not hesitate to be critical, calling some varieties mealy or bland, while others send her into epiphanies. Although she makes gestures toward guiding the novice, this is a book for either food fanatics or experts who move in the subculture of truly obsessed gardeners catering to gourmet cooks and specialty markets. Throughout the book, enticing photographs of freshly picked heirlooms remind the reader that grocery store tomatoes aren't really tomatoes at all, sitting sadly under fluorescent lights, losing their flavor and color. If only they had been born in a tomato snob's garden; then they would have been treated like royalty. -–Emily White

Book Description

Tomatoes have always been far and away the most popular plant in the vegetable garden, and today the class act among tomatoes is the heirloom varieties--those vegetables with a past that go back generations, their seeds preserved and passed down among families, friends, and dedicated farmers. And no one knows heirloom tomatoes like Carolyn Male, a biologist who's grown more than a thousand varieties in the last 14 years. Following the lush and practical format of 100 English Roses for the American Garden (with 57,000 copies in print), 100 Heirloom Tomatoes is a thorough how-to and a stunningly photographed field guide. It covers every facet of growing heirlooms, from selecting the right varieties for your zone and type of garden to timing and planting of seeds, transplanting, hardening off, staking vs. caging, fertilizing, and more. There's a section on how to become a seed saver and even how to do crosses that will lead to creating your own heirlooms. Then comes the tasty part: Aunt Ginny's Purple and Amish Paste, Redfield Beauty, Green Zebra, Georgia Streak and the Santa Clara Canner. Fluted, scalloped, flattened, or lobed--white, pink, red, orange, gold, or chocolate brown--sweet to tart, mild to strong, perfumed and fruity to dark and smoky--now these are tomatoes with real character.

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Customer Reviews

Dr. Male does an excellent job explaining each of the 100 varieties of heirloom tomatoes she recommends.
Abby Wheeler
If she ever decides to write another book about tomatoes, I would want to buy it no matter what she actually decided to say.
michael wade
This book has a lot of good information on heirloom tomatoes, along with some absolutely beautiful photography.
D. J. Stone

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A. Ryan on April 7, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the book for anybody who has ever bitten into a store-bought tomato and wondered whatever happened to rich, juicy flavor. Three years ago I was asking myself that same question when I stumbled across Dr. Carolyn Male's 100 HEIRLOOM TOMATOES FOR THE AMERICAN GARDEN.
Written by an avid Seed Savers' Exchange member after she had grown more than 1,000 heirloom varieties of tomato, this book is an introduction to open-pollinated (as opposed to the unjustly popular hybridized) tomatoes for home gardeners. Dr. Male manages to discuss the historical and present significance of cultivating these heirlooms in a rational voice while yet relaying her passion for the flavorful heritage they represent to her. The field guide has full-page photographs of each kind with notes on their colorful origins, flavor types and everything else you could want to know about these personal treasures. Soon you will find yourself caught up in the mania to seek out the assortment of seeds that will yield tomatoes with character, lore and unbeatable taste.
Although it has a truncated field guide format and flexible cover, 100 HEIRLOOM TOMATOES also serves as an excellent primer for general tomato culture. In the first 42 pates you will learn about selecting the right heirloom for your purposes, germinating and transplanting, common diseases and conditions, saving your own seeds, etc. Dr. Male looks at various standard schools of thought thoughout this section while presenting good arguments for her own practices.
I found this book to be one of the more honest examinations of tomato varieties, from Dr. Male's frank mention of both pros and cons down to the photos, which displayed typical physiological flaws alongside more perfect examples of the fruit and foliage.
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 27, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I confess to a passionate love of growing tomatoes that goes back to childhood. And I have an equal love for the taste of those sun-warm, acid-sweet juicy fruits that make summer taste like summer. This year, finally moving to a tomato-friendly climate for the first time in two decades, I rushed to plant an heirloom tomato even in a container, before I could cultivate a true garden.
Heirloom tomatoes come from seeds saved by tomato enthusiasts who have done us all the huge favor of preserving varieties of tomatoes that taste great, look interesting (all kinds of colors) and far better than the F1 hybrid boring red globes palmed off by the average seed company. While F1 hybrid tomatoes are easy and reliable and very disease-resistant, they often lack that huge tomato taste we all remember from childhood. (These hybrid tomatoes do have their place, however. Some of the modern hybrids will mature in a very short time, thus are the only tomatoes you can grow in hostile climates like Germany and New England.)
This book has all the information I need for next year's adventure in tomato culture. It lists 100 heirloom varieties, gives their strengths (resistance to common tomato ailments, pleasing taste, form) and their weaknesses as well. In addition, Dr. Male provides the history of the variety, which is interesting reading. The pictures by photographer Frank Iannotti are not only mouthwateringly lovely, but they accurately show a typical batch of tomatoes from a given cultivar--not all the fruits are perfect, some have typical defects such as stitching, weird shapes and other oddities. This gives you an accurate idea of what to expect. I compared Dr. Male's description of Yellow Brandywine to my experience this year.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Genie in Arizona on July 14, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While I was impressed with the exhaustive (yet lively) information

provided by Dr. Carolyn Male, perhaps MOST IMPORTANT to tomato

growers are the realistic pictures. Instead of 100 photos of

"perfect tomatoes" - you see the imperfections associated with

each variety: i.e. if the tomato is prone to cracking, green

shoulders, or catfacing... she tells you this AND provides

pictures! Two years ago, I was kicking myself for producing oddly

shaped and sometimes ugly heirloom tomatoes. Sure wish I had this

book back then.

If YOU plan to grow heirloom tomatoes... BUY THIS BOOK!!!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
Dr. Male has written a beautiful and extremely helpful guide to wonderful heirloom tomatoes. I like to try different tomato varieties every year, and this book will be my guide to what to grow next year. I must add that I am mystified by the comments of Ms Emily White, who accuses growers of heirloom tomatoes of being snobs and fanatics. We just like good tomatoes. Heirlooms were handed down through the generations by family farmers, not snobs. I know quite a few people who grow heirloom vegetables, and they grow them for the taste, not some elitist attitude or for specialty markets. All my heirloom tomatoes end up on my surburban dinner table. I seriously question whether Ms White has ever grown anything. If she does grow tomatoes, I suggest that she try some heirloom varieties before criticizing those who grow them. If you love garden fresh tomatoes, buy this book!
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