Thomas Jefferson was a pioneer in tomato culture, planting the relatively unfamiliar tomato from 1809 until his death in 1826. He also noted that “tomatas” were grown in Virginia gardens in Notes on the State of Virginia (1782). Costoluto Genovese is an old, Italian preserving tomato. Although an oddity in today’s vegetable garden, this variety’s heavily-lobed and convoluted shape reflects the character of early 19th-century tomatoes. Its stellar flavor is intense and acidic.
Start seeds of this indeterminate variety indoors 4-6 weeks before the last spring frost, transplant to 3” pots once they have several true leaves, then harden off and transplant outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Plants require support and frequent fertilization. Approximately 35 seeds per packet.
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Line Drawing by Lucia Stanton.