The Heirloom Brandywine tomato variety is one of the most popular and oldest tomato cultivars in the United States. Yet, despite their popularity, many individuals fail to cultivate Brandywine tomatoes because they do not understand how to grow them effectively.
Brandywine tomatoes are available in various colors, including red, pink, orange, yellow, and even black. They’re popular due to their large size, superb taste, and pumpkin-like appearance. They’re also sweet, meaty, and juicy, making them perfect for sandwiches and eating on the go.
Despite their popularity, these enormous fleshy fruits are rarely seen in shops, making them difficult to enjoy. As a result, growing these wonderful fruits yourself is the greatest way to sample and enjoy their distinct flavor.
Growing the Brandywine tomato can be difficult. However, if you follow my guide on how to produce Brandywine tomatoes, you will have no troubles and a large harvest. In our guide, you can learn, is the Brandywine tomato determinate or indeterminate as this can make a difference when growing Brandywine tomatoes.
By the end, you’ll know enough to grow Brandywine tomatoes or other heirloom tomatoes that need to same growing conditions. (Read White Spots On Tomato Leaves – What To Do)
How Do You Plant Brandywine Tomatoes?
When growing Brandywine tomato plants, you can do this a couple of ways, although one is better than the other as you get better results and the tastiest tomatoes.
Seed Catalogs or Seedlings
Brandywine seeds are preferable to seedlings for growing Brandywine tomatoes. It is preferable to start seeds indoors around six weeks before the planned transplanting, which is usually after the last frost of the spring, where you sow the seeds 1/4 inch deep.
- Seeds require warm soil, so ensure your soil temperature is above 65 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that your seeds germinate quickly. While awaiting germination, keep the soil moist but not saturated. Once the seeds have broken through the soil, reduce the amount of watering.
- If you’re using seedlings instead of seeds, be sure they’re healthy and free of stains or blemishes on the leaves. Then, when the daytime temperature reaches 65F or higher, plant your seedling outside after the final frost.
- Choose a location where your seedling will get plenty of sun as the Brandywine tomato, like other tomatoes, requires at least 12 hours of sunlight to thrive.
- For each seedling, you intend to plant, dig a hole. Each hole should be two-thirds as deep as the height of the plant and twice the width of the root ball.
- A minimum of 30 inches should be left between the holes.
- Pinch off the leaves along the tomato start’s stem, leaving 1 to 2 sets of leaves at the top.
- Cover the planting area with a 3- to 6-inch layer of compost and till the soil to a depth of 12 inches after mixing in the compost. You can use a rake to smooth the soil. Seedling roots should be fanned outward and placed into the hole.
- Fill the hole with soil and give the heirloom tomato plant plenty of water.
Before tilling the soil, prepare the area where you want to grow Brandywine tomato by clearing it of weeds and other trash. Then, mix equal amounts of peat moss, vermiculite, and compost and water the soil well with the soil.
The Pink Brandywine tomato grows best in well-drained, fertile, organically rich soil. Use fertile clays and loams to get the best yield to produce fruit. Use lighter soil that drains and warms quickly if you want to harvest early. When you grow Brandywine tomato, they like slightly acidic soil with a pH of around 6.5. (Read Can Pigs Eat Tomatoes)
Watering is essential for Brandywine tomatoes during the growing season. You can either water them lightly every day or thoroughly once a week. Watering this species carefully provides more water to the plants and minimizes the risk of various parasites that can harm this fragile plant.
Overwatering can cause the soil to get soggy, which is hazardous to your plants. Poke the top 2 or 3 inches of soil for the greatest results, and if it is dry, water your plant. Instead of watering from above, apply the water directly to the soil at the plant’s base.
Brandywine tomatoes, like other tomato cultivars, are heavy feeders. Therefore, the Brandywine plants should be fertilized with an 18-18-21 nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium water-soluble starting fertilizer.
- One gallon of water plus one spoonful of fertilizer and 1 cup of the fertilizer mixture should be poured around the plant. Then, fertilize the tomato plant two more times in the same manner, once every 14 days.
- Fertilize the Brandywine tomato with nitrogen fertilizer once it blossoms.
- Apply one tablespoon of a 20-00-00 or similar slow-release fertilizer per plant. Reapply the fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks after watering the area to activate the fertilizer.
Transplanting Seeds Only
If you want to grow Brandywine tomato from seeds, wait until the last frost has passed and nighttime temperatures are at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Set containers outside in protected areas to harden off as cold temperatures quickly stress young plants.
- Cold soil and air temperatures might stress plants, so wait a week or two after the last frost.
- Plants that have flowered should not be transplanted, and look for strong, short, and dark green plants.
- Plant in the ground rather than in pots, and leave at least 20 inches between each plant.
- To reduce root disease risk, don’t plant for at least two years on soils that have recently grown tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, or eggplant.
- Carrots, onions, garlic, asparagus are all good companion plants for Brandywine tomatoes. But, in reality, Brandywine tomatoes will help protect the above plants from parasites and other dangerous situations.
One tip is never to grow Brandywine, Beefsteak tomato, or any tomato near corn, potatoes, or fennel herb.
Mulching is essential because it keeps the soil moist and weeds at bay. After the earth has warmed up, begin mulching. If lighting isn’t optimal, red plastic, a reflective mulch, will encourage fuller development.
If you’re live in a region where it doesn’t rain over 1 inch per week, make up the difference by watering the plants as your Brandywine tomatoes need a steady supply of water. (Learn How To Freeze Jalapenos)
Are Brandywine tomatoes determinate or indeterminate make a difference, and as they are indeterminate, they need support because of the vines and fruit size and fruit quality. Brandywine tomatoes grow well using wooden tomato stakes or tomato cages.
Pruning tomatoes promotes the development of new branches. By pinching off the suckers, tomatoes can be pruned down to one or two strong stems. Form a figure-8 with the stem in one loop and the stake in the other using soft string, twine, or fabric tied to the stake. This allows the stem to stretch without feeling suffocated.
When you water or fertilize the Brandywine tomatoes, pull any weeds growing around the plant. Then, as the tomatoes grow, adjust the tomato stems in the cage by pulling stems bent at odd angles through the cage’s apertures to straighten them.
Pests and Diseases
It is well known that this tomato is delicate, and as they take so long to ripen, they are more susceptible to pests and diseases. Therefore, it is best to water the soil and encourage plants like Marigolds and similar plants surrounding the tomato patch to keep bugs away.
Netting protects plants from birds, pests, and beetles while attracting beneficial insects like bees and wasps. Spacing and watering are vital to avoid fungal diseases with such large tomato varieties.
Pick tomatoes when they turn rosy pink or red. They usually mature 90 days after planting. When harvesting, cut the tomatoes off the stem, not the entire stem. When you grow Brandywine tomatoes that offer Black tomatoes, you might not use color as a guide.
Do Brandywine Tomatoes Need a Trellis?
When looking at how to grow Brandywine tomatoes, one thing is that this tomato variety delivers huge fruits. Like most tomato varieties, Brandywines need staking, trellising, or using hoops to keep them upright as they can grow 8 feet for some varieties.
Brandywine is very subject to pests and diseases. They are susceptible to practically all tomato pests because of their slow ripening and lack of hardiness. Watering at the soil level prevents most fungal infections. Also, encouraging plants like Marigolds and other bug-repellent plants to grow around the tomato patch helps. Netting keeps birds, bugs, and beetles away, but it keeps out beneficial insects that help pollinate.
Are Brandywine Tomatoes Difficult To Grow?
Growing ‘Brandywine’ is not much different from growing other tomatoes types. However, being a bit of a delicate heirloom, you may need to give these plants just a little extra TLC. Many gardeners do have saved seeds, and many sub-strains appear to offer a sweet flavor from organic gardening efforts.
- Choose a location that receives at least eight hours of direct sun a day.
- Seedlings should be planted every 24 to 36 inches in rows two to four feet apart in a bed of well-drained, fertile soil high in organic matter.
- Work a few inches of compost or aged manure into the top foot of soil. The soil should be slightly acidic, with a pH of about 6.0-6.8.
- If you have the space, it is best to avoid planting where tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, or eggplant have recently grown to avoid the risk of disease spread. Rotate nightshade crops every couple of years if possible.
- Mulching with at least a couple of inches of straw or shredded leaves will help to keep the soil warm, improve drainage, and reduce weeds. Keep mulch back a couple of inches away from the stems.
- Weed regularly and provided adequate water. Plants need an inch of water a week—also, water at the base to avoid splashing leaves, promoting disease.
- Tomatoes benefit from an abundance of available nutrients. In my experience, planting in nutrient-rich soil with lots of organic matter will produce the best results.
- You can also choose to supplement with fertilizer. Do this by either side dressing with an organic fertilizer when plants begin to set fruit and again every one to two months, or apply a liquid solution of fish emulsion, seaweed extract, or compost tea around the base of plants and as a foliar feed every two weeks.
- Look for a fertilizer with a 5-10-10 NPK ratio. Avoid planting tomatoes with too much nitrogen, as you risk increased foliage growth at the expense of fruiting.
How Much Space Do Brandywine Tomatoes Need?
Depending on the nature of your starts, recommendations on spacing vary slightly:
- 12 to 24 inches apart for determinate varieties
- 14 to 20 inches apart for staked indeterminate varieties
- 24 to 36 inches apart for unstaked indeterminate varieties
Mulch plants after they bloom to keep soil moist and weeds at bay. If light conditions are not optimum, a reflecting mulch, such as red plastic, can promote full development. Heirloom varieties such as these need you to maintain soil moisture and full sun. (Read Are Coffee Grounds Good For Tomato Plants)
Aside from variety, several other factors affect total output, initial harvest, and fruit quality. Raised beds, black plastic mulch, and regular watering or drip irrigation can help all three.
- How do you support growing Brandywine tomatoes affect or other tomatoes affect performance? Stakeless varieties don’t need it. However, staking and trimming indeterminate kinds can improve fruit quality, keep fruit cleaner, and make harvest easier.
- Staking and pruning diminish total output but increase fruit size. Staked and trimmed plants are prone to blossom end rot and sunscald. Spreading indeterminate varieties decreases labor but increases space and disease susceptibility.
- Tomato stakes are usually 6 feet long and 12 inches square, but other materials work too. To avoid root damage, stakes should be 8-10 inches deep.
- Trim suckers sprouting from leaf vigorous stems meet the main stem to one or two robust stems when they are 2 to 4 inches long.
- String, thread, or cloth to tie stems and the stake. This allows the stem to expand without restriction. Begin 8-12 inches above the ground and continue tying simultaneously. A row of plants set 4 feet apart between heavy-duty stakes or supports is an alternative to individual stakes.
- Tomato cages are an excellent balance between staking and letting a delicate plant spread. You can buy tomato cages or bend a 6-foot-long piece of 4- to 6-inch wire mesh into a 22-inch-diameter cylinder.