Red Siberian Tomato - one of the earliest, cold resistant tomatoes (50 days)

This is a Russian heirloom variety from Siberia. The original Russian name is not known. The plant is capable of setting fruit even at 38 degrees. This is one of the earliest varieties on the market, and it takes only 7 weeks to set fruit when transplanted outdoors. This is popular variety grown in Alaska.

I bought the seeds at Whole Foods for $1.89, 30 seeds packaged by Botanical Interests. Here is the info from the package and their website:

Tomato Pole Red Siberian HEIRLOOM Seeds, Lycopersicon lycopersicum, Item #0053
55 days from transplanting. Indeterminate.

Only an heirloom tomato that came from the climate of Siberia could tolerate the fickle and sometimes cool temperatures that exasperate gardeners in spring. Red Siberian withstands cool temperatures and still sets fruit when other tomatoes have stopped producing! Provide support for vines that reach 6 feet or more. This packet plants approximately 24 plants when started indoors.

Days to Emerge: 5-10 days
Seed Depth: 1/8”
Seed Spacing: A group of 3 seeds every 24”
Row Spacing: 3’
Thinning: When 2” tall thin to 1 every 24”

When to sow outside: Recommended for mild winter climates only: 1 to 2 weeks before average last frost and when soil temperatures are at least 60° F.

When to start inside: RECOMMENDED. 6 to 8 weeks before average last frost.

How to transplant

Prevent the shock of transplanting your tomatoes. Set your potted tomatoes outdoors in a protected area for one week before transplanting them into the ground, or in an outdoor container. This way the plants will become acclimated to the temperature changes throughout the day and night. Make sure your tomato plants are watered thoroughly 12 to 13 hours before transplanting.

Use heat-transmitting mulches when tomato plants are transplanted to keep the roots warm. Other possible covers are plastic sheeting (around plants) or row covers. Plastic tomato tunnels work well, in coastal areas especially, to protect tomatoes from cool night air and any light frost. Tunnels or covers can be removed after the tomatoes have been transplanted approximately for weeks or when temperatures run in the 80s during the day.

When to harvest

Harvesting: Harvest tomatoes when fully colored and firm. About 1 month before the average first fall frost, clip all blossoms and any undersized fruit off the plant. This will steer all the plant’s remaining energy into ripening what’s left. If you have a lot of green tomatoes near the end of the season, and a frost is approaching, pick them and store them indoors in a single layer away from direct sunlight to ripen.

What to expect from the fruits

The fruits are 9-12 oz, consistently large and uniformly shaped, with a sweet flavor, meaty but also juicy. Fruit color is sometimes pink (not red) despite the name, Red Siberian Tomato.

The 'Siberian' produces clusters of small, bright red fruit about 3 to 5 ounces (85 to 142 g) each. Plants will set fruit even in low temperatures of 40° F (4° C). This is a good variety to grow while you are waiting for later varieties to mature. It is perfect for containers and smaller gardens.


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