Every year, I try to incorporate at least one new tomato variety into my garden. However, I always make sure to have a favorite in my seed collection – the mortgage lifter.
This fleshy tomato is a tasty, heavy and easy-to-grow variety that you’ll definitely love. This is an heirloom cultivar that can produce over 2½ pounds of fruit! Not only that, but it is an open-pollinated variety that will produce fruit all the way until frost.
You’ll love the story behind Mortgage Lifter tomatoes—but you’ll love your yield even more.
Whether you’re a market gardener or just growing a few tomato plants for fun, here’s what you need to know to get started growing mortgage lifter tomatoes in your backyard garden this season.
What are mortgage lifters?
Grow up or go home – if that’s your motto, you’ll love what mortgage lifters have to offer.
These tomato plants produce large pinkish-red fruits that are similar in size, texture, and shape to other beefsteak varieties of tomatoes. They have very few seeds and mature in less than 85 days.
The plants are massive, producing vines up to 9 feet tall. As indeterminate tomatoes, they will bear fruit during the growing season. They are leguminous plants that can produce fruit up to 4 pounds in weight, although the average is closer to 2½ pounds. You won’t sacrifice flavor for size, either—these tomatoes are truly delicious with minimal acidity and maximum sweetness.
Hostage Lifters also has a funny backstory. The variety was first made in the 1930s in Logan by a mechanic named MC Biles. Like many people of the time, Biles was worried about how he would make a living – specifically, how he would pay off his outstanding home loan.
Over time, Biles came up with hostage lifters by crossbreeding other larger varieties of tomatoes, such as beefsteak, German Johnson, and another English and Italian variety. Using laborious growing techniques such as hand pollination (and a whole lot of patience), Biles eventually developed the popular variety we now know as the hostage lifter.
By making this gorgeous fruit gem, Biles was able to pay off his home loan in just 6 years. It paid the bills, that’s for sure!
Benefits of Growing Mortgage Lifters
There are countless benefits associated with growing mortgage lifter tomatoes. For one, they are rich in vitamins, providing potassium, vitamin B, vitamin K, and vitamin C.
These plants are easy to grow and don’t take up as much space as other tomato varieties—yet you’ll enjoy very high yields and very large fruits.
Tomatoes themselves are perfect for canning, making sauces, and slicing. They are juicy and sweet without a hint of acidity.
Mortgage lifters are fairly disease resistant and, as indeterminate tomatoes, have very few seeds and will produce a continuous batch of tomatoes for you throughout the season.
Growing Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes: 7 Tips
If you’re thinking about growing mortgage lifters in your garden, the good news is that it’s not much different from growing other types of tomatoes. However, you’ll need to make some changes to give these plants the best chance of success.
1. Proper Distance
Hostage thief tomatoes really like to spread! Because of this you should give them as much space as possible. It can prevent illness and a variety of problems related to air flow.
Space them at least 36 (but ideally closer to 48) inches apart. Space your rows every 4-feet to give them room to grow.
2. Provide Extra Days for Harvesting
On average, it takes about 80-85 days for the hostage lifters to be ready for harvesting. While it doesn’t necessarily take longer than any other late-season tomato, which requires about 80 days to be ready to go, as a general rule, it does grow better than early-season or mid-season varieties. in is longer. These take about 50-60 days to mature.
If you’ve only been waiting 50 days for your tomatoes to be ready, sit back and relax. You’ll have to wait longer for these tomatoes to mature! Trust me when I say it – it’s worth it.
3. Set stakes and cages early
As with all other types of tomatoes, pruning the hostage lifters is also important. Similarly, you also need to provide adequate support with cages, stakes or netting. No matter what type of support system you rely on, make sure you have it out early—ideally when you plant your seedlings.
Mortgage lifter plants grow rapidly and the fruit will be large before you even realize it. Once the plants bear fruit and really begin to spread, it will be difficult for you to move them around the cage or mesh without damaging the vines.
Therefore, it is better to decide what kind of support you want to use and install it early to prevent damage to your plants. In addition to limiting damage and disease problems, the extra support will encourage your plant to produce larger fruit and make the harvesting process much easier!
4. Choose the Best Possible Location
Grow your Mortgage Lifter tomatoes in a location that gets plenty of sunlight. These girls like bright sunlight for at least 6 hours a day, but ideally closer to 8.
The soil should be moist and well-draining. Your tomatoes will not like to have wet feet.
Not only that, but it is also a good idea to choose a soil that is more on the fertile side. These tomatoes are heavy feeders and while you can always fertilize later, planting in soil that has already been amended with lots of compost will help your plants get off to the best possible start.
5. Dial in your watering technology
Proper feeding and watering is essential when it comes to growing any type of tomato, but especially for heavy feeders and drinkers such as mortgage lifters.
Water regularly, providing 1-2 inches of water per week. If you don’t get that through natural precipitation, you’ll need a supplement. If possible, irrigate from below instead of above. This will prevent water from stagnation on the leaves, which can lead to fungal problems.
Use a drip irrigation system for best results. Water as early in the day as possible to give the foliage enough time to dry.
When it comes to watering, it’s important to be as consistent as possible. The mistake many people make when growing tomatoes of any type (but one that can be disastrous with mortgage lifters) is providing inconsistent amounts of moisture.
Watering sparingly, too much water on one occasion and not enough on the next, makes your tomatoes more prone to problems like blossom end rot. This is definitely something you don’t want to deal with when you’re growing plants that will produce large, juicy fruit like mortgage lifters.
6. Try to Avoid Cross-pollination
While it is sometimes difficult to avoid cross-pollination if you want a crop that is just as pure and predictable, try to avoid growing your hostage lifters in a location where they can be crossed by other varieties and cultivars. – Can be pollinated.
Plant tomatoes at least 25 feet apart, ideally with 10 or more plants of the same variety. You can also plant seeds for some competing flowers between rows to reduce the chance of any cross-pollination taking place.
This will help produce the most predictable crop and it will also be possible for you to save the seeds that are right for the variety.
7. Quickly use Crop
One final tip to keep in mind when you’re developing a hostage lifter is that you need to use your harvest as quickly as possible.
Although they are juicy, flavorful and pliable, mortgage lifters tend to soften and ripen much faster than other tomato varieties. Therefore, you have to keep them in the refrigerator and use them within a week or less for best results. Personally, I prefer to cook more with my extra mortgage lifters – but however you choose to use them, it’s entirely up to you!
what to keep in mind
Mortgage lifters are wonderful for growing tomatoes, especially if you want to get a lot of bang for your buck.
However, these aggressively growing plants are prone to some issues. They are heavy feeders, so if your soil is on the weak side, you will need to address this with tomato fertilizer before planting any seeds. You also need a lot of cooperation. Without it, your plants could crash and burn (quite literally!).
Mortgage lifters, if not irrigated consistently, are more vulnerable to cracks and splits. While this is not necessarily a disaster for your yield, it does open the door to a variety of fungal and bacterial diseases. Avoid this by irrigating consistently and evenly.
Otherwise, you don’t need to do much different than growing other varieties of tomatoes. Good luck – and enjoy the delicious fruits of your labor all summer and autumn!
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Idea Source: morningchores.com
- 1 What are mortgage lifters?
- 2 Benefits of Growing Mortgage Lifters
- 3 Growing Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes: 7 Tips
- 4 what to keep in mind