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may in your garden

April 28, 1985|BILL SIDNAM

SWEETER THAN STORE-BOUGHT

If you haven't tasted home-grown cherry tomatoes, you don't know what you're missing. For instance, take the variety called Sweet 100, pictured above. It not only has the highest Vitamin-C content of all tomatoes, but it also has the highest sugar content, which accounts for its marvelous, sweet flavor. Sweet 100 is truly a superb cocktail or snack tomato. And if flavor isn't enough, Sweet 100 is probably the most productive tomato ever developed. Expect an astronomical 800 to 1,000 fruit on each large, sprawling plant. The fruit are borne in grape-like clusters on long multiple branches.

Plants for Sweet 100 are available at most nurseries. If your local nursery doesn't have them, it can order them for you from a wholesale grower. Because of the large, sprawling nature of the Sweet 100, support for the plant in the form of cages or stakes, or a combination of both, must be provided.

If you do not have room for the large plants of Sweet 100, a variety called Small Fry will produce quantities of fruit in a large container such as a half-whiskey barrel. Small Fry also produces cherry tomatoes that have a high sugar content, but the plants are much smaller than Sweet 100.

If you don't have room for a container the size of a half-whiskey barrel, don't give up. Tiny Tim, a midget cherry tomato, grows to a height of only 12 inches and produces well in smaller containers. Plants for Small Fry and Tiny Tim aren't usually available; you will have to start the plants from seed, which you can obtain at local nurseries. You can plant seeds for Small Fry and Tiny Tim directly in the container in which you plan to grow them.

By the way, not all cherry tomatoes are red. A variety called Goldie Hybrid produces cherry-size fruit of a beautiful golden color. It has a compact habit that is suitable for most containers. Seeds for Goldie Hybrid are available by mail from the Park Seed Co., Greenwood, S.C. 29647.

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