Appalachia Gardening

The Mountain Princess Tomato

Mountain princess tomato heirloom

Thanks to the generosity of Sow True Seed I’m growing the heirloom tomato Mountain Princess for the first time this year. I told you a while back about the amazing production of the tomato plants-and now I know they taste good too. Its definitely a variety we will grow for years to come.

Growing mountain princess tomatoes

The tomatoes are on the small side-but have wonderful flavor-and as you can see from the photo-they are providing a bumper crop for us this year.

We planted most of our tomatoes in 4 new raised beds The Deer Hunter built out by the greenhouse. The Cherokee Purples are coming in as are the Cream and Sausage paste tomatoes. The Brandywines haven’t ripened yet-but I’m hoping the rain we’ve been getting over the past 2 days will help them along.

This looks to be one of the best tomato crops we’ve ever had. I believe there were a few factors that contributed to the success:

*Sow True Seed sponsoring my garden with high quality seeds.

*I used a better starter mix-instead of trying to skimp like I usually do when I start seeds.

*The new beds-have a fresh load of mushroom compost mixed in them.

Our long term gardening plans have taken a blow this year. The greenhouse has major damage to it.

Shortly after we built it last year, a hail storm left tiny holes all in the covering. We left the plastic-thinking we’d use it till we just had to change it. A hail storm earlier this Spring helped enlarge all the small holes from last year-but we managed to make it work until the seedlings were all out and planted. A recent freaky ferocious wind finished off the greenhouse covering-you can now exit or enter it 4 different ways.



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  • Reply
    July 28, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Oh no!!! So sorry about the green house.

  • Reply
    July 15, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    I’ve been planting heirloom tomatoes for 4 years now…this will be the first year I try to save my own seeds. Cherokee Purple are one of my favorites. Some years they are bountious producers and other years they are rather stingy with their fruit. I grew a Black Krim last year and it was tasty. Small fruit and very dark! I grew a green paste one that looks sort of like an overgrown chili pepper, I’ll think of the name eventually. Grew stupice (pronounced stew-P-ka) they were abundant small about 2-3 inch, but loads of fruit!!! Amish paste is one I usually grow too makes wonderful sauce. This year I have Cherokee purple, Stupice, Indigo Rose(not heritage, but my friend thought I should add a blue tomato to “my collection” We shall see as it’s not the healthiest looking bush. I also planted supersteak (not sure whether it’s a hybrid or not), siberia which is a heritage/heirloom tomato, as well as Pineapple (yellow), and San morano, which is a paste tomato. I noticed tonight there is a volunteer too! Yay! My tomatoes are just blooming…one has a tiny green tomato on it…the eggplant is just blooming. The squash are blooming but the plants are tiny. It’s been so rainy and cool here all spring/summer that first it was too wet to plant and then it just sat there cool and cloudy. This week has been suddenly in the 80s and I’ve had to start watering…tonight it looks like rain, but I watered just in case it’s only looking. Blessings on all your gardens!!!

  • Reply
    July 13, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    A pretty tomato with a pretty name 🙂

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    July 13, 2012 at 8:34 am

    I love tomatoes and ours are just now getting ripe. i can’t wait to just pick one from the garden and eat it like an apple. Store bought tomatoes are awful in comparison. We are growing Celebrity tomatoes this year.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Tipper, those tomatoes look absoutely delicious. Wish I was your neighbor cause I know you would share with me. Thanks for
    the pictures.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    July 11, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    As for canning, Rutgers, Marglobe, Jubilee and Roma all can up nicely and make good tasting tomatoes for recipes later on. Of course, Roma is a mainstay for sauces and Italian dishes. Treated right and given nutrients, all are good producers, too. Few are as beautiful as yours.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    It has been a good season for tomatoes, even up here in the frozen north. Mine aren’t ripe yet, but the plants are just crawling with fruit. My Italian grandpa always said that warm nights are a tomato plant’s best friend and we’ve sure had plenty of them.
    Sorry to hear about your greenhouse, I hope you plan to re-build!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 11, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Oh, Tipper, those tomatoes look so good. I can’t wait ti get there in a couple of weeks and eat my fill.
    Yes, I’m sure Ed is correct. The Deer Hunter will be planning a cure for the ailing greenhouse and I may just have an idea that will help. But I’ll save it till I see you.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    July 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I guess you were lucky the greenhouse wasn’t made from glass. Sorry, but maybe the frame is good enough to attach new plastic to. The tomatoes look wonderful; I tried the Cherikee ones last year, but only managed to get a few plum sized tomatoes. I passed on the tomatoes this year.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    your tomatoes sure look mighty good. for the two years mine not to good. my eye dr.give some good adivise back in feb he told me to gig holes there i was to plant. I did in the holes I put one hand full epson salt one hand of m.grow and 10-10-10 marked the holes. I some good tomatoes. In spite of the hot weather

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    July 11, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Mountain Princess makes me hungry just to view your pictures of them on the vines!

  • Reply
    July 11, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Morning Tipper!
    Nice looking maters! Looks as though we may have some good rain for the next two days??? I hope so, my baby honey dew and watermelons are beginning to get some size to them. My tomatoes have produced some small fruit this year and the heat has scalded so many of them that I despair 🙁
    I have tried for two years to grow Atkins that my grandfather grew and I have not been impressed with the seeds I have bought from two different places. I just don’t think that they are up to snuff anymore. I need some help finding a really healthy, large canning tomato to grow next year. I don’t want any crazy ribbed things that are too hard to peal either. I realize that the hybrids often do better, but I would really like to save my seeds and know that I have good ones to grow every year. What do you recommend for my canning tomatoes next year? I think that I will ask sow true seeds what they say I should grow.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Those Mountain Princess tomatoes
    are a pretty red. I ain’t got one
    tomato so far, but noticed a
    German Johnson Pink turning a bit
    yesterday. There are several nice
    ones on those, but the Cream and
    Sausage are the producingest things I ever saw. I have to keep
    re-tying and they’re so heavy my
    hangers are bending. The Cherokee
    Purples have beautiful vines but
    nary a tomato on any so far…Ken

  • Reply
    July 11, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Those tomatoes look so good. I bet that they smell like tomatoes too. A lot of the hybrids that we raise here don’t seem to have that smell. They look like the size that I love to sprinkle with a little salt and eat like an apple. Hope you and your family enjoy them!

  • Reply
    July 11, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Great looking tomatoes! Here in Ky ours have not rippened yet but we have plenty of them. I have fried up a few green ones (yum). We are growing Ox Hearts and Plum tomatoes. If you haven’t tried the Ox Heart it is a good tasting very meaty tomato.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2012 at 9:04 am

    It looks like you do have a bumper crop of tomatoes this year. My plants look like trees with very few tomatoes on them. I got my first ripe one yesterday after throwing away at least ten that were rotten on the bottom. Mom always said that city water only keeps the plants alive and does little for the growth of the vegetable. City water is about the only form of water my garden has enjoyed this year. We have a chance of rain during the next 3-4 days. Can’t wait!

  • Reply
    Jackie @Syrup and Biscuits
    July 11, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Beautiful ‘maters, Tipper! All my tomatoes just played out. I’ll plant again in the fall.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    July 11, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Great looking tomato plants. I’ve been enjoying a Cherokee Purple on sandwiches all week. YUMM I can’t claim growing it though..bought it at my local vegetable stand. Still good.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2012 at 8:31 am

    These tomatoes do look very good. I always like having some tomatoes that don’t grow into huge orbs. That way they ripen earlier and I get to eat them sooner.

  • Reply
    Ed Myers
    July 11, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Congratulations, Tipper.
    I’m experimenting this year with an heirloom tomato called the “Mortgage Lifter”, so called because the breeder was able to pay off his mortgage with the proceeds from the sale of same. Mine are a little behind, but I’ll let you know how they turn out.
    For local area readers who want to really improve their gardens of all types, I’d recommend ordering some vegetable compost from Cherokee (828-497-4519), where it is made from Casino restaurant leavings and such. It is quite cheap compared to bagged supplies and they will deliver. I’ve already bought three tons of highly quality compost from them and intend to buy more in preparation for Fall.
    For manure and other local soil enrichment and local gardening supply sources, free and for a small fee, I’d recommend contacting Christine Bredenkamp, who runs a number of gardening-related education programs, including NC Master Gardener volunteer programs in Swain, Jackson and other western North Carolina counties ([email protected]). She is quite knowledgeable and very friendly and helpful.
    Raised beds. It’s really where it’s at as far as most gardening is concerned. Easier to weed and control varmint intrusions. You see your soil improve to a rich, black humus year by year. Also Gardening Supplies sells a kind of floating row cover, hoop based instant greenhouse hoop system that can be used with raised beds all year, even winter, to grow fine vegetables and limit insect intrusions.

  • Reply
    Steve in Tn
    July 11, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Nice tomatos. I didn’t sucker mine so I have a jungle and picking tomatoes is like an easter egg hunt in the Amazon. I will do better next year. My new plan is plant less and take better care of each plant.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    July 11, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Tipper–It has been a truly banner year for me and the mater end of things. In fact, I sold a half bushel of Lemon Boys to a local restaurant yesterday (wish they had contacted me earlier, as we’ve been scrambling to find folks to give them to for a month). Have you ever tried Early Girl? They are the most productive tomato I’ve ever grown, and I’ve probably tried at least 70 varieties over the years. They run small but have virtually no core and the stem comes off very easily. They are also seemingly resistant to blossom end rot, which sounds like it could be part of Ed Ammons’s problem (Ed–two things are the primary causes of blossom end rote, soil that is too acidic and uneven moisture. Lime or saving your eggshells and crumbling in some with each hill will take care of the former, while mulching helps with the latter).
    I’m amazed at the prices locally grown tomatoes fetch ($1.79 a pound here!). I can remember selling some Daddy grew when I was a boy for a dime a pound and being tickled pink with that price.
    Of all the tomatoes I’ve grown, I have to reckon that Cherokee Purple is my favorite for taste. Have you tried Cherokee Green? It is still green when ripe (you learn to tell when they are ready over time) and very sweet and low in acid.
    Sounds like the Deer Hunter has a good project for fall with the green house.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner)
    July 11, 2012 at 8:15 am

    I have just GOT to tell y’all… I’m growing tomatoes! Yes, we do live in the woods, but we do have some sunny areas that I thought just might have sun long enough to grow some tomatoes of our own. It’s working! Now, I just went with dependable Burpee plants to begin with. I figured I’d start with plants that I wouldn’t grieve too much over if I killed them. We’ve already eaten two tomatoes and the vines are now covered with flowers and little, baby fruit. I’d almost forgotten how dadgummed good tomatoes taste when their fully ripe and still warm off the vine.

  • Reply
    July 11, 2012 at 8:13 am

    So sorry to hear about all your problems with the greenhouse. In true mountain spirit I know you will just keep trying, as you seem to be a steel Magnolia, Tipper. All the years I have planted and with all the pests and deer, I am still pleasantly surprised with a bumper crop of something. Last year I had so many yellow squash and peppers that I was giving them to everybody. My garden started doing better when somebody advised me about putting watered down Epsom Salts around plants that appear pale and spindly. Works for me to replenish the magnesium and refresh the plants. Thanks so much to all the posters, as I learn so much from them.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 11, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Hi Tipper, those tomatoes sure look good!
    I’ve just gotten home from your neck of the woods and catching up on all the posts. Thanks for following up on the bees, so interesting, going to read that link you gave. I’ve had a little trouble posting, but I think it may be over now.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    July 11, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Your tomatoes look so good! Up here in PA, we’re still waiting for our to ripen…. it’s always a long wait.

  • Reply
    Leo at Cottage at the Crossroads
    July 11, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Those tomatoes look good. We have had a really good crop of tomatoes this year also. I installed drip lines to all my plants and the result has been amazing. We enjoy your blog.
    Happy gardening.

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    July 11, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Those tomatoes sure look good! Nothing like a vine ripened heirloom one to take a person to a whole new degree of tomato appreciation!
    Our green house met a similar fate this year and the hot dry weather has done a job on our garden too, sad to report.
    We got a couple little showers this weekend and it is cooler, perhaps the garden will revive.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 11, 2012 at 6:16 am

    When I read across mushroom compost I just had to google it and it is just what I expected. At first I had thought, composted mushrooms? Nah! As I read further, there it is, composted horse manure and bedding. It is used to grow mushrooms.
    People at work like to compare us peons to mushrooms. Kept in the dark and fed horse(poop) So now I can tell them we are treated better than that. We are still kept in the dark, but we’re fed Mushroom Compost!
    I am glad your maters are doing good. Mine have suffered through hail and windstorms like I have never seen before and are starting to rot on the vine. Every time I see a hint of red I start salivating only to discover a brown mushy mess on the other side.
    Sorry to hear about the greenhouse. I’ll bet the Deer Hunter has already formulated a plan to rebuild it this fall. Or a bigger better one!

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    July 11, 2012 at 5:50 am

    Those tomatoes look so good…I am glad you are having a good year for your tomatoes…I can just see those canned whole, they seem to be just the right size…
    In my minds eye, I thought the
    Mountain Princess would be more of a pink tomato…but it seems to be the perfect red…
    Sorry about your greenhouse…I wonder if you could use clear fiberglass panels some way…Of course if you went to all that trouble, it would never hail again…
    Send me one of those tomatoes and I’ll make garden slaw for lunch..yummm!..
    The Raincrow did his thing day before yesterday…with his tock, tock, tock call..He was “a day late and a dollar short” as it had already rained during the night…You know he is just Cuckoo…pun intended! LOL
    It was so funny. I was out playing with the chickens when he called. For a minute the little Banty rooster, got all excited and started warning the hens to stand stationary or run under the chicken house!…I guess he thought some “jungle predator” was loose in the woods!..LOL
    Thanks Tipper, have a good day…

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