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Squash, cucumbers, melons, eggplant, okra, tomatoes and other vegetables in your garden depend on bees to set fruit, so plant yourself some insurance with flowers that will attract them. Bee balm is one of their favorites.
As soon as the weather is dependably warm and sunny, you should see the bees visiting your plants. Bee balm is perennial in Zones 4 through 9, so put it in a corner of the garden were it can grow undisturbed. It will multiply, too. If you “deadhead,” or cut off the old blooms when they fade, bee balm will bloom longer.
Black Russian Tomato Seeds
These Black Russian Tomato Seeds are medium sized black tomatoes that grow on compact plants bearing plenty
of dark mahogany-brown fruits, with a delicious blend of sugar and acid,
making a distinctive, complex flavor that has to be tasted to be believed.
(Lycopersicon esculentum). Indeterminate. 80 Days to harvest. 30 seeds per package.
Vegetable Garden - Tips on Growing Black Russian Tomato Seeds
The main crop in some home gardens, and for the home gardener are tomatoes that deliver the taste of summer in every bite. Just a few healthy plants will produce buckets of beautiful Tomatoes loaded with flavor and nutrition. Tomatoes run on warmth, so they are best planted in late spring and early summer except in Zone 10, where they are a fall and winter crop. Choosing varieties can be confusing because there is such a large of selection of seeds to choose from, but it’s a good idea to plant some of each for variety and length of season. Devote a prime, sunny spot for your tomatoes, which will grow into a tall screen of green foliage studded with ripening fruits in mid- to late summer. Tomatoes need at least 8 hours of sun to bring out their best flavors, and you will need to stake, trellis, or cage the sprawling plants to keep them off the ground. Deciding on a support plan before you set out your tomato plants out is suggested.
You can combine fast-maturing varieties with mid and late season, but wait until any danger of frost has passed to transplant your tomatoes.
USDA Hardiness Zone -First Frost Date- Last Frost Date
- Zone 1 -July 15th -June 15th
- Zone 2 -August 15th- May 15th
- Zone 3 -September 15th May 15th
- Zone 4 -September 15th May 15th
- Zone 5 -October 15th April 15th
- Zone 6 -October 15th April 15th
- Zone 7 -October 15th April 15th
- Zone 8 -November 15th March 15th
- Zone 9 -December 15th February 15th
- Zone 10 -December 15th January 31st (sometimes earlier)
- Zone 11 -No frost. No frost.
START INDOORS in a warm, well-lighted area at least 5-7 weeks before last the last frost. Sow Tomato seeds ¼" deep in seed starting formula. Keep evenly moist. Tomato seedlings emerge in 5-8 days at 70º F. Prior to transplanting to the garden, accustom to outdoor conditions by moving to a sheltered place outside for a week.
- Black Russian Tomato Seeds Depth: 1/4"
- Soil Temperature for Germination.: 70-90°F
- Days to Germination.: 6-10
- Plant Spacing: 18"-24"
- Full Sun
- Moderate Water
The Black Russian Tomato Seedlings are to stand 3-4" apart each way if left un staked; 2½" apart each way if staked or grown in cages. Tomatoes need full sun and well drained soil. Did you know that the best time to transplant is on a cloudy day or in the morning or evening hours when the sun is not as intense? And water your tomato seedlings just before you are ready to transplant to help the root ball intact.
Water deeply once a week in dry weather. Cultivate or mulch to control weeds. A trick that we learned from a grower of Hydroponics Tomatoes, that was in the absence of bees, he would flick the tomato flower with your index finger lightly, and this would help in the pollination process.
- Space robust, long-vine, indeterminate varieties about 3 feet apart.
- Stocky determinate plants can be grown at tighter 2-foot spacing.
- A single patio tomato plant will fill an 18-inch-wide container.
GROWING INFORMATION for Black Russian Tomato Seeds:
- Tomatoes take up nutrients best when the soil pH ranges from 6.2 to 6.8, and they need a constant supply of major and minor plant nutrients. To provide the major nutrients, mix a balanced timed-release or organic fertilizer into the soil as you prepare the holes for planting, and be careful to follow the rates given on the label. At the same time, mix in 3 to 4 inches of compost. The compost will provide minor nutrients and help hold moisture and fertilizer in the soil until it is needed by the plants.
- To quickly increase the root mass of the tomato plants, we recommend soil that is loose and deep planting, so that two-thirds of the plant's stem is buried in moist, loose soil. Cover the ground with 2 to 4 inches of mulch to help suppress weeds and keep the soil evenly moist. You can use straw and or shredded leaves as they make great mulches for tomatoes, or you can use weed-free grass clippings, applied in 1-inch layers every few weeks. Do not apply grass clippings any thicker or they will mat down and prevent water from passing through entirely. If summer droughts are common in your area, use soaker hoses, drip systems or other drought techniques to help maintain the even soil moisture, which is the key to preventing cracked fruits and blossom-end rot. For maximum efficiency and eye appeal, place soaker hoses around the plants and cover with mulch.
- As the summer starts to heat up, some tomatoes will show signs that it is difficult for them to set fruit. Be patient however, and you will start seeing little green tomatoes again when nights begin to cool down. Meanwhile, promptly harvest and remove the ripe tomatoes as to relieve stressed plants of their heavy burden. If you live in an area where summertime temperatures are typically in the 90s, be sure to choose some varieties bred for their ability to set fruit under high temperatures.
- By late summer, plants that began producing early in the season will show signs of exhaustion. It will take but a few minutes to coax out new growth by pruning away withered leaves and branches. Then follow up with liquid fertilizer and treatments for leaf diseases or insects, if needed.
If you have humid conditions that are close to the ground, this will create the ideal conditions for fungal diseases like early blight, which causes dark spots to form on the lower leaves. Remove the leaves from the bottom so nothing is touching the ground.
- In mid-summer, big green caterpillars called tomato hornworms eat tomato foliage and sometimes damage fruits as well.
- As your tomatoes begin to ripen, their color changes from vibrant medium-green to a lighter shade, with faint pink or yellow stripes. These "breakers," or mature green tomatoes, can be chopped into Tomato salsa, pickled, or pan-fried into a crispy appetizer. Or you can allow the tomato flavor to become much more complex as the fruits ripen, so you have good reason to wait. The exact signs of ripeness vary with each variety, but the general rule would be for perfectly ripe tomatoes, is that they show deep color yet still feel firm when gently squeezed. Store your picked tomatoes at room temperature indoors, or in a shady, cooler place outside. Never refrigerate tomatoes, because as temperatures get below 55°F, this will cause the precious flavors to break down. Abundant crops can be frozen, canned, or dried for future use.
If you see cracking:
Both radical cracking ( from the stem downward) and concentric cracking( around the stem) is caused when the plant takes up too much water too quickly. As tomatoes begin turning red, their skin becomes less flexible. Uneven watering or rain following a dry period encourages the plant to drink too quickly, thus cracking the fruit in a radical direction. Later in the season cool nights combine with uneven moisture will then cause the concentric cracking. The smallest like cherry tomatoes and tomatoes over 3" in diameter are most susceptible, as well as old varieties. Some of the new tomatoes that are crack resistant would be a Celebrity Tomato.
To be sure about pH, test the soil with a pH meter. Apply fertilizer and lime using the results of the soil test as a guide.
- Soil pH is a measurement of the number of Hydrogen ions present in the soil solution along with as the acidity of the soil.
When the soil pH is too acidic the nutrients that are present in the soil become locked-up or unavailable (low pH) or alkaline (high pH).
- Correcting the pH has the same effect as applying fertilizer as it unlocks plant nutrients already present.
- In the garden some garden plants thrive in acidic soils while others prefer an alkaline soil.
- The acidity or alkalinity of soil is a measurement by pH (potential
Hydrogen ions). pH is a way to measure the amount of lime (calcium) contained in your soil, and the type of soil that you have.
To Measure Soil pH
It is recommended that you use a relatively inexpensive, and follow the manufacturers instructions when testing the pH Level of your Gardens soil.
To raise or lower the pH level in the soil either Limestone or Sulfur is utilized.
Other materials will accomplish the same results; however the two that are listed are the most commonly used.
Limestone is added to the soil to raise the pH level because limestone is essentially calcium and calcium reacts with water in the soil to yield hydroxyl ions .. a process known as, hydrolysis = thus the pH level in the soil is raised.
Sulfur reacts with bacteria in the soil and produces sulfuric acid, which releases hydrogen ions thus causing the soil to become more acidic =the pH level is lowered.
Application Of Lime (To Raise Soil pH)
To increase your pH by 1.0 point and make your soil more alkaline.
- Add 4 ounces of hydrated lime per square yard in sandy soils
- Add 8 ounces of hydrated lime per square yard in loamy soils
- Add 12 ounces of hydrated lime per square yard in clay soils
- Add 25 ounces of hydrated lime per square yard in peaty soils
- The addition of ash, bone meal, or crushed oyster shells will also help to raise soil pH levels.
Application of Sulfur (To Lower Soil pH)
If your soil needs to be more acidic, sulfur will lower the pH if it is available.
To reduce the soil pH by 1.0 point
- Mix in 1.2 oz of ground rock sulfur per square yard if the soil is sandy
- Mix in 3.6 oz per square yard for all other soils.
- Composted leaves, wood chips, sawdust, leaf mold and peat moss, will also help to lower the soil pH.