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Tomato Seeds - Mortgage Lifter, Radiator Charlie's - Organic

USDA Certified Organic. 79 days (Indeterminate) [Developed by M.C. Byles in the 1930s and released to SESE in 1985.] A legendary tomato always in demand in the Mid-Atlantic states. The following history is based on portions of our 1985 taped interview with M.C. Byles who developed this tomato in the early 1930s while in Logan, WV. Mr Byles is affectionately known as "Radiator Charlie". He earned that nickname from the radiator-repair business he opened at the foot of a steep hill on which trucks would often overheat. Radiator Charlie had no formal education or plant breeding experience, yet he created this legendary tomato by cross-breeding four of the largest-fruited tomatoes he could find: German Johnson, Beefsteak, an Italian variety, and an English variety. One of the four varieties was planted in the middle of a circle. Then, using a baby's ear syringe, he cross-pollinated the center plant with pollen from the circle of tomatoes. Next year he selected the best seedlings: he planted the best seedling in the center and the rest in a circle around it. The pollination and selection process was repeated six more years until he had a stable variety. After Charlie developed and names this large tasty tomato he sold plants for $1 each (in the 1940s) and paid off the $6000 mortgage on his house in 6 years. Each spring, gardeners drove as far as 200 miles to buy Charlie's seedling tomatoes. Fruits of Mortgage Lifter can average 2-1/2 lbs and may reach 4 lbs when grown.

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