“Mortgage Lifter”– Interesting Name Isn’t It? Indeed, This huge variety of Tomato has an interesting and appealing name. I was really very excited at the time I heard about it. The only reason for my excitement was the name. Believe me, I was thinking of earning few more bucks by selling the product to the local store. The name literally makes you think of that aspect. But the truth is not the same.
Check out my previous post- How to Grow and Care Beefsteak Tomato?
What is a Mortgage Lifter Tomato?
Mortgage Lifter Tomato is a Heirilom Variety of Tomato. It was basically created to get bigger fruits with less effort and care. And It did fulfill its job.
It’s Botanical (Scientific) Name is Solanum lycopersicum “Mortgage Lifter”.
Today, an Average tomato can weigh more than 1 pound. Also, the plants are less susceptible to pests and disease. In fact, some varieties of Mortgage Lifter are better than some Hybrid tomato varieties.
- Plant Size: 7-9 feet, 2-3 meters high, and 4-5 feet widespread
- Fruit Size: 8-15 cm in diameter
- Fruit Color: Light Red or Pink-Red. Some yellow fruit variant is also popular these days.
- Fruit Weight: 0.5 to 1 lb average (250-500 grams)
- Check out the Tomato Seed Price on Amazon
Why do we call it “Mortgage Lifter”?
It is an obvious question- Why do we name a Tomato- “Mortgage Lifter”? At first, only one thing came to my mind. There must be something to do with huge money. Maybe It can produce tons of fruits or just can cost high. Whatever the reason I was curious to Know.
Then after some research and reading some old local news. I came across a story of a mechanic. A man named ‘M.C Byles'(aka. Radiator Charlie). In the early 1930’s he developed these tomatoes in his garden.
It took nearly 6 years for him to get the exact characteristics in his tomatoes. He started with 4 different varieties of big-size tomatoes. His primary motive was to get something bigger and stronger out of those. The initial varieties were mostly Beefsteak heirloom variants. Two of them were local while the other two were from Italy and England.
He successfully developed a new stronger and bigger tomato variety. It was more tolerant to local tomato disease and climate conditions.
He starts selling each seedling at just $1. The price was good for quality seedlings. Buyers from all over the county and state start visiting and buying from him. Within 5-6 years he successfully repays his $6000 Home loan. Hence the tomato gets its unique and symbolic name- The Mortgage Lifter.
Is a Mortgage Lifter Tomato plant Determinant or Indeterminant?
Initially, it was an Indetrminant variety of tomatoes. It simply means The tomato plant will keep flowering and fruiting regularly throughout its lifecycle. This is not the same as any modern hybrids, those are generally determinant.
They start flowering and fruiting at a fixed time of their lifecycle. You can easily keep track of those varieties.
Today, you can find both determinant and Indeterminant varieties of Mortgage lifter Tomates. If you want you can check out the listing on Amazon.
Can We grow Mortgage lifter Tomato in Containers?
Yes, we can grow mortgage lifter tomato in a container. In fact, it’s just like any other tomato plant with long branches and bigger fruit sizes.
You have to provide proper support with a string to hold the branch up above the ground. Both the plant and the fruits will be heavy. So you have to prepare the necessities beforehand.
- Containers Required: 8-10 inches wide and 10-12 inches deep.
- Soil Consistency Required: Well-drained soil with 50% or more organic Compost.
- Support stick: At least 6 feet support stick must be used for containers.
Also, read- How deep to plant Tomatoes? A quick guide
Soil Preparation for Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes
Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes are heavy feeders. Just like any other tomato plant then need regular fertilization and watering. To lower the need for frequent fertilization and watering, you must prepare the soil accordingly.
If you are planning to grow the plants in Containers then use this soil mix. It works great, I have tried it for several seasons.
- Take 1 part garden soil (30-40%). The soil should be clean and free from any debris.
- Next, add an equal or a little more amount of well-aged organic Compost. You can use a mixture of leaf mold and vermiculite. It should be at least 50% of the mass for each container.
- Finally, add 10-20% Cocopeat or perlite to keep the mixture light and water absorbent. Tomato needs frequent watering so this will ease your job.
If you are preparing a raised bed then you can increase the amount of compost to the topsoil. Ideally, the mixture should contain at least 70% of organic compost with the rest 30% of soil and cocopeat.
Mix 1 spoon full of contact fungicide to the soil in each container before transplanting the seedlings. This will ensure healthy plant growth. You use turmeric and cinnamon powder instead of any chemical fungicide.
If you wanna go completely organic then sprinkle half spoon of finely ground wood ash on the soil surface. This will prevent most fungal attacks. Don’t overdo this, it can increase the soil ph.
When to start growing Mortgage lifter tomatoes?
These tomatoes are mostly Indeterminate with a long fruiting season. Generally, it will start fruiting after 75 days of germination and continues till it dies in the fall.
This is a very long harvesting season and non of us in the North can successfully cope with the timing. So It is always recommended to start Indoors.
If you really wanna grow these Mortgage lifter tomatoes from seeds. Then you should start the seedling germination in early Feb to 15th March inside a greenhouse. It will reduce the flowering time once you shift the plant outdoor. Technically, You should start the seed germination at least 6-8 weeks before the last frost.
In most of Nort America, Mid Feb to March End is ideal for growing Mortgage lifter tomato indoors. You must wait for an extra week or so to confirm the outdoor night temperature is good for the seedlings. There is no need to hurry for Transplantation. Just keep the plants warm and cozy and they will fruit in time.
Who should grow these Tomato varieties?
It is fascinating to look at any image of a huge 1 or 2-pound mortgage lifter Tomato. Every gardener dreams of achieving this but it is not always possible.
Yes, you can grow that big but you have to prepare for that before anything else. Most of the beginner Gardners fail in growing mortgage lifter tomato successfully. They actually fail coz they underestimate the effort, time, and dedication required to grow these tomatoes.
If you are determined to choose these tomato varieties then make sure you are ok with these jobs.
- Regular Pruning. Just like any other tomato variety, the mortgage lifter variety also needs regular running and cleaning.
- It needs proper support. To keep it upright, you have to repeatedly attach strings and other supports. It can become a fixed weekly job. You will need lots of garden support string for plants.
- You need to have enough space, both for containers and open gardens. This tomato variety can acquire a lot of space. Either it can grow upward with support or just crawl in the ground without any help.
- You should be ready to feed these plants once or twice every 15 days. They are heavy feeders and require a balanced diet.
- These tomato plants need to be water every day. On hot summer days, you may have to water twice each day.
- Finally, You cannot expect a huge harvest at once. The plant will keep flowering and fruiting till its end. You can have few fruits each week from a single plant.
If you are ok with these requirements and the outcome then you are good to go. You can start growing your first Mortgage Lifter tomato.
Check out this- How long do Tomato plants live? Learn everything
How To Grow a Mortgage Lifter Tomato?
You can grow a mortgage lifter tomato in soil-based media or water. Yes, Aquaponics gardeners are also very successful in growing tomatoes. Still, I have not tried the hydroponics or aquaponic technique for mortgage lifter Tomato but I definitely will do so.
Before starting you must have to get some seedlings. So Where to get those? Don’t worry you can directly buy some Tomato seedlings online or prepare your own from seeds. You have to buy some seeds for this purpose.
- Soil Type: Well Drained Organic soil mix is required.
- Soil Ph: Ideal soil ph is 6-6.8 for mortgage lifter Tomatoes.
- Seed Germination: February to March (Indoor)
- Soil Temperature: 50-60 Farenheit for germination and 60-90 Farenheit for fruiting.
- Mortgage Lifter Tomato Seeds on Amazon.
How to Germinate a Mortgage Lifter Tomato Seed?
It’s Just like any other tomato seed. You have to put it in warm healthy moist soil. Actually, any media that can maintain the heat and moisture can be used to germinate the tomato seeds. Cocopeat is a popular option for this purpose.
- Take organic nutrient-rich light growing media as a seed starter soil mix. It should be well-drained and light for quick root development.
- Place the seeds on the surface of the soil and cover them lightly with some soil mix.
- Keep this mix moist and warm for quick germination. Don’t overwater the seeds.
- Keep the seedlings indoor for 1 or 2 weeks after the last frost. The outside night temperature must be above 55 Degree Fahrenheit to support the plant growth.
- The next task is to transplant the seedlings to the desired location. This is a critical task. You should always replant the seedlings to more than half of their length deep in the soil. This will ensure the development of a dense root system that is required to support the heavy fruits.
Steps to Grow in Containers
- Take at least 15-20 gallon Container or Buckets to grow the Mortgage Lifter Tomato.
- Grow only one plant in each container. More plants will result in less fruit. Even if you manage to get the numbers high the size will greatly reduce.
- Use well-drained nutrition-rich soil mix. If you want sure success then try my soil mix or read the details above.
- Must fix long support stick at the time of transplant. Use at least 6-7 feet tall stick to give support to your tomatoes. At first, it may look weird but will definitely ease your task.
- Put the container near a trellis or a wall. It will ensure you can give support whenever the branch grows long enough.
- You can also use caging or simply cross wire nets to support the plants. Make a cylinder with the net around the container. It should be at least 24-36 inches wide.
- Keep each container 2 feet apart from the other. Make sure the ranches have enough room for aeration. It will increase pollination and prevent any fungal attack.
Steps to grow in Garden Beds
- Simply start with a healthy seedling.
- Plant the seedling to half of its height inside the soil.
- Separate each plant by 12-24 inches from others.
- Each row of mortgage lifter tomato plants must be 24-36 inches away from another.
- Cover the soil with plastic sheet mulch to prevent any weed growth. It will also prevent temperature and moisture loss from the soil.
- Always keep the soil moist and feed the plants every week. If you are using Chemical fertilizers the schedule it for once every 15 days.
Common pest problems with Mortgage lifter Tomatoes
Just like any other tomato plant, a Mortgage lifter tomato is also prone to some pests. Though they are stronger than others, still huge infestation can occur. To identify the source and treat them as soon as possible.
These tomatoes are known to be affected with-
- Caterpillars and other critters
- Japanese Bettle is a new addition to this list.
To deal with these invaders you can use several pesticides and fungicides. I would recommend early treatment with soap and Neem oil mixed with water. It is easy, effective, and very cost-efficient. You can buy all these in just 2-3 bucks.
- Just mix 1 spoon Neem oil or any edible oil as an alternative with 2-3 spoon of liquid soap in 1 liter of water.
- Mix it well and spray on both sides of the leaves.
- Repeat this step once every 3 days.
- The problem should be solved by just 3 or 4 applications.
Leave the chemical pesticides for severe infestation. Removing a heavily infested branch or the entire plant is better for any home gardener. It will cost you less than any chemical pesticide. You can start again with fresh seedlings.
Caring a Mortgage Lifter Tomato Plant
- Feed the plants with a balanced fertilizer. Use NPK 6:12:12 or a more concentrated version of NPK 8:32:16. Apply few granules of this fertilizer once in 10-15 days.
- Also, add organic compost to the soil every month. It will act as a slow-release fertilizer and feed the plant whenever required.
- Tie the long branches with sturdy strong support strings. Repeat the support strings at regular intervals.
- Keep the Knots movable so that the branches can grow without being crushed.
- Always keep the soil moist. Tomato plants need lots of water to develop flower and fruit juice. So water the plant generously but never too much. Soggy soil is not good for the root system.
- Keep the branches in a limited number. Prune the plant regularly and remove every sucker once the main branch starts flowering. More branches can reduce the fruit size. It will also increase the load on the limited nutrient resource.
- Wash and clean the plant every week. It is an important task to keep the plant healthy. Use a sprinkler and be gentle with the flowers and fruits.
Mortgage Lifter tomatoes can take 70-80 days to start flowering. These plants will continue to flower and fruit till the end of its life. Most of the varieties of Mortgage lifters are Indeterminant, which means you can’t calculate the harvesting time before actual fruit development.
You can have at least 2-10 tomatoes every week from each plant. This count may vary depending upon the location and health of your tomato plant.
Keep reading Keep Gardening! Which is your favorite Mortgage Lifter Tomato Variety? Reply in the comment.
Before Leaving Check this out- Are Tomatoes Fruits or Vegetables?- True Answer with Facts