Spring Garden Gamble: Tomatoes in February

stupice early ripening tomato cold tomatoe heirloom tolerant

Stupice and other early tomatoes are already in at the local nursery here in Southern California.

As a seasoned gardener, I should know better than to plant tomatoes at the beginning of February, but H & H Nursery already had tomatoes in, including my favorite cold weather variety, Stupice.  For $1.99, I decided I could take a gamble on the weather on this one variety.  It is one of the few varieties I would call “Ultra Early.”  I can’t always find Stupice, and I don’t bother growing them from seed myself, therefore, I could not resist buying one.  If it doesn’t make it, it was only $1.99.  But if it does survive, and if I am lucky, I could be harvesting my first tomato as early as the middle of April.

Out of all the tomato varieties I like to grow, Stupice will put up with cold spring night time temperatures here better than any other indeterminate slicers I have tried.  When I have planted Stupice transplants in early March, I have harvested my first fruits by Mother’s Day.  I have planted them in mid September and harvested around Thanksgiving.  When it is the only tomato producing, I love them, and they are far better tasting than any winter or spring grocery store tomato, but Stupice is not my favorite variety for a summer tomato.  There are many better more flavorful choices when it is ideal growing conditions for tomatoes. My favorites are currently Super Marzano and Sun Sugar.

What I know about Stupice from my gardening experience:

  • about a 2 oz to 4 oz  fruit
  • fair to good flavor, but not excellent
  • grows about 4 feet tall
  • indeterminate
  • potato leaf
  • Good choice for a late summer/early fall or early spring planting/ Cold tolerant
  • 55 days to 65 days to first fruit
  • Heirloom from Czechoslovakia
  • It is pronounced like Stew-peach-aye.
which is best early variety of tomato

Stupice, my favorite short season, early, heirloom tomato. It is sitting on the window sill waiting to go outdoors.

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Comments

Spring Garden Gamble: Tomatoes in February — 3 Comments

  1. I have a volunteer cherry that is producing a little right now. I harvest a few. It made it through the freezing temps a few weeks ago. I will have to look for Stupice. Have not seen it before. I will check our local nursery. Armstrong’s did not have any out yet on Tuesday.

  2. Hi Elaine,

    None of my cherry tomatoes made it through the frost we had last month. I also lost a lot of nastursiums and my perennial Basil to the frosty nights. Same thing could happen to my new little Stupice, but I will make sure to cover it if we have a frost warning again.

    I think the earliest I have seen tomatoes at my local armstrong is the beginning of March, but I usually wait to get most of my tomatoes from the Fullerton Arboretum Monster Tomato Sale. http://www.fullertonarboretum.org/ps_MonsterTomato.php This year it is March 14-17.

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