Spring Garden Gamble: Tomatoes in February

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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3 thoughts on “Spring Garden Gamble: Tomatoes in February

  1. Lovely! I really need to start planting a few herbs, etc… there’s nothing like freshly-grown produce! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  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.

  3. 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.

I would love to know what you think about this.

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