So you’re planning to buy seeds at GleanKY’s Heirloom Seed Sale coming up in March? That’s great! However, if you’re a new gardener, the thought of growing those tiny seeds into the vegetables that you’ll serve at the table can be intimidating.


Encased inside every single seed is everything needed for it to grow into a full-fledged plant. To think that a tomato seed the size of a small nail head will produce more caprese salads than you can stand is pretty incredible, right? And all you have to do is offer it the right conditions: soil, sun and water. The tomato plant will do the rest on it’s own.


So what can you expect over the course of the growing season as your tomato plants develop?’ Here’s a little peek at the life of a Brandywine tomato and the role you can expect to play.


  • Start tomato seed indoors in small containers, about 6-8 weeks prior to the last frost of the season.
  • Once your seedlings emerge, treat them with plenty of natural or fluorescent light for up to 16 hours a day.
  • Prior to planting in your garden, “harden off” the seedlings by placing them outdoors, under shelter, for a week.


  • Plant seedlings in your garden about 2 feet apart where they’ll get plenty of direct sunlight.
  • Support your growing plants with stakes or cages to produce larger fruit.
  • Provide plants with the equivalent of 1-2 inches of rainwater each week, and keep control of weeds.


  • Pick tomatoes from the vine when they are fully colored and firm to the touch.
  • If possible, harvest tomatoes regularly to avoid overloading weight on the plant.
  • Try to pick all remaining tomatoes before the first frost of fall—unripe tomatoes can  be ripened off the vine.


  • To continue ripening tomatoes once they’re off the vine, place them on a newspaper at room temperature.
  • Tomatoes can be kept for slightly longer periods by storing them at 50 to 60 degrees F. Do not refrigerate, and make sure fruit aren’t touching.
  • For longer preservation, you can cook and can tomatoes, extending their life and use for up to 18 months. Tomato sauce is great, too!


Brandywines are a beefsteak-type heirloom tomato and are one of seven different tomato varieties we’ll have available at the Heirloom Seed Sale. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!