Box Car Willie is an opened pollinated, indeterminate tomato variety that originates New Jersey. It is a regular-leaf tomato with vines that can reach 1.5-1.8 m (5-6’) tall. Staking, pruning and tying will be required to keep this high yielding plant maintained. Box Car Willie produces heavy yields of medium sized red tomatoes that are extremely juicy, and have that good, old fashioned tomato flavor. A very good all season tomato that produces well until frost. Perfect for canning, freezing, sauces, salads, sandwiches, slicing, and making tomato juice.
Start indoors mid-March to early April. Plant 2-3 seeds 6mm (1/4”) deep in good potting mix in 7-10cm (3-4”) pots. It is best to keep tomato seedlings under very light to prevent plants from becoming too leggy. You may have to transplant seedlings to larger pots to allow for root growth. When transplanting outside, allow 45-90cm (18-36”) between plants and 61-90cm (24-36”) between rows. Germination takes approximately 7-14 days. Transplant deeply to the first set of leaves after the risk of frost has passed. Thin to the strongest plant. The seeds require warm soil between roughly 21-26°C (70-80° F). Warmer soils will promote faster germination. Keep soil moist, but not soggy while awaiting germination. Moderate watering will suffice once seedlings break through the soil. Select a well-drained location that receives lots of sunlight after the last frost to transplant from pots.
Soil Conditions: Well worked rich, loose well-drained soil. Soil PH: 5.5-7.0, Ideal 6.3-6.5
Planting Depth: Sow seeds 6-12mm (¼-½") deep.
Germination: 7-14 days.
Height at Maturity: 1.5-1.8 m (5-6’) tall. Spread: 61-91cm (24-36”) across.
Days to Maturity: 80-85 days.
Watering: Tomato plants are heavy feeders especially when they have fruit growing. Proper watering is tricky as you have to water deeply and then let the soil dry out slightly but still remain slightly moist and then water deeply again. Keep watering schedule consistent throughout the growing season and you will not be disappointed. Moisture is critical to prevent cracked fruits and blossom end rot. Mulch the soil around tomato plants to help reduce water evaporation and use drip irrigation.
Sun/Shade: Full Sun
Spacing after Thinning: Set transplants 60-90cm (24-36”), in rows between 45-90cm (18-36”) apart.
Additional Information Open pollinated-untreated seeds. Harvest fruit when they are the desired size, color and firmness. In general, perfectly ripe tomatoes show deep color but still feel firm when gently squeezed. Tomatoes do continue to ripen after being picked. Gently grab and twist until the tomato pulls free from the stem, or use a pair of clippers. Cut stems close to fruits. Always store picked tomatoes at room temperature indoors, or in a shady place outside. Never refrigerate tomatoes, because temperatures below 12.8° C (55° F) cause flavor compounds to break down.