Estler's Mortgage Lifter

sue_ct(z6 CT)October 13, 2013

OK, I didn't expect this so late in the year, but today in the garden I found 3 Estler's Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes. One is ripe to eat, 3 are just blushing. Since these are such late developing fruit, the taste may be not be up to par, and it certainly was not a great season. These are likely not the best of the few tomatoes this plant produced this year. Would you try to save seeds from them? I have never saved my own seeds before, so the outcome might be questionable, but I would be willing to try.

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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Estler's M L seed is was not available many places this spring so if you think that is what you have, I would save some seeds. Did tomatoes from this plant taste good earlier in the year? I planted one E M Lifter and it didn't do well here, but I did not put it in my best spot . If it is weather causing them to taste bland, I don't think that would be passed on.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 9:21PM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

The earlier ones tasted very good. I purchased the seeds from Tatiana, so if that is what she thinks she has, then that is what I think I have. I did not actually say they taste bad, just that late season tomatoes that develop in colder weather to me do loose some flavor compared to tomatoes that ripen in the height of the season. I won't know how they taste unless/until I ea them :)

I have 15 seeds left in the pack I received from Tatiana. I don't really need more for next year, and I would be fine just eating these tomatoes. 15 seeds is probably enough for me for 2 more years. But, knowing others had been looking for it I considered trying to help. I could just forget it and assume Tatiana or someone else would offer it next year. That would certainly be the easier option.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 10:16PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Its lack of availability was discussed on another forum. I wouldn't be surprised if someone offered it next year. If you have never saved seeds before why not try it? It is not hard to do. I am sort of afraid my seeds will not be true and have purchased seeds I needed. But last year I participated in the Round Robin and it was fun. For that reason I saved seeds. They don't expect you to bag the tomatoes, so seed saving is pretty easy.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 2:52PM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

Thanks, I just didn't want to save them if they were likely not the best ones to use. Because I have enough for a couple of years I could always save in the future when I could use a better specimen in the height of summer. But if you think people would like them I am happy to try. I will look up how to do it, but I thought they needed warmth to ferment. Can you do it in cool weather? A round robin might be fun although obviously I have never done one before. I wish I had saved seeds from the Cherokee Purple Heart but those are likely going to increase in availability, not decrease. Still it would have been fun to offer.

Also wish there was a way to change the tittle of a thread.

This post was edited by sue_ct on Tue, Oct 15, 13 at 20:49

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 8:35PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I wanted to say that - when I said above if that is what you think you have it was no reflection on you. I looked and looked for Estler's seed this spring and many places just listed Mortgage Lifter without saying which one it was. Many site the old story about Radiator Charlie so you know which those have. It is confusing that different tomatoes have the same name.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 2:35PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Three years ago I got some ML Estlers from Heirloom Seeds. They turned out to be the most productive heirlooms I've grown of the two dozen or so I've tried. I can only grow a few each year, and because of their scarcity, I saved seeds. You don't really need to ferment them if you're plants are healthy and you're only a home grower. I just cut open a few fully ripe tomatoes and rinsed the gel in a strainer. Then I spread the seeds out on a newspaper to dry. In a few days when they have dried, you can either gently scrape them off the newspaper or just roll it up to store them in a cool, dry place until spring.

I did find that the ML seeds I bought and the seeds I saved had a lower viability rate and took much longer to sprout than any other tomato seeds I've grown. And the tomatoes themselves have a fairly low seed count. I love this heirloom, so I am hanging on to the few seeds I have. I hope some commercial grower will offer these in the future.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 9:34PM
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sue_ct(z6 CT)

Thank you. That sounds easy enough. I will put some away and if I don't use them, no harm. I can always try again another year.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 9:58PM
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I will do my best to get Estlers Mortgage Lifter into Sandhill Preservation next year. That should take care of the issue of seed availability.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 2:42AM
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ediej1209(5 N Central OH)

OH, Dar, THANK YOU!! I hope this means you will have plants available in 2014?


    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 8:27AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Posted by Ohiofem 6a Ohio (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 16, 13 at 21:34

You don't really need to ferment them if you're plants are healthy and you're only a home grower.

That is true. But I have found out that by fermenting you can isolate good viable seeds from the rest.
When fermented the gel around the seeds are broken down.
So when you wash them, in a tall glass and lightly stir. The good seed will sink right away and the bad ones will float. So then you pour the floating ones out. After a few times you will end up withe HEAVIEST viable seeds. So this will assure a much better germination rate. AND ALSO better seeds make better plants.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 8:01AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Without getting into the controversy about Estler and R.Charlie, I want to know what are the differences, advantages and disadvantage of the two MLs. As I understand they have been bred from different parents. Therefore, it is not like Charlie stole Estler's tomato. Am I right ? Both RIP. I just one to grow the better one of the two, if there is such a thing.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 6:05AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

I don't see any advantages, differences, or disadvantages between the two you mention.Essentially they are two different varieties with different parents that happen to have the same variety name.

I think the best thing to do is to plant both in the same season to eliminate the variables and see which one you prefer.

Of the pink ML's, there are seven of them listed in the 2013 SSE Yearbook, and with one exception, all are pretty much the same, And that gets into what a strain is, which is a quite different topic,


    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 8:44AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Thanks Carolyn,
Not much help there (grin)

But I don't have the resources to try both of them. And I am not doing a research about them.
What factors matter to me are: Relative earlyness (mid season is ok) and Productivity. I can live with the other aspects( taste, fruit size).

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 4:22PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Mortgage Lifters of either kind aren't generally considered early or even midseason. They both take about 85 DTM. I have found the ML Estler's moderately productive for a pink beefsteak in my garden, but that is not the main reason I grow it. Both kinds are valued for the things you don't seem to care about -- great taste and large size.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 6:41PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Ohio, I define what many call DTM's, as follows:

Early, 55 to 65 days
Midseason 65 to 80 days
Late season , more than 80 days,

There are those seasons when my late seasonones have ripened before the midseason ones and the mid season ones before the early ones, that's all about the variables I mentioned above.

So no one should pay attention to a DTM of say 75 days, for instance, b/c that's kind of ridiculous IMO.

I list ML in my book and call it late midseason, and that's the Radiator Charlie one.

I just looked in one of my SSE YEarbooks and for both Estler and Radiator Charlie, the DTM's given are from 80 to 85 days and that depends on where a person gardens, in a geograpic sense and what specific year it was grown, which is not given since many SSE listers keep listing the same as long as they have viable seeds to fill requests with.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 7:14PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Thanks again Carolyn and Ohiofem.

Ohiofem ... I do care for taste too. What I meant was the difference between those to MLs. I am not too picky on taste. I just like good old tomato-ee taste, juicy, bit tangy.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 9:10PM
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