The Q&A Archives: Siberian tomatoes

Question: A friend in Valdez,Alaska needs information regarding

Answer: Siberian tomatoes mature in 58 days, which is a short season for tomatoes. They originated in Russia and were brought to America via Canada decades ago. Renowned for their ability to produce hordes of 3 oz. fruits on the smallest of plants, they are the first fresh tomatoes we harvest each season, often in June. Growing to a height of 2' or less, the stocky plants are "compact indeterminates." They continue to flower and fruit over a long period on diminutive plants. They can withstand weather conditions that would easily defeat other varieties. Seeds are available through Territorial Seed Company (

In the West, one of the major problems in the tomato garden is curly top virus. The disease is incurable and is spread by beet leafhoppers, so it is vitally important that the garden be thoroughly cleaned each fall with all crops removed and composted. Leafhoppers are too small to spray effectively so plant the transplants beneath floating row covers for the entire season where curly top is prevalent. Plants infected with the virus exhibit leaves that are grayish, curled tightly inward from the edges and with the petioles pointing downwards. Plants should be pulled and destroyed, not composted, to prevent the spread of the disease. If fusarium or verticillium wilt is a problem, plant only resistant varieties. Practice crop rotation every three years. Spray aphids and flea beetles with insecticidal soap.

Best wishes with your garden!

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