exploring, preserving: past, present

Saturday Upsides (late): “Mortgage Lifter” #Garden Tomatoes Didn’t Get Rid of the Mortgage


This summer was the first summer I started a garden in our backyard. I actually started growing tomato plants and herbs from seeds way back in the middle of March. I carefully selected seed packages, hoping that I would have a garden full of heirloom varieties–including the “Mortgage Lifter” heirloom variety tomatoes.

“Mortgage Lifter” Heirloom Tomato package

They are named “mortgage lifters” because they grow to gargantuan proportions (2-4 pounds each) under the right conditions. I also liked the fact that once full size, they weren’t very seedy…or so the package said.

back of package

So from mid-March through mid-May, I coaxed little seedlings into life and then little tomato plants. I transplanted the plants into deeper soil (as the package directed), and watched my little seedlings grow into a dozen fairly strong looking tomato plants. And then, with lots of watering (because our summer was quite dry here), the flowers came.


More sunshiny weather, a lot more watering, and the fruits of my labour began to appear!

Sunshine, water, and two weeks later…this is what you get!

And then July came. July was windy and dry. Because I had planted my tomatoes in containers, the 70 km/hr winds knocked them over quite a few times in the span of two weeks. I was fearful that all the flowers and tomatoes would fall off, or that the plants themselves would just snap off in a windstorm. I staked them carefully, pulled them closer to the house (and watered them more because the house gave off lots of heat). I did have some branches break off the plants, lost half a dozen flowers and tomatoes in the worst wind storm, but those heirloom tomatoes kept bouncing back after being battered around by the winds.

One more week of growing got us this far

By mid-August, the tomatoes roughly golf-ball sized, and colour was starting to show on them. Hey wait, where were my 2-4 pounders??!!

Some colour coming in after two more weeks!

Well, now it’s October, and my tomato plants have had three days of frost. I managed to enjoy about a dozen small tomatoes from the plants (though there were many more flowers on them initially). Wind, dry conditions, and me still trying to figure out how to properly care for them ended up with what I thought was next to nothing for a harvest.

But this week, after cleaning up my plants for winter and putting them in the compost bin, I realized that I did get enough tomatoes to provide me with more seeds for next winter. So I carefully opened up my last tomato, harvested the seeds from inside it, washed them and laid them out to dry on a paper towel.  What’s the upside of these months of effort? I learned a lot about what not to do with growing your own tomato plants! Next year, we’ll see if I can boast about mortgage-lifting-sized heirloom tomatoes. But, for now, I gained hands-on experience with this variety. And that is worth a lot. 🙂

Have you had a frustrating or bad situation turn into something positive for you? Join the “Saturday Upsides” blogging trend, started by Bonnie at Recipes Happen, and post your thoughts every Saturday. Be sure to include a link back to Bonnie and her blog, and a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers!


Author: tjthiessen

explorer, administrator, consultant, student, leader

3 thoughts on “Saturday Upsides (late): “Mortgage Lifter” #Garden Tomatoes Didn’t Get Rid of the Mortgage

  1. Pingback: Saturday Upside: The Chain of Love | Recipes Happen

  2. Sorry to read your Mortgage Lifters didn’t produce very many tomatoes. We grow them in MN but start from a garden center purchased plant that is 8-12″ tall going into the ground in early May. These are by far our favorite tomato! Love the hearty flesh inside! If you are able to get a plant vs going from seed that would make a difference as I know your growing season is likely a bit shorter than ours. This year all of our plants went nuts- we had a ton of rain in the spring and despite the drought in summer, they did well. I made salsa 3 times, plus a large batch of spaghetti sauce and chili, and it seems as though we were having caprese salad every night at dinner. We lost about half our plants a couple weeks ago with frost, then over the weekend the rest were hit. It is so hard going back to the inferior grocery store tomato, isn’t it? I will miss the basil as well.

    • Sounds like your harvest is what I was hoping for! I was conscientious about starting the seeds in our warm sunroom, and knew they’d take longer, but the combination of a very dry summer plus (most likely) my inexperience raising tomato plants from seeds didn’t help our harvest.
      I will still continue to grow from seeds, but will probably do a mix of seed starters as well as purchasing a few tomato plants next summer.
      Thanks for sharing–good to hear that this tomato can live up to its name! It was my first attempt with them, and I won’t give up. 🙂

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