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Mortgage Lifter

Mortgage Lifter Stats

Height: 72 - 120" (1.83-3.05 m)
Plant Spacing: 24 - 48" (0.61-1.22 m)
Row Spacing: 36 - 60" (0.91-1.52 m)
Days to Maturity: 69 - 80
Growing Habit: Indeterminate
Sun: Full Sun
Color: Pink
Size: Medium, Large
Shape: Medium, Large
Genetic Type: Heirloom
Variety Type: Non-Reds, Paste/Canning, Really Big Ones, Slicers
Disease Resistance: V, F, N

Common Uses

Salads, sandwiches, pizzas, bruschettas, roasted

Other Names

Radiator Charlie

Information for Mortgage Lifter

Mortgage Lifter is a hybrid tomato variety that grows on indeterminate vines. In its early growth, this variety was dubbed "Radiator Charlie". It was developed by a radiator mechanic named Marshall Cletis "Radiator Charlie" Byles in Logan, West Virginia during the 1930s. Byles had no breeding experience but he successfully cross pollinated four large tomatoes that include Beefsteak, German Johnson, one Italian variety, and one English variety.

In the 1940s, Byles sold the first Mortgage Lifter seeds to his customers who had heard about the succulent tomatoes he had bred. Each seed costs a dollar each, a worthy price for two and a half pounder tomato 1,1 kg). Byles made enough money from the sale and paid off his mortgage in only six years, hence he nicknamed the tomato variety "Mortgage Lifter".

The tiny Mortgage Lifter seedlings require gradual sunshine and outdoor growing conditions to prevent them from burning. The seedlings are usually set under filtered sunlight for the first few hours. Then, the seedlings are allowed to adapt to outdoor weather. Moderate watering is also required as not to drown the seeds. These should be primarily grown indoors before the last frost of spring.

During the course of the growing season, the vines grow taller and more robust without pruning. To produce higher yields, the plants are staked or caged. Gardeners often nip the suckers found on the vine. The plants produce fruits that weigh an average of two and a half pounds each (1.1 kg). The lusciously pink fruits are Beefsteak-shaped and fleshy containing only a few seeds.

Mortgage Lifters have a mild-flavored taste with just a bit of tanginess and sweetness. They are juicy and thick, perfect for making tomato sandwiches. When picking Mortgage Lifters, the stems are cut on top of the fruit instead of being pulled, to prevent flesh-tearing. These are very productive tomatoes with triple disease resistance, but the drawback comes from its frequent cracking on the shoulders.

This vibrantly pink and delicious heirloom tomato is sure to become a favorite in many tomato gardens. As an heirloom, they are usually homegrown. They can be found in nurseries and greenhouses, although not regularly grown. Mortgage Lifters seeds are mostly available through several seed companies.

Photo Credit: Kimberly McKinnis
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