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Best Home Garden Tomato: Royal Hillbilly

Updated on February 23, 2014
Patsybell profile image

I inherited my love of gardening from my mother and grandmother. I am a garden blogger, freelance writer, and Master Gardener emeritus.

Royal Hillbilly Heirloom Tomato

Royal Hillbilly, pink and juicy heirloom created from Hillbilly tomato
Royal Hillbilly, pink and juicy heirloom created from Hillbilly tomato | Source

Juicy, pink, one-pounders

Royal Hillbilly 85 days. Lycopersicon esculentum

Introduced by the late Darrell Merrell, in the 1990s, when he selected this type from a patch of Hillbilly tomatoes. This has become a cult favorite. Large fruit are rich and sweet but tart with tender pink/purple skin.

Expect several juicy one pounders that will produce burger-sized slices. Darrell Merrell said the flavor of this big beefsteak type tomato was "exquisite." A good choice for a main crop tomato, if you can wait. Steady production begins mid to late summer.

I had great success growing a Royal Hillbilly tomato plant in a 5 gallon bucket. Plants will need to be staked or supported because the heavy fruit may break the vines. Remember, container grown tomato plants are dependant on you for all food and water. I recommend Royal Hillbilly and will grow it again. The seed came from Baker Creek.

Best big heirlooms

Usually showing more yellow, everyone of these bicolor Hillbilly tomatoes looks a little different.
Usually showing more yellow, everyone of these bicolor Hillbilly tomatoes looks a little different. | Source

Choosing tomatoes

Indeterminate (Ind) tomatoes keep producing all summer and into fall. The nonstop vines continually grow until the first frost. Select Indeterminate tomatoes for a continuous summer supply. Royal Hillbilly is and indeterminate tomato.

Determinate (det) tomatoes produce most of their fruit at one time, perfect for home canners. Paste type determinate tomatoes are ideal for sauceing. Less juicy, this is the ideal type of tomato for cooking down or consentrating the flavor. Fave Det tomato: Beautiful, sausage shaped Pompeii are a favorite.

Saving seed. A typical seed packet has more seed than I will use in one year. Tape the top of the seed packet, and and store in a cool dry place for use again next year. This is the 3rd year I have used seed from that same seed packet.

Mamma called her Italian tomato sauce, "gravy."


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