Seed Saving: beginner
Chinellato Tomato (Lycopersicon lycopersicum)
Chinellato Tomato (Lycopersicon lycopersicum): this extraordinary tomato ecotype has been preserved for more than eighty years by the Chinellato family, from Venice.
The fruit (a berry, actually) strikes the eye immediately; it is large, it can easily exceeds half a kilogram; it displays a pretty, uniform red color and a slightly ribbed body, an immediate invitation to taste.
It is when you cut it, when you get really impressed, the pulp is full/voluminous, fragrant, juicy but not watery, with very few seeds, and the perfect amount of sweetness.
The plant is robust and vigorous, it is necessary to trim it (the top of the axillary shoots), but not too thin on the fruit which with good fertilization maintains its large dimension without losing taste.
It suitably supports the weight of the tomatoes it produces.
It is the perfect example of how the care for traditions and the conservation of biodiversity can lead to the discovery of real treasures.
Mis Elisa Chinellato has preseved a large, outstanding tomato of fine skin. A jewel that has been kept in her family for more than 90 years and that she got from her uncle when she was still a little girl.
She is an old woman now, and will soon be unable to care for her garden, so she fears that her tomato will be lost. She wants to keep her legacy and share it to the world, as exceptional as it is.
The seeds arrived to us with a profound, touching, hand-written letter produced by the skilled hands of tradition.
Cultivation and Reproduction of Seeds
We saw them in two different gardens, one with medium-texture, loose soil; the other on a more compact one, similar to clay.
Both plots were fertilized with mature manure during winter and milled before transplanting.
We also gave both half-shade and full sun exposure. The results were both great, considering a preference for full sun exposure.
The set was a bit delayed hence the production, however, it must be considered that the season (2019) started with a much lower temperature than average, which slowed down the vegetative growth, it was followed by torrid heat which did not help the fruit set, but in spite of all that the production was better than other tomatoes and kept going until early October.
Genetics were very stable, out of about one hundred and sixty plants, only 0,5% presented non-compliant berries. The plants were immediately eradicated to avoid contamination of the others.
As for the seeds, the largest tomatoes were harvested from the strongest and most productive plants of both gardens in the last month and a half of ripening. We intervened only for the trimming.
During cultivation we added macerated nettle and horsetail as a preventive pesticide and macerated nettle for 15 more days as a foliar fertilizer.
We did not use products against fungal diseases since there was no rain for almost the entire duration of the growing.
However, we recommend to give particular attention to blight and mildew, as advised by Mrs Elisa; considering that the cultivation was carried out in Central Italy, a place certainly less humid than the one the Chinellato is native to.
We are certain it will have great success in all Italian gardens, and the extraordinary legacy of Ms Elisa Chinellato will not be lost over time.