Aspen House’s Tomato King

by Lucie Roy
Morinville News Correspondent

The Tomato King at Aspen House is Joseph Zukowski.

Zukowski has four tomato plants he grew from seed, and each plant has more than 25 large tomatoes on it. With more than 100 tomatoes and some just beginning to turn red, Zukowski said they must be a later tomato.

With the Oxheart type, he had red tomatoes in July. He prefers the Oxheart tomato seeds but said they are hard to find.

Although to some a tomato is just a tomato, such is not the case for Zukowski.

“I take a pride in growing tomatoes,” Zukowski said. “The Oxheart was the best tomato I ever grew. I have pictures of some at 2 1/2 pounds. [The] rest were two pounds.”

He said they have the best taste, have a very light skin, and hardly any core to them.

He has been at Aspen almost a year and likes to keep busy and spends much time in the courtyard watering the trees, and caring for his tomatoes and carrots.

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Zukowski said he likes to grow stuff, and tomatoes keep him busy and keep his mind at work.

Being resourceful, the project started with some seed, a few old buckets, dirt and rain water. He used a bungee cord and an old rake to keep the plants upright.

His secret is water. Then when the plant gets the third leaf, he adds a little bit of 10-52-10 fertilizer for the roots. It is a natural fertilzer, but he does not add much, he says.

Next year he hopes to grow the true Oxheart tomato. He is waiting for a fellow to bring him an Oxheart tomato and he will save the seeds and plant them.

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