Friday, September 7, 2012

Why is Tomato KY1 so popular?

Tomato KY1
"Hi, re your notes on the KY1 tomato.. I am almost 80 years old and have been growing them for 55 years followng my father who grew them for many years before that. They were always called Kyabram Wonders and were grown in the valley in the Shepparton area for the canneries and other ways of preserving them. We used them for the table and sauces like chutney and relish. Being a bush tomato they did not have a long cropping season and the pickers were hired at the peak to get them off and to the cannery. The remainder was then ploughed in and a different vegetable planted to keep the land productive. Don't know why they are now called KY1.  Barrie"

I always thought KY1 was a breeder's code that survuved? Do you know why the bush types were popular and why they had a short cropping season?

"I am just working from what I remember from my father, who was raised in Shepparton and my mother who was raised on orchards in the area. The Kyabram Wonders were just developed and evolved naturally because of the short cropping season only needed fruit pickers for the short time, thus saving money and the cannery could gear up for that shorter time.  Later to try and save more labor, some farmers went along with a plan to just pull the whole bushes out of the ground and transfer to sheds where they were stripped of the fruit and the remains mulched. Ripe fruit to cannery, not so ripe could be taken to wholesale markets to ripen en route to retailers and green fruit processed green tomato pickles, etc.
Vacant land could then be used to plant other vegetable crops and keep the land productive.  Care was taken when irrigating or if it rained too much as the excessive water meant pulpy fruit (unsuitable) and it delayed the ripening until the cannery already had enough and would not accept any more. In that case many crops were just ploughed back into the ground as a dead loss. That's about all I can recall .  Many Italian and Albanian farmers knew how to grow tomatoes in climate similar to their homeland but this was interrupted during the war when many were interned, but that is another story.  Barrie"

You just have to love it!


  1. A great post without doubt. The information shared is of top quality which has to get appreciated at all levels. Well done keep up the good work.

  2. I have just this minute lifted my KY1 (only one plant), the very first time of growing a bush type. It has cropped prolifically from late December until now mid March and still had fruit on it. I live in Adelaide so don't know if that extends the season. Don't really understand this 'short growing period' idea. Made masses of sauce from it. Will definitely grow it again next season

  3. I used to grow this variety years ago and had missed it so much until recently when to my amazement I came across the seeds at Bunnings warehouse. I was sceptical at first that they were the true KY1 but planted them anyway. They have been growing for a month now and I've just got my irrefutable proof that they are the original KY1 as they always produced a deformed terminal bud with the first flower truss! It looks a bit like a sunflower bud and must be removed as soon as it appears being careful not to damage the normal flower buds forming beneath it. The reason for doing this is if left it tends to just grow bigger and bigger never producing a true tomato but sucking all the plants energy away from the normal buds that do! This has to be repeated with the side shoots that develop which may or may not produce this same deformed bud (apparently this deformity comes from the variety Rouge De Marmande which is in its ancestry). Anyway hopefully it stays available for years to come!


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