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Lycopersicon esculentum
TOMATO-MORTGAGE LIFTER is a great heirloom with terrific flavor. A  large, meaty tomato, this is the perfect sandwich tomato with a terrific output of huge deep pink fruit 450g-1.8kg.  Excellent variety for home or market use as it will continue to bear till frost.  This is the original ‘Radiator Charlie’ strain developed in West Virginia by a home grower who just wanted the largest, best tomato possible. Many think he succeeded, a great story. Climber.

If you’re a fan of big, meaty tomatoes with a rich flavour, then consider growing Mortgage Lifter tomatoes. These heirloom tomatoes are known for their large size, meaty texture, and delicious taste.  You will produce a bountiful harvest of delicious, meaty tomatoes that are perfect for slicing and adding to sandwiches, salads, or sauces. 

Sow in a good mix of soil and lightly cover – keep moist but not wet. Transplant when seedlings achieve 4 – 6 leaves.

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How to Grow Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes

  1. Mortgage Lifter tomatoes require plenty of sunlight to grow and thrive, so choose a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. The soil should be well-draining, rich in nutrients, and have a pH level between 6.0 and 6.8. It’s also important to choose a location that is protected from strong winds.
  2. Tomatoes need fertile soil to grow and produce healthy fruit. Before planting, prepare the soil by adding organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. Work the organic matter into the top 30 cm (12 inches) of soil to ensure that the nutrients are evenly distributed.
  3. Plant Mortgage Lifter tomato seedlings after the last frost date in your area. Space the plants 60-90 cm (24-36 inches) apart in rows that are 90-120 cm (36-48 inches) apart. Dig a hole that is slightly deeper than the root ball of the seedling and mix in some slow-release fertiliser or our organic fertiliser (Garden Supplements)  Place the seedling in the hole and fill the hole with soil. Firmly press the soil around the base of the plant and water well.
  4. Mortgage Lifter tomatoes require consistent moisture to grow and produce fruit. Water the plants deeply once a week, making sure that the water penetrates the soil to a depth of at least 30 cm (12 inches). Avoid overhead watering, as this can lead to fungal diseases. Fertilise the plants every two weeks with a balanced fertiliser, following the instructions on the package.
  5. Mulching around the base of the plants can help conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Apply a layer of organic mulch such as straw or shredded leaves around the plants, being careful not to cover the stem.
  6. As the Mortgage Lifter tomato plants grow taller, they will need support to keep them from falling over. Stake the plants or use a tomato cage to provide support. Be sure to provide support early in the growing season, as it will be harder to do once the plants have grown larger.
  7. Tomatoes are susceptible to pests and diseases such as aphids, whiteflies, and blight. Keep an eye on your plants for signs of trouble and take action as soon as possible to prevent the spread of disease. Use organic pest control methods whenever possible, such as insecticidal soap or neem oil.
  8. Mortgage Lifter tomatoes take about 80-90 days to mature from seedling to fruit-bearing plant. The tomatoes are ready to harvest when they are fully ripe and have a deep, rich colour. Gently twist the tomatoes off the vine, or use pruning shears to cut them off. Store the tomatoes at room temperature until they are fully ripe, then use or refrigerate them.

Heritage of Mortgage Lifter Tomato

Developed by a man named Radiator Charlie, also known as M.C. Byles, who was a plant breeder and mechanic living in Logan, West Virginia in the 1930s.

According to the story, Radiator Charlie had a $6,000 mortgage on his farm. Struggling to make payments during the Great Depression he decided to breed a new tomato variety.  He hoped this tomato that would be so popular that he could sell enough seedlings to pay off his mortgage.

To create the Mortgage Lifter tomato, Radiator Charlie crossed four of the largest, best-tasting tomatoes he could find.  They were: German Johnson, Beefsteak, an unknown Italian variety, and an English variety called Marglobe.  He then grew and selected the plants with the best traits.  Seeds from each generation were crossbreed until he had a stable consistent variety.

The Mortgage Lifter tomato became famous for its large, meaty fruits that could weigh up to 2 pounds each (approx 1 kilo). The tomato has a sweet, rich flavor and is often used for slicing, canning, and making sauces.

While Radiator Charlie’s story may have been embellished over time, the Mortgage Lifter tomato remains a beloved heirloom variety and is still grown by gardeners and farmers today.

SHOP Garden Supplements
Category Colour Guide
Planting Guide for Australia

Scoville Heat Units (SHU)

Plant Height (cm)

150 - 200

Season of Interest


Temperature Range (°C)

15 - 30

Determine / Indeterminate


Annual / Perennial / Biennial


Frost Hardy / Tender


Full Sun / Part Sun / Shade

Full Sun

Sow Direct / Raise Seedlings

Raise Seedlings / Sow Direct


Well-draining soil rich in organic matter


6.0 - 6.8

Soil Temperature (°C)

18 - 30

Seed Preparation

Soak the seeds in warm water for 4-6 hours before planting to promote germination

Sowing Depth (mm)


Plant Spacing (cm)

60 - 90

Row spacing (cm)

90 - 120


Consistent and even watering, but avoid overwatering to prevent diseases

Germination Time (Days)

7 - 14

Harvest Time (Days)

75 - 90

Good Companion Plants

Basil, Carrots, Chives, Garlic, Marigolds, Parsley

Bad Companion Plants

Brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.), Fennel, Potatoes, Corn, Walnuts


Tomato fruitworm (Helicoverpa zea), Aphids (Aphis spp.), Whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci), Spider mites (Tetranychus spp.), Cutworms (Agrotis spp.), Tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata)


Early blight, Late blight, Verticillium wilt, Fusarium wilt, Tomato mosaic virus

More About Us

ABSeeds is an Australian owned business trading under the umbrella of Direct Compost Solutions which is owned and managed by Victoria Brun.

We as a company endeavor to provide to the public, Organic, Old Fashioned, Heritage, and Open-pollinated seeds that have not been genetically modified.

We purchased the business in November 2018 and renamed it to ABSeeds (All ‘Bout Seeds) to make the title shorter and represent what we hope to achieve with this business in the years ahead.

Seeds that we can’t grow ourselves we will acquire from people who grow for us, or we may purchase seeds from reputable heritage seed companies.

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