Tomato, Livingston's Paragon

Solanum lycopersicum
$3.75 to $13.75
SKU: 0144A
  • Organic
  • Bright red fruits grow to over 1 pound
  • Extremely productive
  • Fruit ripens throughout the season
  • New for 2017 - Heritage Farm Collection Variety

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Large, red, globe tomato, midseason maturing, indeterminate growth habit. Paragon has good flavor, but is not as sweet as today’s gardeners often expect.

Alexander W. Livingston (1821-1898), probably did more to popularize the tomato in America than any other individual. His company bred and released 35 tomato varieties between 1870 and 1941. His breeding program and vigorous promotion transformed Americans’ perception of tomatoes. His first tomato introduction in 1870, “The Paragon Tomato,” was described by Livingston as the first “perfectly and uniformly smooth tomato ever introduced.”

Mike Dunton’s Livingston Project

Our Paragon strain comes from longtime SSE member Mike Dunton’s Victory Seed Company. By the late 1990s, the Livingston tomatoes had all but disappeared from the seed trade. Those few being sold were often not true to type for their historic descriptions. Mike Dunton has spent the last twenty years researching and locating authentic Livingston tomatoes.

In recognition of the strong historic value of Livingston’s contributions, SSE has been working for the past two years to assess the Livingston tomatoes in our Collection for purity and historic authenticity. Mike Dunton has provided invaluable consultation, and in several cases, we are acquiring his strains. Our goal is to preserve historically accurate strains of all the remaining Livingston tomatoes.

For a complete biography of Alexander W. Livingston, we recommend the book, Livingston and the Tomato.

Learn to Grow it

You should start plants indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost date for transplanting them into the garden. Plant them outdoors 2-4 weeks after your last expected frost.

Plant your seeds 1/4-1/2 in. deep in soil trays or pots. Transfer them to 3-4 in. pots when their true leaves appear. When transplanting, bury seedlings up the stems up to their leaves.

Make sure that your soil is well fertilized as this crop is a heavy feeder and takes a lot of nutrients from the soil. Consider adding compost to the soil the year before you plant.

These plants prefer warm weather and soil so they should be grown when temperatures are over 68 degrees F. You should avoid watering them from above as damp leaves may be susceptible to disease.