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We can say with certainty that Thomas Jefferson both cultivated and ate tomatoes. His garden book records the planting of tomatoes in the Monticello vegetable garden from 1809 until 1824. As these are the only years for which he made detailed planting records, we can assume that he planted tomatoes both before and after these dates. Presumably he was cultivating them as early as 1781, when he wrote in his Notes on the State of Virginia: "The gardens yield musk melons, water melons, tomatas, okra, pomegranates, figs, and the esculent plants of Europe." In other words, the tomato is not singled out as anything unusual in Virginia gardens.Jefferson always credited a Portuguese doctor who came to Williamsburg in the mid-eighteenth century with being the first to introduce the tomato as a food plant to Virginia. This Dr. Sequeyra firmly believed that daily consumption of the tomato not only maintained health but prolonged life.It was, though, quite uncommon in some parts of Virginia for the tomato to be eaten. Jefferson reportedly created some consternation when he publicly ate a tomato in front of the present Miller-Claytor house in Lynchburg.
Hardiness Zones:Zone 1, Zone 2, Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9, Zone 10
Location at Monticello:Vegetable Garden
Planting Conditions:Full Sun
Blooming History:2002 Jun 28 to 2002 Sep 62005 Jun 10 to 2005 Aug 302006 Jul 4 to 2006 Sep 152007 Jun 30 to 2007 Aug 22008 Jun 28 to 2008 Aug 292009 Jun 11 to 2009 Aug 42010 Jun 28 to 2010 Aug 312012 Jul 4 to 2012 Oct 102013 Jul 11 to 2013 Sep 112014 May 23 to 2014 Jul 302016 Jul 20 to 2016 Oct 142017 Jul 21 to 2017 Nov 102018 Jul 11