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Lycopersicon esculentum
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.
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Growth Type: 
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: 
June 28, 2002 to September 6, 2002June 10, 2005 to August 30, 2005July 4, 2006 to September 15, 2006June 30, 2007 to August 2, 2007June 28, 2008 to August 29, 2008June 11, 2009 to August 4, 2009June 28, 2010 to August 31, 2010July 4, 2012 to October 10, 2012July 11, 2013 to September 11, 2013May 23, 2014 to July 30, 2014July 20, 2016 to October 14, 2016July 21, 2017 to November 10, 2017July 11, 2018 to October 17, 2018May 31, 2019


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