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New Big Dwarf (Isbell’s New Big-Dwarf)

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About New Big Dwarf (Isbell’s New Big-Dwarf)

‘New Big Dwarf’ was introduced by ‘M. Isbell & Co’ of Jackson, Michigan in 1909 as a ‘New Departure in Tomatoes’. * It evolved from efforts to grow a bigger fruit on a dwarf plant in comparison to the dwarfs that were known at the time. A lot of companies carried out a ‘Ponderosa’ and ‘Dwarf Champion’ cross, then made a lot of selections in stabilization time. ‘S.M. Isbell & Co’ named theirs ‘New Big Dwarf’, but other companies released their versions as ‘Dwarf Ponderosa’ or ‘Dwarf Giant’ that kept the compact growth of its ‘Dwarf Champion’ parent, but with the large-sized fruit of ‘Ponderosa’. Later, ‘New Big Dwarf’ was used by Patrina Nuske Small from Australia and Craig LeHoullier from the USA to further the development of large-fruited, different-colored, flavorful dwarf varieties (the ‘Dwarf Tomato Project’). Germplasm Resource Information Network (GRIN)* Accession number for this tomato is PI 645154. Donated to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1973 from Wyoming, USA.
Determinate, regular, rugose leaf dwarf (tree-type) plant growing to 2-3ft./60cm are loaded with large (9-18oz./240-500g), deep pink tomatoes. The fruit is meaty, oblate, and slightly flattened, with a well-balanced taste. Perfect for patio, terrace, or balcony container growing or for small gardens. Mid-to-late season, about 80-90 days to maturity.

*The description of ‘New Big Dwarf’ in the M. Isbell & Co., Jackson, Michigan, 1909 catalog was as follows:
“Isbell’s New Big-Dwarf tomato Ponderosa fruits on Dwarf Champions vines.
This BIG FRUITED but DWARF or Erect growing variety is one of the most important advances made in recent years in the line of varieties especially adapted to Home Gardens. The original plant was discovered by us in a large field of Ponderosa. Its vine would indicate a cross with Dwarf Champion, while the fruit is surprisingly similar to Ponderosa, although smoother. Those who have attempted in the past to grow Ponderosa with its sprawling habit of vine may now have the same exquisite quality of fruit on strong, erect vines requiring about i/4 the space of the old sort, and in addition the crop will be well borne up from the ground, thus ensuring clean, sound, fine flavored specimens. The foliage is coarse, heavy and of a healthy dark green color.
The main stem or stalk grows about 20 to 24 inches high and is very stiffly erect-so much so that the immense clusters of large fruits are well supported. The fruits themselves are fully equal in size to those of Ponderosa, being by far the largest fruited dwarf growing sort in cultivation. The color is the same as Ponderosa, being of a rich crimson tinged with purple, making it surprisingly attractive when exposed for sale.
The inside “make-up” of the fruit is one of its crowning merits-extremely few seeds and these near the outer walls-texture of the flesh as solid as a mellow apple-color of a rich crimson. We cannot imagine how it can possibly be improved upon in these respects. The flavor is unequaled, being entirely free from that metallic acid taste which is characteristic of some otherwise good sorts. Inasmuch as both its parents are noted for their most exquisite quality, the New Big-Dwarf is a top notcher in this respect. ISBELL’S NEW BIG-DWARF is a marvel for productiveness. Although the plants are of true bush-like form, yet the joints are short and the large clusters are very numerous. In season this new sort is several days earlier than Ponderosa, making it a medium early. Last season it was among the first to show ripe fruit and continued in bearing until killed by frost.
ISBELL’S NEW BIG-DWARF few so distinct and so meritorious that we are proud to offer it to the Tomate lovers of America and the world. We earnestly hope everyone who reads this description will include it in the list of varieties grown in 1909.
ISBELL’S BIG-DWARF Is introduced exclusively by us. It had been our intention to allow other seedsmen to assist in its dissemination, but owing to extremely dry weather, the crop was short, and our supply is limited. In order to place it within reach of all, we are putting the seed up in small packets of 50 seeds each.”
**Germplasm Resource Information Network (GRIN) documents plant, animal, and microbial collections through informational pages and searchable databases. GRIN is operated by the National Germplasm Resources Laboratory in Beltsville, MD, USA.

Culinary Use
Flavor Profile
Flesh Color
Fruit Color
Fruit Shape
Fruit Size
Leaf Type
Late / Mid-season
Plant Type
Dwarf / Indeterminate
Solanum lycopersicum

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