IMPORTANT: You are using an old browser. You will not be able to checkout using this browser for data security reasons. Please use another browser or upgrade this one to continue. Read more.

Tomato, Mortgage Lifter

Short Description

HEIRLOOM. Legendary, huge beefsteak consistently wins taste-tests.

Full Description

This huge heirloom beefsteak (up to 4 lb.; average 2 1/2 lb.) consistently wins taste-tests. Developed in the 1930s by a gardener who planted the four biggest varieties he knew and crossed one with pollen from the other three. He did this for six seasons and created a variety that produced immense, tasty fruit. He sold the plants for $1 a piece and paid off his $6000 mortgage in 6 years.
Buy this product
Item # Product
Item#: 52068A
Order: 1 Pkt. (125 seeds)
- +
Add to Wish List

In Stock

Item#: 26321
Order: 3 Plants
- +
Send me an email when this item is back in stock
Tomato, Mortgage Lifter
Tomato, Mortgage Lifter, , large
Item #: 26321
3 Plants
Customers also bought these products

Thank you!

Add to Wish List

We're sorry this plant 26321 is done shipping for the season

Product properties

Type Some flowers and vegetables fall into subcategories that may define how they grow (such as pole or bush), what they are used for (such as slicing tomatoes or shelling peas), flower type, or other designations that will help you select the type of a class of plant that you are looking for.


Fruit Bearing This refers to the relative season when the plant produces fruit, or if it bears continuously or just once


Days To Maturity The average number of days from when the plant is actively growing in the garden to the expected time of harvest.

80 days

Fruit Weight The average weight of the fruit produced by this product.

16-24 ounces

Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.

Full Sun

Spread The width of the plant at maturity.

18 inches


Item 26321 cannot ship to: AA, AE, AK, AP, AS, CN, FM, GA, GU, HI, MH, MP, PR, PW, VI
See all Burpee plant shipping restrictions for your state

the burpee




since 1876


Customer favorite
Enlarge Photo
Print Page


  • Tomatoes

    Start Indoors Start Indoors Starting seeds indoors is called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds indoors in the spring or summer
    Transplant Transplant When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for spring
    Start Outdoors Start Outdoors Starting seeds outdoors is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the spring or summer
    Start Indoors Fall Start Indoors Fall Starting seeds indoors in the fall called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fall
    Transplant Fall Transplant Fall Transplant Fall-When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for fall
    Start Outdoors Fall Start Outdoors Fall Starting seeds outdoors in the fall is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fall
    First Date: Mar-07 - Last Date: Mar-21
    First Date: May-02 - Last Date: May-30

How to Sow and Plant

  • Sow tomato seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost in spring using a seed starting kit
  • Sow seeds ¼  inch deep in seed-starting formula
  • Keep the soil moist at 75 degrees F
  • Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days
  • As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
  • Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 3 pairs of leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots
  • Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.

Planting in the Garden:

  • Select a location in full sun with good rich moist organic soil. Make sure you did not grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or potatoes in the bed the previous year to avoid disease problems.
  • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
  • Tomatoes should be set 30-48 inches apart in a row with the rows spaced 3-4 feet apart. It can be tempting to space tomatoes more closely at planting time, but if you plant too closely you will increase the chance of disease, and decrease yields.
  • Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball. 
  • Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development. 
  • Tomatoes can be planted deeply, with the stem buried to the first set of leaves. The more deeply they are planted the more roots will form, providing the plant with additional support and better ability to take up nutrients. Some gardeners plant tomatoes by digging a horizontal trench and laying the plant in the trench with the top 2-4 inches of the plant pointing upward.
  • Fill the planting hole with soil to the top and press soil down firmly with your hand leaving a slight depression around the plant to hold water. 
  • Use the plant tag as a location marker. This is particularly important if you are trying different varieties. It is very difficult to tell which variety is which from the foliage.  
  • Water thoroughly, so that a puddle forms in the saucer you have created. This settles the plants in, drives out air pockets and results in good root-to-soil contact.
  • Place your plant support at this time. You can try tomato cages or staking. Unsupported plants will sprawl on the ground, require no pruning, and will probably produce a larger yield of smaller fruit than will staked plants. For larger, cleaner, more perfect fruits, support plants as they grow. Growing on stakes: Place strong stakes in the ground and set plants about 6 inches from the stakes. Growing in cages: Place a cage around a single plant; let the vines grow and enlarge within the cage, no pruning  will be necessary

How to Grow

  • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. 
  • Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. This is especially important for tomatoes as their roots may be easily damaged when weeding, and this can lead to blossom end rot.
  • Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1-2 inches of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
  • If growing on stakes: As the plants grow, allow only one or two main stems to grow and pinch out any other side shoots as they form. Gently tie the one or two remaining shoots to the stake; don't pull them tightly against the stake. If growing in cages, no pruning is necessary.
  • Whether to remove the side shoots, or suckers, that grow out of the leaf axils or not depends on the support system used. Gardeners using stakes usually snap off these side shoots. They typically get earlier and larger tomatoes but overall production tends to be less. If tomatoes are grown in cages, the suckers are generally left on, although it's a good idea to pinch the tip out of them when they are 6-8 inches long. Regardless you may want to remove all the growth from the bottom 6-10 inches of the plant. This helps to improve air circulation and reduce the spread of diseases such as early blight. Wait until the plants are knee-high. In the morning when the plants have the most water in them, snap off the lower growth while it is small. Any plants that look sick with distorted foliage or have a mosaic pattern on the leaves should be removed as they may have a virus that can spread to the other plants. It is best to do this early in the season.
  • Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.

Harvesting and Preserving Tips

  • Determinate tomato plants ripen a heavy crop over a few weeks. Indeterminate varieties bear fruit continuously until frost. Remember that the days to harvest refers to the time from setting out transplants in the garden.
  • Pick tomatoes when they are as ripe as possible. They should be fully colored and firm and picked regularly to avoid overloading plants.
  • At the end of the season, when you know there will be a frost, pick all the almost-ripe tomatoes you can, and ripen them in brown bags or spread on newspapers at room temperature. Many cultivars will store for months. Store only sound fruit, at 50-60°F. Do NOT refrigerate and try to avoid having the fruit touch each other.
  • The foliage of tomatoes is toxic and should not be eaten.
  • Tomato fruits are enjoyed in many cooked dishes as a flavoring. Use them to make soups, sauces, stews, ketchup, paste, juice, quiche, and pies. Add them to curries, casseroles, and chutney.
Fruit Bearing
Days To Maturity
80 days
Fruit Weight
16-24 ounces
Full Sun
18 inches
36-40 inches
Sow Method
Indoor Sow
Sow Time
6-8 weeks BLF
6 inches
Tomato, Mortgage Lifter is rated 4.0 out of 5 by 43.
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Horrible seeds I bought this legendary heirloom to get big tomatoes, instead all i got was horrible germination and weak seedlings that died.
Date published: 2017-05-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Delicious tomatoes This plant when it a couple weeks after the rest of my tomatoes which may be the reason the yield wasn't great but the tomatoes themselves were delicious and it is still producing while some of my other varieties appear to be done.
Date published: 2016-10-21
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointment This as well as all the other seeds I purchased not one germinated. Ended up a waste of money. I had far better luck when th seeds I bought at lowes. All of them germinated identical planting same time.
Date published: 2016-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Big and Beautiful! Started from seed and wish I planted more! A great tasting tomato slicer for your sandwich or burger.
Date published: 2016-08-31
Rated 2 out of 5 by from May deformed fruit Mortgage Lifter provides a great yield of huge deformed tomatoes. They like to form one tomato from two blossoms and they do this all season. The flavor is meh. Try Pink Brandywine or Cherokee Purple, I have much better luck with them, better flavor and better looking tomatoes.
Date published: 2016-05-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mortgage Lifter fingers crossed so to speak i got these seeds in hope that they could help me pay off my loan. i got for a LED grow panel to use for school. i'll update this when the 1st harvest
Date published: 2015-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from awesome variety I started my plants from seed and they sprouted quickly into long spindly starts. as soon as they were transferred into bottomless 5 gallon buckets with only compost and buried into the garden, they went crazy. by July 1, the plants were over six feet tall and loaded with huge fruit. the plants like plenty water and food. I've had to prune the plants to keep them from turning into a forest. make sure your support cages can handle plenty of weight. I'm impressed with this variety and plan on another crop next year.
Date published: 2015-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Delicious! These tomatoes were delicious! They didn't get very big for me, but neither did any of my other tomatoes. It was a cool, wet season. These tomatoes tasted so good though! They were the best variety I planted this year.
Date published: 2014-11-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not impressed A good tomato, but not up to all of the hype. The plant was not nearly as hardy as "Summer Girl", and we were not really keen on the funky shape. They were tasty, but I will stick with the hybrids, thank you very much.
Date published: 2014-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Meaty and delicious Used ripe and unripe..makes great fried green tomatoes.
Date published: 2014-09-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Big and juicy These are good and large tomatoes. They come out a little funny shaped sometimes but that made it interesting. I think I prefer the taste of big boys better overall but this is a fun addition to the garden.
Date published: 2014-09-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Heirloom The mortgage lifter is a great tomato. I've never had such a great harvest. Dozens of large tomatoes, large plants taller than me. My friends and neighbors are amazed at the size and quantity of the plant.
Date published: 2014-08-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Nice tomato In my garden, Mortgage Lifter tomatoes turned out to be tasty and fairly large. As far as taste specifics go, I thought there was a nice balance of acid and sugar. Mortage Lifter isn't the best tomato I've ever eaten, but it is quite tasty. I am growing it again this year.
Date published: 2013-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Have grown this variety a few times and they are very good!
Date published: 2013-03-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not what I expected I purchased a packet of seed from Burpee last year. I have really enjoyed the flavor of Brandywine, and looked forward to trying another highly rated beefsteak type. The seedling grew rapidly and was a very healthy plant. But the tomatoes it produced were not what I expected. Instead of beefsteak sized tomatoes, it produced multiple clusters of small 1 1/2 inch tomatoes. I think Burpee mixed up the packaging of its tomato seeds for Mortgage Lifter for 2012. I have limited space in my raised planter beds, so this was a great disappointment. I contacted customer service on its website this January to voice my disappointment. They immediately sent out a replacement packet for 2013 without charge. I will try again this year.
Date published: 2013-03-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Underwhelming variety The 2.5 lb average in the description was far from accurate for me. The fruits were small with most being well under a pound and not very flavorful. They were pretty bland with tough flesh. Mediocre disease resistance. I'm going to pass on this variety in the future.
Date published: 2013-03-02
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Mortgage Maker..... Not a good experience with this tomatoe. first time to grow it. also planted big beef, brandyboy and 4th of july great results with them. Mortgage lifter tomatoes were very small, few and not very flavorful. The plants seemed very disease afflicted. I will pass on these, but othersI read, have had success with them.
Date published: 2013-02-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mortgage Lifter . . . WASN'T I planted seeds for Brandywine Pink, Cherokee Purple, and Mortgage Lifter. The first two were exactly as they should have been, while none of the Mortgage LIfters were as described. The plants were smaller, took longer to mature, and most the tomatoes are only 1-1/2 inches across. The photo shows all 3 species, and these were the largest MLs we harvested. No real complaints here because my tomato project has been very successful and I am now hooked on planting seeds! (PS -- I think a different variety of seeds got in the ML envelope.)
Date published: 2012-06-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous for SFG These were the best tomatoes I have ever grown. I bought a plant from a store as an experiment and I came to this site to buy seeds. This will be the only tomato I grow (besides Sweet 100's which are awesome for a tasty easy to grow small salad tomato). The Mortgage lifter fruit was 3x larger than either my Brandywine or Rutgers, and the Mortgage lifter was a much more meaty and flavorful! I cant recommend these strongly enough! I grew these using the Square Foot Gardening method, and with that recommended soil I had no cracking and the plants were Jurassic huge.
Date published: 2012-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Tomato Hopeful The seeds were planted and all the seeds sprouted and I am waiting for the plants to grow and produce.
Date published: 2012-05-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from yep, they're good Plants get huge and are very productive. Good flavor.
Date published: 2010-08-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Big & Flavorful but may mutate :) Previous reviews are correct in that the seedlings are a little fragile. My first batch died but luckily I had enough time to start more. Let there be no mistake, these plants arent just big, they are legendary. I pruned like crazy and they were still out of control. I grow them on cattle panels attached to metal fence posts driven in the ground. Watch out for alien mutants invading your mortgage lifters. See one I captured in the picture below. :)
Date published: 2010-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique and tasty An amazing plant. Starting from seed, some succumbed to disease, but the survivors were more tolerant to the local climate afterward. Doesn't require much nitrogen, but it greedily-feeds on both phosphorus and potassium. Best to compost, though, for flavor. A good candidate for supercropping (crushing the stems so they grow back more robust), the fruit on the supercropped stems grew to mythic proportions while retaining flavor. Easy to grow for the novice, but good enough for any table. Should be more popular than it is, in my opinion.
Date published: 2009-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great tasting tomato I started from the seed on September 2008 in South Florida, I transferred it to my vegetable garden end of October, start harvesting end of January 2009, I get an average of 6 tomatos a day from one plant, average size of the tomato is one pound, the largest I have got so far is 1.5 pound. It is very flavorful with mild acidic consistency; the plant is about 6 feet tall now. It is a great all-around tomato. I use liquid fertilizer once a week with miracle-grow (I alternate between tomato fertilizer and bloom booster). The plants does not get the required 7 to 8 hours of sun, it gets about 4 hours of sun. It has a very good shelf life. Great for sandwich and salad.
Date published: 2009-04-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Tomato I Ever Ate Fifty-five years ago, in our garden in Barboursville, WV, my father and I grew Mortgage Lifter tomatoes. They are, by far, the most delicious tomato I have ever eaten. I am delighted to know that I again can grow these delicious tomatoes and enjoy their flavor.
Date published: 2009-02-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Truly Special This plant has an excellent and unique flavor as advertised. The fruits' color is different from standard varieties and when you cut one open you'll notice the pattern of the inside of the fruit is different than other varities. Like many heirlooms, this plant will come on late and it requires special attention. The seedlings are delicate and can struggle early. Don't be frustrated when you see flowers early but no fruits until late. This plant should be grown in concert with early producing varieties to remove the pressure of quick production. Offer patience and this plant can give you a truly special treat at the end of the Summer!
Date published: 2008-12-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Productive and Delicious! I selected this variety out of approx. 30 different varieties I started this spring. The M.L. produced nice sized tomatoes suprisingly early! It was the first of all my mid-season varities to ripen. The M.L.'s are a very pretty shade of pink, with very few of mine being misshapen. They were always taken first when I would give away them away to co-workers. It has a very smooth flavor with plenty of juice and very few seeds. They also have excellent size and most of the tomatoes had a very nice shape to them. I froze several pounds of these and have really enjoyed. As far as productivity goes these were above average only losing out to my Brandy Boys. These are definately a tomato I will grow again next year. The disease resistance was fine after I pruned vines a foot from the ground. They went into a lull during the end of August and now as of October 1st they are starting to put on more fruit! Just a very good tomato!
Date published: 2008-10-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Mortgage lifter I bought one spindly bugshot plant at a clearance sale, stuck it in a 5 gallon bucket of plain topsoil, gave it a good douche of miracle grow and Blamo. the plant was twice as big about ten days later. I bought one of those el-cheapo tomato cages and by the third week the vine had completely outgrown the cage. I then staked it and had to wire an extension on it before the season was over. Good old fashioned tomatoes. I would highly recommend this one but even thought my particular vine became nicknamed Attila for trying to take over my patio there are some slight drawbacks. Even though the tomatoes you get are huge "a few in the 2-3lb range", I found some were a little more mishaped than average. Also when weather gets warm, seems more blooms drop than normal. Vine will keep growing though and return to production even better in the fall but not to many had a chace to get ripe. This might be more a problem for my area that the tomatoes fault. The tomatoes are top notch slicers though and the taste to me is in the top 10 that I had tried. This year I have ten plants tied to 2 cattle panels stacked two high and the vines are loaded. One plant just wilted one day but although knocked back a few weeks it seems to be recovering. Can't hardly wait till they get ripe. I can't help myself as Im an ole country boy and my salt shaker hand is a twitchin. Top notch allround tomato and I'll aways grow a few of these.
Date published: 2008-06-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent Tomato Flavor.... This is one of my favorite heirloom tomatoes. They are sweet and juicy without having a lot of seeds. They make a great BLT or even are surprisingly good for a sauce or canning. Plants tend to be a little delicate, and need a little extra TLC, but they worth the extra time.
Date published: 2008-01-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantastic tomatos!! The seedlings are fragile, but the fruit is SO worth it! The tomatos are HUGE and fleshy - no wimpy, watery tomatos here! - and the perfect size for hamburger buns - the LARGE ones!!
Date published: 2008-01-07
  • y_2018, m_7, d_15, h_23
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_2.0.8
  • cp_2, bvpage2n
  • co_hasreviews, tv_0, tr_43
  • loc_en_US, sid_prod000998, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_burpee