Tomato 'Roma' VF Heirloom (25 seeds)
Tomatoes first arrived in Italy with the return of European explorers from South America, bringing with them the unknown "tomatl," a member of the nightshade family that was considered poisonous for centuries and only used for decoration. Though Italians didn't discover the merits of tomatoes as a vegetable until the 18th century, they quickly became a staple ingredient in Italian sauces and pasta. The Roma tomato, also called an Italian plum tomato, performs excellently for sauces because of its low water content.
Approximately 25 seeds per packet
- Start seeds inside 5-6 weeks before transplanting
- Cover with a thin layer of vermiculite and gently press
- Mist or bottom water to keep moist
- Cover with plastic for humidity, remove after germination
- Germinates in 5-10 days
- Harden off seedlings for 7-10 days before planting
- Recommended planting time is 2 weeks after last frost
- Amend garden soil with finished compost and aged manure
- Add 1/4 cup of organic bone meal and 1/4 cup of balanced organic slow release fertilizer into the planting hole and mix in with the soil
- Place the transplant into the potting hole, backfill with soil, gently press and water in abundantly to remove any air pockets and encourage root growth
- Space plants 24-36” apart
- Fertilize with organic water soluble fertilizer every 3-4 weeks
- Maintain a consistent watering schedule for best results
- Harvest in 78 days from transplant
- Indeterminate tomato, should be staked, trellised, or caged, and pruned for best results
- Fruit is harvested over an extended period, usually right until fall frost.
SEED TO HARVEST GUIDE
Don't start seeds too early—leggy, root-bound, or flowering transplants can cause stunting and reduce early production. About 5–6 weeks before transplanting, sow 1/4" deep in 20-row flats with 20 seeds/row, or in 200-cell trays with 1 seed/cell; lightly cover. Keep mix at 75–85°F (24–29°C) with moderate moisture. At first true leaf, pot-up to 50-cell trays or 4" pots, depending on expected transplant timing. Grow at constant 60–70°F (16–21°C) temp and use complete fertilizer until hardened-off. Supplemental lights and lower night temps control stretching. For earliest crop, plant under row cover around last frost date. Avoid exposing unprotected plants to consecutive nightly temperatures below 45°F (7°C). In rows 4–6' apart, space indeterminates 24–36". Plant deeply to encourage adventitious rooting. Water seedlings with a high-phosphate fertilizer solution at planting to help boost early yields.
Tomatoes are vines that have a weak stem that sprawls and typically needs support. Basket-weave by pounding 6–8' stakes every 2–3 plants, using heavier t-posts intermittently and at ends of beds. Or alternatively, use 'single-stem and stake' growing technique, or cordon tomato vine support method. Firmly secure canes or stakes into the ground so they will be able to support the considerable weight of fruit-laden plants and withstand sudden gusts of wind.
Indeterminates likely benefit by removing all suckers under the first strong branch directly below the first flower cluster. The lower bottom suckers often miss trellis supports, set fruit closer to soil, take energy from upper parts, and encourage spread of disease from soil. If needed later in season, consider thinning out leaves to increase airflow or topping plants in the fall to help finish ripening last fruits.
DISEASES & INSECT PESTS:
Learn your common pests and options for control, including resistant cultivars and organic pest control methods. Avoid wet leaves and handling when wet or using tobacco products. Manage plant debris and implement crop rotations.
Fruits ripen gradually from the blossom end to shoulders and from the base of clusters to the tips. Use fully ripe fruit only for home or local retail use. Any fruit breaking color will still ripen post-harvest.
Store blemish-free, near-ripe fruit 4–7 days at room temperature in darkness. Store longer with proper variety selection, picking less-ripe, and keeping at cooler temperatures 45–60°F (7–16°C). Colder and picking too green will sacrifice end-quality.
Heirloom (Open Pollinated)