Roma VF Tomato
Seed Count: Approx. 10 seeds
Days to Maturity: 76-80 Days
Description: The Roma tomato is a popular plum variety used for canning, making paste, and purees with, due to its slim and firm nature. It's so popular that it can be found in most grocery produce isles. These cute, bright red, 3 inch, egg/pear shaped fruits, have thick walls, meaty interiors, and only have a few seeds. It is pretty quick to mature, a heavy producer, and grows on compact plants of about 3 ft. tall. The Roma VF variety is most commonly found for growers, and was developed in the 1950s as a Fusarium wilt resistant cultivar. It is an open pollinated variety, and not a hybrid, but it has been improved to the point where it is a Verticillium wilt resistant as well, which is what the VF in its name stands for. It disease resistance, makes it effortless to grow!
How To Grow
Sowing: Start tomatoes indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost of spring, or direct sow in warmer climates. Sow seeds 1/4" deep and 1" apart. Tomatoes need 70-75 degrees F to germinate, as well as adequate light. Keep the soil moist, but make sure there is proper drainage, or the seeds can rot. When the second set of leaves emerge, transplant the seedlings into individual pots. Bury the stems up to the lowest set of leaves for strongly rooted plants.
Growing: This variety is determinate, and doesn't require a trellis, however, I tend to still provide supports when there is heave fruit set to keep my branches from breaking and my fruit off the ground. Protect plants, if temperature drops below 55 degrees F, or damage will occur. Keep soil consistently moist, or cracking may also occur. Mulching can be beneficial to preserve moisture, and deter weeds. If weather is extremely dry, water deeply your plants, once a week. Just remember to avoid wetting the leaves to reduce diseases. Once fruit start to set, fertilize your plants to increase your yield. I like to surround my tomato plants with basil (it's a great Tomato horn worm deterrent). Other companions include, carrots, garlic, or onions. However, avoid planting them with cabbage, or corn.
Harvesting: Determinate varieties, unlike indeterminate ones, ripen a heavy crop in a couple weeks, instead of over the course of the season. Test the ripeness of tomatoes by pressing them gently; the flesh should yield slightly. The mature color also indicates ripeness. If the stem does not come easily off the vine, cut it with a scissors to avoid damaging the vines. Vine ripened tomatoes have the best flavor, but you can harvest them before they fully ripen, if pests or weather become an issue. As soon as frost comes, all tomatoes should be harvested, even the green ones. Unripe tomatoes will ripen eventually, if kept in a warm place out of direct sunlight. Seed saving: Since cross pollination between most tomato varieties is unlikely, isolation is not a concern. Pick fully ripe tomatoes and separate the seeds from the pulp, and let completely dry. You can also ferment your seeds to remove the gel like substance on the seeds exterior. During fermentation, any bad seeds will float to the top, and all of the viable seeds stay sunk to the bottom. Fermenting your seeds can also increase germination rates as well. To ferment, squeeze the seeds, along with its gel, into a jar. Add some water, and let it sit at room temperature for a couple of days, you should see a film form on the top, and it should smell a bit sour. Once the film forms, skim it off the top, and rinse out your seeds. Place them on parchment paper to dry. Once dry, store your seeds for the next season.