Welcome back, fellow gardeners. Today we will discuss another popular tomato variety with all of you. I am talking about ‘Roma Tomatoes’. It is a popular Paste tomato variety in the entire Country. You can easily grow any Roma tomato variety in your garden or a container. These are short hight determinate tomato varieties. Therefore, you can count on the harvesting date from the day of germination. Although you can also find some indeterminate Roma Tomatoes.
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Ok, Let’s start the discussion…
What is Roma Tomato?
The Scientific name of Roma Tomato is Solanum lycopersicum ‘Roma’.
Roma Tomato is an excellent plum tomato. It is a small 2-4 inch tomato with a dense fleshy structure. It has a low moisture content that makes it ideal for paste and Sause preparation.
These tomatoes are very easy to cut, dice and slice due to low moisture content. The dense gel-less flesh structure gives it more stability for barbeque and roasting.
Roma tomatoes have very few seeds that make them the best choice for canning and storing.
These tomatoes have several color variants available in stores. Pink, Red, Yellow, and Orange colors are common with Roma tomatoes.
Roma Tomato is a Hybrid American Heirloom tomato Variety developed by USDA in 1955. It was first cultivated in the year 1963 as a Disease resistant Tomato plant. The first grown Roma Tomato variant was- Roma VF. It was resistant to verticillium and Furacium wilt disease. Even modern successors of Roma VF tomatoes are resistant to these common tomato diseases.
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Uses of Roma Tomatoes
Roma tomato is a popular plum paste tomato variety. It is used for making thick tomato paste, sauces, and purry. Many commercial food brands use aroma tomatoes for sauce or ketchup production. You can also use it in salads, salsas, and as addressing for sandwiches or pizza.
If you are fond of barbeque then these tomatoes are the best option for you. You can easily put these in grill sticks without any juice leak.
The thick flesh consistency is good for marinating meats. There can be 100 different ways to use it. Every cook has his secrets, so do some magic.
What is the Taste of Roma Tomato?– Fresh Roma Tomato tastes Sweet and Tangy. It is less juicy and more fleshy in texture. You can easily dice these tomatoes with salsa, salads, or pizza topping without any leakage.
Are Roma Tomatoes Bush or Vine type?
Most of the modern Roma tomato varieties are Bush type plants. They can grow up to 3 feet high and 3-5 feet wide. Although there are few vine-type aroma tomatoes available to grow in the garden. Gardeners generally prefer the short bush-type tomatoes.
These bush-type aroma varieties are easy to grow, manage, and require less space. They are the ideal choice for every container vegetable gardener.
- Dark red Plum Regal variety is immune to common blight disease.
- Sunrise Sauce is a sweet tomato variety ideal for sauce and paste.
- Large Heinz is the best-known paste tomato variety.
- Martino’s Roma is a blight-resistant dark red oval tomato with a high yield.
- Buy Roma tomato seeds online on Amazon.
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Are Roma Tomato Determinate or Indeterminate Tomatoes?
Most of the Roma tomatoes are determinate varieties. They mature in 70-90 days in ideal condition. But there are many other indeterminate Roma tomato varieties available to choose from.
The determinate Roma variety is common in commercial cultivation. They can grow up to 3-4 feet with a 2-3 feet spread. They require less space and care than indeterminate vine-type Roma varieties.
The main advantage of growing an indeterminate Roma tomato is you can harvest lot more tomatoes throughout the season. This is not possible with small determinate varieties of Roma tomato.
Both of these rates have some pros and cons of their own. Therefore, You should choose one to fulfill your requirements. Also, take care of the specific needs of these two varieties before selection.
Temperature Requirement for Roma tomatoes
A Roma tomato plant requires a minimum of 55-70 degrees Fahrenheit to grow. 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for fruit production.
Therefore, we recommend starting seedling indoor at least 4 weeks before the last frost. Early seeding will give you a head start for Pre-season harvesting.
You should move the tomato plant out only when the night temperature stays above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
When to Grow Roma tomatoes?
Start growing Roma Tomatoes in early spring. Try to develop seedlings indoors at least 4 weeks before the last frost.
If you don’t want to do the indoor thing. Then sow the seeds outdoor once the temperature is warm enough to support germination.
February to March is the ideal time for germinating Roma Tomato seeds. Move the plants out from Mid-March to April and take regular care of your tomato plants.
Where to Grow Roma Tomatoes?
Roma Tomato plant loves the warm humid location. Just like any other tomato, You should grow these Tomatoes in an open well-lit space.
These tomato plants require 6-8 hours of direct sunlight every day. At least 5 hours of sunlight is required for flowering in the tomato plant. You also grow these tomatoes in partial shade. Only make sure they get proper sunlight and heat.
Soil Preparation for Growing Roma tomatoes
Roma tomato plants require soft nutritious and well-drained soil. The soil must be slightly acidic with 6.5 Ph or low.
- Use any commercial vegetable potting mix or prepare your own. You can mix 60% compost with 30% garden soil and 10% clean sand to grow a Roma tomato plant.
- Add 1 tablespoon of NPK 19:19:19 or 4-5 grains of Urea, Potash, and DAP (Diammonium Phosphate) to this soil mix.
- Finally, add 1 spoon full of any systemic or contact fungicide to the soil mix.
- If you don’t want to use any chemical fertilizer or fungicide then add 5 spoons of dry mustard cake powder with 2 spoons of Neem cake powder.
- You must dry the garden soil and compost for a couple of days before soil mix preparation. This will prevent an insect, pest, or fungal attack on the plant.
How to Grow Roma Tomatoes?
A Roma tomato plant is very easy to grow. It only requires 4 steps to follow. Just make sure you have the right temperature and soil mix to grow your own Roma tomato plant.
- You sow the tomato seeds in a growing tray or directly in the garden. The first method is always preferable.
- Prepare a growing tray with a plastic or clay container. It should be 4-5 inches deep with proper drainage holes.
- Fill the tray with soil mix up to 3 or 4-inch height. Make sure you have at least 0.5 inch space at the top available for watering.
- Spread or put the tomato seeds evenly on the top of the soil mix.
- Cover the seeds with a fine layer of the same soil mix.
- Water the tray abundantly and cover it with a transparent plastic sheet. Put the tray in partial shade for 3 days.
- The Roma tomato seeds will germinate within 3-5 days. Meanwhile don’t forget to water the baby seedlings. They can’t survive a dry spell.
Hardening of Your Roma Tomato Seedlings
Acclimatization of seedlings grown indoor with the warm outer temperature is called Hardening. This is an essential step especially for the tomato plants growing in a tray inside your house.
Usually, those seedlings are not comfortable with bright sunlight and warm outer temperature. Therefore you have to treat them slowly to adapt to the outside temperature.
This process needs to be followed once the outside temperature is above 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
It requires a short exposer to the outside temperature. You should put the germination tray with the seedling outside every day for only 2 to 3 hours. Repeat this schedule for 3 days then extend the exposure time gradually.
The plants require 6-10 days to completely adapt to the outside garden temperature and surrounding environment.
Transplanting Roma tomato Seedlings
You can transplant your Roma tomatoes once they reach 3-4 inch height. Even tall 6-8 inch seedlings are also good for transplant.
- Take a 5-8 inch clay pot or container for the first transplant. A 5 gallon grow bag should be enough to start.
- Fill 3/4th of every container or grow bag with 50% compost and 40% garden soil with 10% cocopeat.
- Put 1 tomato plant in the center and cover it with the same soil mix. Cover half to 3/4th length of the seedlings with soil. Don’t worry the tomato plant can develop roots throughout its length.
- Water the plants thoroughly for the first time. Make sure the water comes out from the bottom hole of the container.
- Place the baby Roma Tomato plants in partial shade for 1 week to acclimatize.
- You should retransplant these tomato plants to a bigger container or open garden space after 15 days. Otherwise, they can develop some small fruits in these containers.
Caring Baby RomaTomato Plants
- Add support sticks or chicken net cover for the plants to grow upward.
- Apply organic mulch like cocopeat, compost, or wood dust around the root ball.
- Remove weed or grass growth around the tomato plant. They can compete with your tomato plant for food and nutrients.
- Also, Remove the suckers growing at the lower end of the tomato plant. These are the new shoots that spread along the soil line. These branches are more prone to pest or insect attack. Try to maintain a minimum number of low branches in the tomato plant.
- Deadhead and prune the baby plant whenever required. Stop pruning at least 30 days before flowering season. Otherwise, flower production can be delayed.
Watering and Fertilization
- Water the Roma tomatoes only when it is required. Keep the soil moist and avoid over-watering.
- Through watering once every week is more beneficial than shallow regular spills.
- Check the soil for water retention before every watering cycle. Make sure the topsoil is dry and the plant actually needs some water.
- Tomato plants are heavy feeders. Therefore, feed your Roma tomatoes with vegetable fertilizer mix or NPK 20:20:20 at 12-15 day intervals.
- Add extra compost cover to the topsoil once every month.
- Spray your tomatoes with 1% Epsom salt solution every week.
Pest and Disease Treatment
Roma tomato varieties are free for Blight and Wilt disease. Still, you must spray the plants with oil, soap, and water solution to avoid pest attack.
Aphids and Spider mites are common pests with Roma tomato plants. Sometimes mealybugs can also attack the plants especially if the foliage is moist or wet. Therefore avoid water on the leaves or stems. This can cause many fungal problems.
Neem oil spray is also effective in controlling common tomato problems.
Harvesting Schedule of Roma Tomatoes
You should harvest the Roma tomatoes once it turns complete red or yellow according to its variety. No need to wait further as it will not turn soft or juicy anymore.
It will take around 2-3 weeks for the flower to turn into mature Roma tomatoes. Just count the days and pick whenever it is ready.
Regular and Timely harvesting is essential to encourage further flowering and fruiting. Therefore, pick the fruits when it turns completely red from tip to bottom.
You can also harvest the fruits a couple of days before ripening. just place them on the kitchen counter and they will be ready in a day or two.
I hope you like the way I use to grow Roma Tomatoes. It is easy and efficient. No-fuss with technicalities, no this or that. Simple gardening is more effective than all those grow guides. Give it a try and let us know your personal experience.
I’ll wait for your response. Till then Keep reading Keep gardening!