Roma tomatoes, also known as Italian tomatoes or Italian plum tomatoes, are perfect for tomato sauces, pastes and canned tomatoes because they have very few seeds, are dense and meaty with low moisture content and are easy to peal. Roma is a determinate tomato that can produce up to 200 fruit in a single season. Determinate tomatoes, or bush tomatoes, usually bear fruit all at once and are harvested at the same time.
A Fruit or a Veggie?
So many people are confused whether tomatoes are a fruit or a veggie. Technically, tomatoes are a FRUIT–a berry in fact. However, In 1893 when vegetables and fruit were subject to different import duties, the Supreme Court found it necessary to define it as a vegetable. And there you have it! Mystery solved. (Source: The Packer, 6/9/90).
How To Grow Roma Tomatoes
Growing Roma tomatoes from seed can be especially difficult and time consuming. If you are one of those people who just has to prove you can do it, be my guest! You’ll want to sow indoors in a green house or sunny window location for about 2 months; watering and fertilizing frequently. When the danger of frost has past, transplant outdoors.
I like things “easy”, so I plant the tomatoes from starts that I purchase from a local nursery. You’ll begin this process after the danger of frost.
Start by digging a hole in full sun that is large enough to cover the tomato plant up to its first set of leaves, remove the plant from the pot and transplant it to the hole. Fill in with nutrient rich soil; covering the first set of leaves. Why do you want to cover the first set of leaves? Trust me, this helps the plant grow a stronger root system.
Water the tomato plant deeply. Water every other day in mild climates and daily in hot climates.
Fertilize your tomatoes weekly and treat the plant with organic pesticide immediately before the first sign of pests.
Roma tomatoes are harvested when the fruit is firm and uniformly colored. They need consistent temperatures to ripen–around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is going to exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then pick the fruit early and bring them indoors to complete the ripening process by placing in a window. High heat prevents the tomatoes from developing a full color and the fruit’s firmness is also affected.
Cooler temperatures slow the ripening process and takes longer to develop color. If the temperature is going to dip below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, pick the fruit early and store them in a location with a temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit to help Roma’s develop full color.
Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee)
Genus: Lycopersicon (ly-koh-PER-see-kon)
Species: lycopersicum (ly-koh-PER-see-kum)
Height: 24-36 iches (60-90 cm)
Spacing: 15-18 inches (38-45 cm)
Sun: Full sun
Soil: well-drained, high in organic matter
Fruit Shape: Plum
Fruit Size: Medium (under one pound)
Seed Type: Open-pollinated
Growing Habit: Determinate
Days to Maturity: 69-80 days
Colors: Red or yellow
Sowing: Sow indoors two months before the last frost
Seed Collecting: If purchasing, choose seedlings that are VF resistant. Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds and ferment before storing
Danger: Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Disease: Resistant to Verticillium Wilt (V) and Fusarium Wilt (F)
Try These Roma Varieties:
Cherry Roma are among the most popular varieties
Rio Grande Roma