Roma tomato plant care

Written by shawna kennedy
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Roma tomato plant care
Roma tomatoes are oval and excellent in sauces. (tomatoes image by andresj from Fotolia.com)

Roma tomatoes are plum-shaped, or oval, tomatoes. The flesh of the Roma tomato is dense without a lot of juice. According to Roma Tomato, these tomatoes are commonly used in making tomato paste, but the newer varieties of the Roma tomato, such as Roma Napoli and Rio Grande Roma, are sweet enough to eat fresh. The plants of the Roma tomato are easy to grow, usually shorter and bushier than other varieties of tomato, and they mature about 80 days after planting.

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Planting

Plant your tomato plants after all danger of frost is past and the soil has warmed. Tomatoes require well-drained, fertile soil. According to the University of Illinois, spread a thick layer of mulch around your tomato plant but at least 3 inches away from the tomato plant's stem to avoid rot. The mulch will prevent weed growth and retain the moisture in the soil as well as regulate soil temperature. Choose a location where your tomatoes will receive 6 hours of sun a day. Tomatoes benefit from protection from the hot afternoon sun in warmer climates.

Water

Tomatoes plants need a lot of water, especially during hot weather. Always water your tomato after fertilising and when the top 2 inches of soil are dry. Do not get water on the leaves of your plant to avoid the growth of fungus.

Pollination

Although Roma tomatoes are considered self-pollinating, if you're experiencing blossom drop, it could be that conditions are not ideal for self-pollination. Take an electric toothbrush and gently touch the lip of a tomato flower petal, vibrating the flower. Repeat until each flower has been vibrated. This will release the pollen in the air and assure a good harvest.

Fertiliser

According to the University of Illinois, apply fertiliser as soon as you place your tomato plant in the garden. When the tomatoes have reached the size of a golf ball, apply 1 tbsp of nitrogen to the soil for each plant. Do not get the fertiliser on the leaves as this will burn them. Repeat this application every 3 weeks until tomatoes are harvested.

Support

Even though Roma tomatoes tend to be bushier than other varieties, they benefit from a trellis or a tomato cage which will allow the vine to grow up away from the ground, away from harmful pests, and make harvesting easier.

Pests

Tomatoes are subject to several insect pests such as the tomato hornworm. These worms are about 3 inches long and green with stripes. A tomato hornworm can quickly defoliate your tomato plant. Hand pick and dispose of these pests. Blossom drop is another frequent problem with tomatoes; this could indicate that your tomatoes flowers are not being pollinated; however, blossoms will also drop off in hot weather or extreme fluctuations in soil temperature. A thick layer of mulch and protection from the hot afternoon sun will help with both these problems.

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