A roma tomato is a real treat for people who like this pulpy fruit cum vegetable. You can simply pop in small-sized, baby tomatoes between meals as low-calorie snacks. Bearing very less number of seeds, they are perfect for eating raw and preservation. What is more interesting with this tomato cultivar is its resistance to common tomato diseases. This increases the popularity of roma tomatoes amongst home gardeners and farmers all across the globe.
Roma Tomatoes Information
If you come across a tomato variety that is elongated, oval or egg-shaped with a pointed base, most likely it is a roma tomato. Available in yellow and different shades of red, this type of tomato contains less water and is more pulpy than others. Rather it has a firm and dense flesh with lesser seeds in it. All these attributes make roma tomatoes a favorite for adding in salads and pizza toppings. Mention any type of tomato recipe, and you can use these meaty tomatoes. They are excellent for canning, drying and using in sauces, paste and processed products.
With respect to the size, these plum tomatoes weigh much more than other tomato varieties. This may be because of their dense flesh, which is not likely for slicing tomatoes. A roma tomato measuring 2 - 3 inches, weighs about 2 - 4 ounces. While the smaller, sweet tasting, richly-flavored cherry roma tomatoes are eaten as snacks, there are larger and heavier hybrids of the true roma cultivar. As far as calories in these tomatoes are concerned, a medium size fruit weighing about 148 g yields 35 calories.
Tips for Growing Roma Tomatoes
The alternative name for this plum tomato is Italian plum. Most hybrids of roma tomatoes exhibit determinate growth habit, meaning they are bushier and shorter than the indeterminate varieties. Their height remains below 4 feet at maturity, and they produce fruit all at once during specific seasons of the year. These characteristics allow easy picking of fruits at one time, which is not so with the indeterminate tomato varieties.
Detailed info on how to grow roma tomato plants is highlighted below.
- The first step in growing roma tomatoes is to choose the variety, which is really confusing for a newbie. You will come across various hybrids, but select the one suited for your area. Also ensure that it is resistant to verticillium and fusarium wilt. You can choose the cultivar roma VF that signifies disease resistance.
- For starting from seeds, sow them in a seed tray with fertile potting mix. Keep the tray near a sunny window and water regularly. You can transplant the seedlings in outdoor garden after frosting is over. Or else, skip all these steps by purchasing healthy starts from a nursery and grow them directly.
- Select a planting site that receives full sunlight for some hours. If soil in the area lacks nutrients, consider supplementing it with slow release fertilizer in correct dose or farmyard compost. They perform well in organic rich soil with no drainage problems.
- Transplant the seedlings or plant the starts in already prepared garden beds. Dig planting holes that are deep enough to bury the first set of leaves. Place a seedling in each hole and refill soil. While doing so, take proper care and do not damage the fragile roots.
- Using a soaker hose, water the newly planted seedlings. In dry climates, you are expected to irrigate them daily until the plants get established properly. For other climatic conditions, watering tomato plants on alternate days is sufficient.
- When the tomato plants reach about 12 inches, it is time to stake them. Also, fertilize them with an organic tomato fertilizer or an all-purpose vegetable fertilizer at regular intervals. But, follow the recommended dose and do not overfeed them.
- Being resistant to common tomato plant diseases, roma tomatoes are very easy to care for. Provide rich moisture and bright sunlight to get high yield. Within 70 - 80 days of transplanting, they become mature and bear fruits.
- Harvest ripe fruits to enjoy true flavor of these plum tomatoes. Or else, you can collect mature yet unripe tomatoes and fallen ones for ripening. Keep them in warm temperature, preferably near a sunny window and they will turn red within 3 - 4 days.
When maintained properly, a single roma tomato plant produces somewhere about 50 to as much as 200 fruits. While storing these tomatoes, keep them in room temperature to increase their shelf life. Don't make the mistake of refrigerating them or any other tomatoes, as low temperature reduces their flavor and leads to quick rotting of these pulpy vegetables.