Lycopersicon lycopersicum: The first ripe, juicy tomato of summer is a delicious milestone of the season for gardeners. Each year we test and evaluate more than 250 tomato varieties to bring you the most flavorful, best performing selections, for every desired use. An array of nutrients and antioxidants including the especially potent lycopene, found in its highest concentration in tomatoes, supports healthy eyesight, cardiovascular health, cancer-fighting capacity, and more..
Our Indigo series is creating a new class in tomatoes, and changing the face of the tomato world. Not only are they extraordinarily colorful and tasty; they are extra nutritious. Developed with traditional breeding techniques, the fruit of these unusual varieties contain high levels of anthocyanin, a naturally occurring antioxidant found in blueberries, and reported to combat disease. Anthocyanin reveals itself in the vibrant indigo pigmentation of the fruits. Each of these varieties has unique characteristics, and all are stunningly beautiful. For the best flavor and texture, harvest when the color have deepened and the fruit is soft to the touch.
CULTURE: Sow seeds indoors into sterile seedling mix 6-8 weeks before your last spring frost. Plant, water lightly, and cover with plastic or a Propagation Dome to keep the seeds from drying out. When the first set of true leaves has emerged, up-pot into 3-4 inch pots and place in an area with full light and cooler temperatures (60-70°F). This will help prevent legginess. Water carefully, allowing the soil to dry on the surface between watering, but don't let the plants wilt. Fertilize with fish emulsion every 10-14 days. Seven to ten days before you want to transplant outside, set the plants in a sheltered area outdoors to harden off. Bring in or cover at night to protect from frost. After the danger of frost has passed, transplant into well worked garden soil. Blend 1/4 cup of our complete fertilizer into the soil around each plant. If you have acid soils or have been bothered by blossom end rot, a handful of bone meal should also be added. Space determinate varieties 18-24 inches apart and indeterminate varieties 20-30 inches apart. Allow 3-4 feet between rows. If your plants have become leggy, plant them deeper; the stems will actually sprout roots. Water very lightly at first, allowing the stems to adapt.. To promote early growth and better yields use season extending products such as Wallo' Waters, Kozy Coats, Victorian Bell Cloches, or Red Plastic Mulch.
DETERMINATE/INDETERMINATE: Determinate varieties spread laterally and therefore do not require staking. Determinate varieties ripen at once so are a good choice for gardeners who love to can. Indeterminate varieties grow vertically until the bitter end and need to be staked or trellised for best production. They produce fruit until frost, leaving you some green tomatoes at the end of the season.
INSECTS/PESTS: Use Pyrethrin or crop row covers to discourage flea beetles early in the season, when they can be most destructive. Tomato hornworms can be controlled with Bacillus thuringienses (a bacteria also known as BT) sold as Thuricide (ZIN483 or ZIN485).
DISEASES: Natural genetic plant resistance is the best form of disease control. For diseases like early and late blight, a strict 3 year rotation and a sanitation program that includes destroying all the vines at the end of the year are your best defenses. Contact your local county extension agent for more information.
SEED SPECS: Minimum germination standard: 80%. Usual seed life: 3 years. Days to maturity are calculated from date of transplanting; add 30-35 days if direct seeding.
- Soil type
- Full sun
- Moist but well-drained
- Needs protection