Mad About Berries

How to Grow Roma Tomatoes

Roma tomatoes are variety of plum tomato. They are egg or pear-shaped, red tomatoes, although there are also golden Roma tomato varieties.

Roma tomatoes are open-pollinated tomatoes, but generally not considered to be heirloom tomatoes.

roma-tomatoes-1Roma Tomato Plant Size

Depending on the sub-variety, they grow 3-4 feet (0.90 - 1.20 m) tall and produce large crops.

Being a determinate tomato, Romas grow only to a specific size, they flower, set fruits and they stop to grow in height or width - Romas are more compact plants than San Marzanos and they are better suited for growing in containers and flower pots in gardens and indoors.

Regardless if they are grown in the containers or not, Roma tomatoes have same requirements like all other tomatoes.


Soil Preparation

Soil should be well aerated, with good drainage, rich in organic matter and nutrients, slightly acidic (pH around 6.0 - 6.5) to almost neutral. If you have heavy soil, growing plants in raised beds and containers is recommended, until soil is improved by adding sand and organic matter (compost, humus, aged or/and dried manure).

When growing tomatoes in containers, fill them with good potting soil, mixed with some sand (but not much!), aged manure and balanced NPK fertilizers with micro-elements. When tomato plants are transplanted, add support right away while plants are small and roots are not fully developed, since adding poles or tomato cage at later stage, can damage the roots.

During growing period, soil should be moist, just be aware that tomatoes don't like soggy soil ('wet feet'), so if you are growing them in containers, be sure to have enough drainage holes. When watering, water often, with stale water, but avoid watering with too much water. Adding hydroton pebbles can improve water retention capabilities of the soil.

Note that Romas require some 70-75 days to grow fully ripe fruits and few more weeks to fully ripe all the fruits - one needs really good soil, rich in nutrients to support vigorous growth of the plant before setting first fruits and growth of numerous tomato fruits.

roma-tomatoes-3Roma tomatoes prefer plenty of sun, but they don't like strong winds and sudden changes in temperatures - grow them is southern positions, well protected from frost and strong winds.

Caring for Romas is relatively easy - be sure that the soil is moist and rich in nutrients, that they have plenty of sun and that they are protected from winds. Also, choosing more resistant 'Roma VF' varieties is highly recommended - VF stands for 'Verticillium and Fusarium wilt' resistant variety.

If diseases do happen, remember that Romas have relatively short vegetation period and use chemicals according to the instructions. Sometimes it is better to throw away problematic plant(s) than to use chemicals.

'Baby Roma Tomatoes' are smaller plum Roma tomato varieties which are about the size of cherry tomatoes. They can be grown in pots easily, or anywhere in the garden where growing space is limited.

'Windowbox Roma Tomatoes' are even smaller plants than 'Baby Romas' and are suitable for growing on the windowsills or hanging baskets.

Because of their slender and firm nature, Romas are often used for canning and for making various tomato sauces. They are also often used for salads, especially with other tomatoes (cherry tomatoes, golden tomatoes etc.), cucumbers, green onions, peppers and similar.

Good Luck! :)

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