Growing Roma Tomatoes:
There are many tasty varieties of tomatoes at your local gardening center. But of all the choices, Roma's are perhaps the most versatile. Roma's are sweet, dense and can be used to make sauces and pastes.
This type of tomato grows best in rich soil and has a short germination date of only 65 days.
The Roma variety requires full sun and plenty of drainage.
The following are some tips for growing Roma tomatoes via raised bed gardening.
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To select the perfect site, ensure the area has full sun (at least six hours per day.) A slightly sloping area would be ideal. The soil warms up faster in the spring months on a sloping hill. Tomatoes require good drainage so make sure the raised bed is at least a few inches off the ground.
The more organic material you incorporate in the soil, the better the drainage. The best organic materials would be lawn clippings and mulched leaves and branches.
The richness of the soil also depends on the amount of organic matter you add to your soil.
For richer soil, add manure or household compost. Roma Tomatoes, if mulch and compost is added to the soil, will not require any fertilization to produce a bountiful crop.
A natural barrier between the soil and the plant can be used to deter pests. A good barrier would be old newspapers. Just spread them out flat using stones to weigh the corners.
This will deter ground pests from burrowing up through the soil and laying their eggs on your young tomato plants.
To be of the best quality, tomatoes should be supplied 1 to 2 inches of water a week. If you live in a drier climate, you may want to install a drip irrigation system.
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Kits for this are available in most garden centers. In the absence of rain, most gardens need watering every couple of days during the hottest days. Roma's do not require as much water as a beefsteak or stuffing tomato as they are much denser and fleshier, thus not holding as much water on the inside.
Roma plants ripen all their fruit at once and stop growing, therefore they do not require as much support as a larger tomato plant. However, you may find your fruit are too heavy and the plant bowing. In this instance, a good choice for support is a cage made from wire fencing.
For Roma's, the cages would need to be 18 inches in diameter by 3 feet high. Use stakes on the sides to help support the cage. After the plant has trained itself up the cage, the fruits should start to appear through the holes in the mesh, making picking easier.
By late spring or early summer, your Roma's should be red and ripe, ready to pick. The possibilities are endless with what you can use them for. You can boil your Roma's down to make pastes or simmer for sauces. The thin flesh of this variety of tomato makes them ideal for peeling and making salsas or chutney.
They also preserve well in canning because the flesh is dense and firm, they do not get soggy when pressure canned. There have even been instances when Roma gardeners have made their own seafood cocktail sauce!
Follow these tips to Roma gardening and you can enjoy a sweet harvest of these juicy little fruits without chemicals or pesticides!