Prized for its use in tomato paste and sauces, Roma produces a large harvest of thick-walled, meaty, bright red, egg-shaped tomatoes about 3 inches long and with few seeds. This tomato is not juicy. This is not a slicing tomato. Instead, the flesh is thick and drier so that it will cook down into a thick sauce. Cooking intensifies flavour, too. If you can tomatoes, make your own spaghetti sauce, or like to chop a tomato into an omelet, this is a great choice. It’s not too juicy in the pan compared to slicing tomatoes. The fruit freezes well for later cooking, too.
The compact, determinate vines are resistant to verticillium wilt (V) and fusarium wilt (F) and widely adapted throughout the US.
- Light Full sun
- Fruit size 3 inches long
- Matures 73 to 80 days
- Plant spacing: 24 to 36 inches apart
- Plant size: 4 to 6 feet tall
- Plant type Determinate
Light requirements Full sun.
Planting Space 18 to 36 inches apart, depending on type. (Read the stick tag that comes with the plant for specific spacing recommendations.) Plant deeply, burying 2/3 of the stem.
Soil requirements Tomatoes need well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Amend soil with compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Soil pH should be 6.2 to 6.8.
Water requirements Keep soil consistently moist throughout the growing season. Moisture is critical to prevent cracked fruits and blossom end rot. Mulch soil to reduce water evaporation.
Frost-fighting plan Tomato is a warm-weather crop—even a light frost will damage plants (28º F to 32º F). Protect newly planted seedlings by covering plants with a frost blanket.
Common issues Pest-wise, watch out for tomato hornworms (big green caterpillars), slugs, pill bugs, rodents. In addition, humid weather invites fungal diseases like early blight and late blight. Plants may stop setting fruit when temperatures dip below 55˚ F or climb above 90˚ F. Blossom end rot can be a problem, as can misshapen fruit.
Harvesting In general, perfectly ripe tomatoes show deep color but still feel firm when gently squeezed. Look up your specific variety for more details. Tomatoes do continue to ripen after being picked. Gently grab and twist until the tomato pulls free from the stem, or use a pair of clippers. Cut stems close to fruits.
Storage Store picked tomatoes at room temperature indoors, or in a shady place outside. Never refrigerate tomatoes, because temperatures below 55° F cause flavor compounds to break down. Tomatoes will store longer if you allow stems and caps to remain in place until you’re ready to eat them. For peak flavor and nutrition, use within a week, although keeping time depends on how ripe fruit is when you pick it.