Tomato, Roma VF
HEIRLOOM. The classic sauce and paste tomato.
Days To Maturity
6-8 weeks BLF
Plant Shipping Information
How to Sow and Plant
- Sow tomato seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost in spring using a seed starting kit
- Sow seeds ¼ inch deep in seed-starting formula
- Keep the soil moist at 75 degrees F
- Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days
- As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
- Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
- If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 3 pairs of leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots
- Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.
Planting in the Garden:
- Select a location in full sun with good rich moist organic soil. Make sure you did not grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or potatoes in the bed the previous year to avoid disease problems.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
- Tomatoes should be set 30-48 inches apart in a row with the rows spaced 3-4 feet apart. It can be tempting to space tomatoes more closely at planting time, but if you plant too closely you will increase the chance of disease, and decrease yields.
- Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
- Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development.
- Tomatoes can be planted deeply, with the stem buried to the first set of leaves. The more deeply they are planted the more roots will form, providing the plant with additional support and better ability to take up nutrients. Some gardeners plant tomatoes by digging a horizontal trench and laying the plant in the trench with the top 2-4 inches of the plant pointing upward.
- Fill the planting hole with soil to the top and press soil down firmly with your hand leaving a slight depression around the plant to hold water.
- Use the plant tag as a location marker. This is particularly important if you are trying different varieties. It is very difficult to tell which variety is which from the foliage.
- Water thoroughly, so that a puddle forms in the saucer you have created. This settles the plants in, drives out air pockets and results in good root-to-soil contact.
- Place your plant support at this time. You can try tomato cages or staking. Unsupported plants will sprawl on the ground, require no pruning, and will probably produce a larger yield of smaller fruit than will staked plants. For larger, cleaner, more perfect fruits, support plants as they grow. Growing on stakes: Place strong stakes in the ground and set plants about 6 inches from the stakes. Growing in cages: Place a cage around a single plant; let the vines grow and enlarge within the cage, no pruning will be necessary
How to Grow
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
- Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. This is especially important for tomatoes as their roots may be easily damaged when weeding, and this can lead to blossom end rot.
- Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1-2 inches of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
- If growing on stakes: As the plants grow, allow only one or two main stems to grow and pinch out any other side shoots as they form. Gently tie the one or two remaining shoots to the stake; don't pull them tightly against the stake. If growing in cages, no pruning is necessary.
- Whether to remove the side shoots, or suckers, that grow out of the leaf axils or not depends on the support system used. Gardeners using stakes usually snap off these side shoots. They typically get earlier and larger tomatoes but overall production tends to be less. If tomatoes are grown in cages, the suckers are generally left on, although it's a good idea to pinch the tip out of them when they are 6-8 inches long. Regardless you may want to remove all the growth from the bottom 6-10 inches of the plant. This helps to improve air circulation and reduce the spread of diseases such as early blight. Wait until the plants are knee-high. In the morning when the plants have the most water in them, snap off the lower growth while it is small. Any plants that look sick with distorted foliage or have a mosaic pattern on the leaves should be removed as they may have a virus that can spread to the other plants. It is best to do this early in the season.
- Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
Harvesting and Preserving Tips
- Determinate tomato plants ripen a heavy crop over a few weeks. Indeterminate varieties bear fruit continuously till frost. Remember that the days to harvest refers to the time from setting out transplants in the garden.
- Pick tomatoes when they are as ripe as possible. They should be fully colored and firm and picked regularly to avoid overloading plants.
- At the end of the season, when you know there will be a frost, pick all the almost-ripe tomatoes you can, and ripen them in brown bags or spread on newspapers at room temperature. Many cultivars will store for months. Store only sound fruit, at 50-60°F. Do NOT refrigerate and try to avoid having the fruit touch each other.
- The foliage of tomatoes is toxic and should not be eaten.
- Tomato fruits are enjoyed in many cooked dishes as a flavoring. Use them to make soups, sauces, stews, ketchup, paste, juice, quiche, and pies. Add them to curries, casseroles, and chutney.
Days To Maturity76 daysFruit Weight2 ouncesSunFull SunSpread18 inchesHeight30-36 inchesSow MethodIndoor SowPlanting TimeSpringSow Time6-8 weeks BLFThin36 inchesLife CycleAnnual
Tomato, Roma VF is rated out of 5 by 15.Rated 5 out of 5 by cccc2 from whoa found a package of these on sale in late May- planted seeds May 31.... can you say 100% germination? plants look really healthy and have been blooming and setting fruit... no ripening yet, but I think they are beating their "76 days to harvest" predicted date... came here for some advice on fertilizing....just put them in organic top soil and do not want to jinx a good thing.Date published: 2015-07-25Rated 5 out of 5 by lucky7s from Excellent tomatoes! I have grown these gorgeous plants many years now. I found some seeds from 2002 and they all (14) came up. Burpee is the best. These plants are large and bushy. I grew them in the ground and container both.Date published: 2015-05-13Rated 5 out of 5 by Brutus from THE paste tomato of choice! We've grown these for years. Excellent producer on bushier plants. Good disease resistance and plants keep on pumping out the blossoms and new fruit. Taste is fantastic if you let them ripen fully on the vine. We've sliced them up to eat fresh, but most of them end up being canned. The skins slip off very easily - just blanch in boiling water for about 30 seconds, let cool and squeeze out the juicy goodness - couldn't be easier. The fruit never cracks. Highly recommended if you want to can or make your own sauce/paste/ketchup/etc...Date published: 2014-07-13Rated 5 out of 5 by MinniDavid from OMG! What did I get myself into? This my first year growing tomatoes after many years of just maintaining an herb garden. I purchased these seeds because someone told me Romas are an easy to grow tomato. UNDERSTATEMENT!!! This site claims 36" in height and an 18" spread. It's now July 15th and mine are a full 48 inches tall and three feet in diameter! This is in Minnesota. This is in 2013, a year with a very cold and snowy spring! I started them indoors on the last week of February and did not get them into the ground until the first week of May. When transplanted, they were a mere foot tall. I only spaced them 24" apart, and now I'm dealing with crowding of vines. I have already counted just over a dozen young fruit, and too many flowers to count. I have a very strong feeling I will run out of Mason jars. Thankfully my Brother said he knows where to stop on his way to work to grab tomatoes for lunch! Best investment, (one packet), I have ever made!Date published: 2013-07-16Rated 3 out of 5 by gardenjoe from High quantity of tomatos but tiny/ high yield but most fruits much smaller than 2 ozDate published: 2012-08-19Rated 4 out of 5 by katland from great yield This variety has a great yield, higher than any of the other Burpee varieties I planted this year.Date published: 2011-08-09Rated 5 out of 5 by OrganicMan from Versatile, Flavorful, Excellent Tomato!! I made sauce, I made paste, I made salsa, I diced them and made brushetta!---Yes, these are the meaty romas that your grandparents grew in their gardens!--Wonderful flavor, hearty grower, more tomatoes than you will ever find uses for in a yeilding season! I had so many and did so much with them that I wound up giving them away to extended family, freinds and neighbors. I have to grow these every 2 or 3 yrs after I use up all the things I make with them. They will not disappoint!Date published: 2009-05-18Rated 5 out of 5 by GardenGirl88 from Very Big Romas This Year I couldn't believe the size of my Romas in '08. I let them 'free range' all over the ground this year, and although they spread themselves all over the place, I had fruits that weighed more than 6 ounces and were huge for a Roma. I made tons of picante sauce and even more tomato sauce from just the 5 plants I had. Even my mom couldn't believe how big they were. She grew them for years on our farm down by Minneapolis and hers never came close to mine in size. These are always welcome in my garden.Date published: 2009-01-24