The Jersey tomato, also called Rutgers tomato, is a variety developed in 1934 at Rutgers University. Campbell's Soup Company worked with the university to create a plant that produced a large, appealing fruit for processing. Jersey tomato plants grow well in the home garden as they mature in 75 days and produce a large abundance of fruit with good flavor. Plant Jersey tomatoes once the soil reaches a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit and frost is no longer a danger.
Prepare a garden bed that receives a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight each day and a well-draining soil for the Jersey tomato plant. Test the soil for pH since tomato plants grow best in a slightly acidic pH of 6.2 to 6.5.
Work composted manure into the soil with a tiller at a rate of 1 pound for each 1 square foot of garden space. At the same time, add ground rock sulfur to the soil to lower the soil pH if needed. Let the soil rest for two weeks before planting tomatoes.
Plant Jersey tomatoes in holes that are approximately 2 inches deeper than the root ball and spaced 15 inches apart. Set the Jersey tomato plant into the hole so the bottom set of leaves is just above ground level. Fill the hole with soil and gently tamp to hold in place.
Apply a 10-20-10 high phosphorous fertilizer to the soil area around the Jersey tomato plant once it grows to one-third the mature size. Do not allow the fertilizer to make contact with the stem of the tomato plant. Water the soil well to assist with absorption.
Apply a 1- to 2-inch layer of grass-clipping mulch around the tomato plant stems. Mulch will limit weed growth that prevents air circulation and depletes the soil of moisture.
Water the Jersey tomato plant at the soil level to keep it moist through the hot summer months. Provide 1 to 2 inches of supplemental water when the weekly rainfall is less than 1 inch. Apply additional water when needed during periods of drought.
Provide support to the Jersey tomato plant to prevent the fruit-producing branches from touching the ground or breaking. Place the cage over the plant early in the season and work the branches through the structure as it grows.