Also called Momotaro, Japanese tomatoes are popular in the market for their rich, tangy flavor, almost perfectly round shape, and tolerance to heat and disease. They are usually eaten raw or tossed in salads because their rich flavor does not need further seasoning, but make delicious soups or paste when cooked. Plant it in your vegetable garden this spring, and harvest mature fruit in between 70 and 78 days.
Momotaro tomato (Lycopersicon lycopersicum) was developed by the Japanese Takii Seed Company. This hardy tomato variety withstands high temperature and is disease and crack resistant, which is why it is known as "Tough Boy," named in honor of a heroic Japanese folk character. It is one of the most widely consumed tomatoes in Japan.
Momotaro plant is grown by seeds that are more expensive than most other varieties. It is an intermediate (bushy type growth with fruit that ripen at the same time), hybrid variety that produces clusters bearing six to seven fruits in each. This annual plant features medium-sized green leaves and short internodes (spacing between two nodes). It naturally resists diseases such as Verticillium Wilt, Stemphylium, Fusarium Wilt and Root Nematodes. The plant has 10 varieties, with the larger ones growing between six and eight feet in height, thus requiring staking. The fruits last for a while on the plant without ripening too much, thus prolonging the harvest period and allowing gardeners to pluck as many as they need.
Plant Tough Boy tomato plants in spring, after the danger of frost has passed. Amend soil with shovelfuls of compost and spread a 5-10-5 fertilizer prior to planting to enhance nutrient content. Grow Tough Boy tomato seedlings in rows over well-drained soil that receives six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily and has a pH between 6.3 to 6.8. Space rows 3 to 4 feet apart, and tomato plants 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart.
Japanese tomatoes are oblate in shape, and feature a tough, thick skin that resists cracks. The fruit is rose-pink and medium in size, with fleshy meat, few seeds, and an intense flavor that is a combination of acids and sugars. The high-quality Tough Boy tomato is less acidic than others. Each mature tomato weighs around 220 grams.
Considered specialty produce, Momotaro tomatoes and plants are difficult to find unless you know where to look. Grow seeds in your garden and reap the benefit of this plant that bears prolific fruit over a long period.
The durable, heat-resistant Mometaro plant grows well with herbs such as celery, oregano and parsley, and flowers such as petunias, geraniums, marigold and nasturtium. Avoid planting near dill, rosemary, cabbage, potatoes, peas, fennel, corn, beetroot and black walnut trees.