About Big Mama Tomato Growing

Overview

It may take two hands to hold a Big Mama tomato, but that's okay, since it is full of flavor and has very few seeds. Growing tomatoes is very common among home gardeners who desire the sweet, fresh-picked taste of a tomato straight off the vine. With a Big Mama tomato, however, one tomato may take the place of two or three.

Identification

In form, the Big Mama tomato resembles the Roma tomato, but in size it is comparable to a beefsteak tomato. Big Mama tomatoes are hybrids, classified as Lycopersicon esculentum. This is synonymous with Solanum esculentum, according to Purdue University, and both scientific names denote several other types of tomatoes. They belong to the Solanaceae (nightshade or tomato) family.

Planting

Big Mama tomatoes will require nutrient-rich, slightly acidic soil to support the growth of these large tomatoes. After enriching the soil with compost and fertilizer, space the rows 4 feet apart and then space the plants in each row 2 to 3 feet apart to give each plant enough room for adequate root and vine growth. According to Burpee Home Gardens, Big Mama tomatoes need full sun exposure for at least six hours each day.

Growing

It will take approximately 80 days for the Big Mama tomato plant to have ripe fruit, which may be as large as 5 inches long. After planting, the tomato plant will require regular watering, about two to three times a week, but be careful to not overwater the plant and damage its roots. Once it grows more than 6 inches tall, the plant will need a tomato cage or stakes to support its growth as it grows taller and begins to bear its heavy fruit.

Diseases and Pests

According to Ball Horticultural Company, Big Mama tomatoes are susceptible to tomato spotted wilt virus, pythium, botrytis and rhizoctonia. Streaking, ring spots, stunting and wilting are some of the symptoms caused by the virus. The affected plants must be removed and destroyed. Insects that can cause damage to Big Mama tomatoes include thrips, whiteflies and aphids, which can be controlled with a pesticide specified for tomatoes.

Recommendations

Water Big Mama tomato plants in the early part of the day to allow the plant ample time to dry before the evening. Apply mulch around the base of the plant to help the soil retain its moisture. When the fruit form on the plant, apply fertilizer to support its fruit development. Allow the tomatoes time to ripen on the vine, as vine-ripened tomatoes are more flavorful than those picked while still green.

Uses

Use Big Mama tomatoes raw in salads and salsas, or use them to make sauces and tomato paste. Cook them on the grill or add them to a vegetable stew. Store these tomatoes for future use by freeze-drying or canning them. Preserved Big Mama tomatoes can be added to soups, sauces and dishes any time of the year.

Keywords: big mama tomatoes, big mama, large tomato hybrids

About this Author

Naima Manal's articles on health, diet, nutrition, alternative medicine, education, parenting, crafts, travel, home and garden and home improvement have appeared on eHow, Garden Guides, Trails, ConnectED, Helium and others. Manal received her B.S. degree in biology/pre-medical studies from Molloy College in 1994 and has been a freelance writer, teacher and homeschooling mom since 1993.