Tips for Growing White Tomato Plants
White tomatoes have a subdued sweet flavor low in acid, so it doesn’t have that tomato tang. Use the white tomatoes as you would red. A salad of white, black and orange cherry tomatoes is attention-getting. Slice the tomatoes and use on a white pizza with cooked chicken, shredded basil leaves and Parmesan cheese. White tomatoes require the same conditions as any other tomato: lots of sun, rich soil and consistent watering.
Choose a variety of white tomato that grows well in your area. Consider your hardiness zone and how long your warm summer weather lasts. Don't just look at the last day of frost in the spring and first frost in the fall. The temperatures have to be above 60 degrees F at night and between 75 to 85 degrees F during the day for tomatoes to do well. Consider 'White Queen,' a medium-size beefsteak reaching about 1/2 lb. 'White Wax' tomato looks like it's been dipped in wax with its glossy skin. 'Blanche' white tomatoes weigh between 4 and 6 oz. and 'Coyote' tomato is a cherry size tomato.
Start the tomatoes off by adding 1/4 cup of lime to the planting hole. Lime helps prevent blossom end rot which white tomatoes are said to be prone to. Add an additional 1 cup of lime every month and work it into the soil well.
Cage and Net
Cage the tomatoes to keep the white tomatoes off the ground. White shows any imperfection, bruise or discoloration more than red tomatoes. Because the tomatoes stay white when ripe, birds may not be a problem. Birds seem to be attracted to ripening red fruit. If you want to stay on the safe side, throw bird netting over the cages. If you don't see any birds or holes in the tomatoes, don't use it next year.
Test for Ripeness
Pick the tomatoes when ripe. Because you can't tell when white tomatoes are ripe by a dramatic change in their color, like you can red tomatoes, use a taste test. Some white tomatoes turn an ivory color when ripe, others stay white, and still others blush pink. Taste and note when the tomatoes have that sweet tomato taste and what shade of white they are. You'll know when to pick the rest of the tomatoes.
Save the seeds from a few of this year's crop to plant next year. Unusual tomato seeds are more expensive than the common ones. If the tomatoes are a hybrid, you won't get a plant that is true to the parent but you may not know that until you plant.
- "Burpee Complete Gardener"; Allan Armitage et al; 1995