It isn't only their egg shape that makes Roma tomatoes different than standard tomatoes. But in spite of their differences, Roma tomatoes are every bit as delicious. With their subtle, mild flavor, Roma tomatoes are a solid, meaty tomato with less juice and fewer seeds than any other tomato. As a result, they're not only delicious for eating, but perfect for use in sauces, ketchup, tomato paste, and almost any Italian dish. As long as they have plenty of bright sunshine and water, Roma tomatoes are a cinch to grow in the home garden.
Soak several peat pellets in a bowl of water. When the peat pellets are hydrated, place them in a starter tray.
Use the tip of a knife or screwdriver to make a shallow hole in the top of each peat pellet, then plant a Roma tomato seed in each pellet, 1/4 to 1/2 inches deep. Push the peat pot back together over the seed.
Cover the starter tray with the plastic cover, and place the starter tray in a sunny window. The Roma tomato seeds should sprout in about 10 days. Leave the tray in the window for another week, then plant each Roma tomato seedling in a 4-inch pot filled with commercial potting soil. Plant the seedling deeply in the soil so the plant will develop a sturdy stem.
Return the Roma tomato seedlings to the sunny window. If the window doesn't provide at least eight to 12 hours of sunlight each day, supplement available light with a grow light.
Plant the Roma tomato seedlings outdoors when the daytime temperatures have warmed to at least 65 degrees F and nighttime temperatures won't fall below 55 degrees. Harden off the seedlings first so they'll be acclimated to the unfamiliar outdoor environment. Put the seedlings in a shady spot for three to four days, then move them into sunlight for a few hours each day for another three to four days. The Roma tomato seedlings will be ready to be planted in their permanent home.
Choose a spot where the Roma tomato plants will be in full sunshine all day. Remove any weeds and cultivate the soil to a depth of 10 to 12 inches, using a spade or a garden fork. Work 2 to 3 inches of compost into the top of the soil. If possible, work the soil two weeks before planting the Roma tomato seedlings.
Dig a hole for each Roma tomato seedling and plant the seedling up to its second set of leaves. Water the soil well and give the Roma tomato plants about an inch of water each week during the growing season.
Fertilize Roma tomatoes every other week, using tomato fertilizer applied according to the manufacturer's specifications. Don't fertilize more than the recommended amount, or you may end up with lush foliage and no tomatoes.
Things You Will Need
- Peat pellets
- Starter tray with plastic lid
- Knife or screwdriver
- Roma tomato seeds
- 4-inch pots
- Commercial potting soil
- Grow light (optional)
- Tomato fertilizer
- Spade or garden fork
- If you don't want to take the time to grow Roma tomatoes from seeds, you can purchase starter plants at a garden center. Look for compact, bushy plants with sturdy stems. Avoid tomato plants with wilted, yellow, or spotted leaves.