How to Grow Roma Tomatoes for a Fall Harvest

By: Dan Hagan - Managing Editor

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Gardening in Zone 9 often times will allow for 2 separate growing seasons of the same crop, one is the spring/early summer and one in the fall/early winter.  Roma Tomatoes are one of those crops.  Here is how to grow Roma Tomatoes for a fall harvest:

Sowing Roma Tomato Seeds

  1. Sow Roma Tomato seeds indoors between May and June
  2. Once germinated keep in a well lit area and keep the soil moist
  3. Lightly fertilize seedlings once every 2 weeks using an organic liquid fertilizer
  4. Optional: Turn a fan on the seedlings for a few hours a day to help strengthen the stalks
Roma Tomato

Roma Tomato

Transplanting Roma Tomato Seedlings

  1. As soon as  the hottest days of summer have passed, usually end of august or early September,  harden off the seedlings for transplant (place them out doors in direct sun for a few hours each day for a week, increasing time out doors by 1 hour each day)
  2. Transplant the seedlings to the garden or out door container
  3. Bury the plant bellow its first 2 sets of leaves to ensure vigorous root growth
  4. Water in the plants well after transplantation to help reduce transplant shock

Roma Tomato Care

  1. Once the new transplants are established (starting to grow new leaves again) fertilize with a high quality Tomato fertilizer (or any low nitrogen general fertilizer) with an NPK ratio intended for Tomato plants.
  2. Continue to fertilize every 2-3 weeks as needed
  3. Ensure the soil stays moist but not soggy
  4. If there is ever a threat of frost protect the plants using cloth or other warming methods

Harvesting Roma Tomatoes

  1. Roma Tomatoes are a Determinate variety (meaning plants only get a certain size and stop growing once they set fruit)
  2. Harvest tomatoes as soon as they turn bright red
  3. Harvesting early will encourage the plant to set more fruit

Tips

  1. Roma Tomatoes are a bush type plant, but still benefit from staking for support
  2. After the plant is established, prune the lower 3 branches to help prevent issues caused by soil splash back
  3. To help increase production, prune suckers (extra branches grown at the fork of existing branches) once the plant has reached sufficient size to produce