Roma tomatoes are the traditional paste tomatoes. With their dense and meaty flesh, low moisture content, and few seeds, the roma tomato is ideal for processing into sauces and pastes. Roma tomatoes have a cylindrical or plum shape, and feel heavy for their size. Their colors range from pink to orange to deep red. Veeroma, La Roma, and Sam Marzano are among the many popular Roma varieties.
New varieties of Roma are both flavorful for eating and meaty for cooking. These include Roma Napoli, Martino’s Roma, and Rio Grande Roma. Cherry Romas are small and sweet, perfect for snacking.
Growing Roma Tomatoes
You can start Roma tomatoes from seeds indoor two months before the last frost date for your area. Or, you can purchase seedlings (also called starts) from a local nursery or garden center and transplant them after the danger of frost has past.
Romas need the same conditions as other tomatoes—well-drained soil high in organic matter, full sun, and plenty of water. Plant them about 14 to 20 inches apart. They’ll be ready to harvest in about 75 to 80 days. Because Romas are determinate plants all the fruits of the tomato plants ripen at about the same time, which is a big advantage if you’re making sauce. That’s why they make a great paste tomato.
But if you just want to eat the fruit, the Roma tomato is very tasty eaten raw. The fruit itself is typically about three inches long, and not quite as round as other varieties you might have grown.
Learn more details about how to grow tomatoes.
Harvesting Roma Tomatoes
Harvest your Roma tomatoes when the fruit is firm and evenly colored. If the temperature reaches 90 degrees F it’s best to pick the fruit when it’s just started to color to ripen indoors at about 70 degrees F. Tomatoes won’t survive a frost, so if frost is predicted bring in the unripe fruits and ripen them in paper bags at 60 degrees or so.
Roma Tomato Pests and Diseases
If you see a water-soaked area near the blossom end (bottom) of the fruit, your tomato may have blossom end rot, which is basically a calcium deficiency. To help avoid blossom end rot with the Roma tomato (and many other varieties of tomato plants too), don’t plant your tomatoes until the soil has warmed up and keep the soil evenly moist.
Tomato hornworms are big green caterpillars that camouflage themselves along the stems of tomato plants. The best thing to do is to pick them off the plant—if you can find them!
To maximize fruit productivity and minimize insect and disease problems of this paste tomato select varieties that grow well in your area. Local nurseries and Cooperative Extension can give you that information and help you identify plant problems. You can find your local extension office from this web site: http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/.
What’s the difference between roma tomatoes and regular tomatoes?
Roma tomatoes are just a variety of tomato. There are many types of tomato plants! Roma tomatoes are best known as paste tomatoes. That means they are great for making tomato paste, and used in many well known Italian recipes. But you can eat them as regular tomatoes too, and they’re still delicious.
Are roma tomatoes bush or vine?
Roma tomatoes are bush tomatoes. They are determinate. Here’s a more detailed explanation of the difference between bush / determinate tomatoes and vine / indeterminate tomatoes. Bush (or determinate) means that all the tomatoes will ripen at about the same time, rather than continually through the season.
Should you prune roma tomatoes?
Since roma tomatoes are a bush variety, they do not need to be pruned.
How tall do roma tomatoes grow?
Roma tomatoes are a bush (determinate) type of tomato plant, which does not grow as big as a vine (indeterminate) type of tomato plant can grow. A roma tomato plant will probably only grow as high as 3 feet, or 36 inches.
Why are they called Roma tomatoes?
You sort of imagine when you grow and enjoy these plants that they are an old heirloom tomato that came over from some village in Italy. But the truth is that the Roma tomato variety was developed as crossbred hybrid tomato plant back in 1955. It was bred to be resistant to the diseases of Verticillium wilt and Fusarium wilt. In fact, the very first USDA cultivar, which is still commonly sold, is named Roma VF for that reason. (But don’t tell this your Italian grandmother….)
Want to know more about How to Grow Roma Tomatoes?
Find out more about growing Roma tomatoes and what to do with your bountiful crop from these informative websites.