Tomato Rio Grande - McKenzie Seeds
Tomato Rio Grande
- Lycopersicon esculentum
- Meaty with great flavor
- 75 to 85 days to maturity after transplanting outdoors
- Determinate - while staking is not required, it is recommended to support these high yielding plants
- 7 to 14 days to seed germination
- A wonderful paste-type tomato that is great in sauces
Rio Grande tomatoes are very large, meaty, pear-shaped tomatoes that mature to a deep red. These tomatoes are perfect for making tomato paste, sauce, and juice. This vigorous variety is well adapted to extreme temperatures and VFF resistant. Due to the potential of heavy crops and to keep the fruit clean and easy to pick, it is recommended to support plants with stakes or cages.
400 milligrams / approximately 140-150 seeds
Tomatoes prefer a warm sunny and sheltered area of the garden. Deep, well drained soil is best. Tomatoes are an excellent selection for container gardening as well.
- Sow seeds 6 mm (1/4″) deep and 2.5 cm (1″) apart. Plants should be spaced 60-90 cm (24-36″) apart with rows spaced 90 cm (36″) apart.
- Seeds germinate in approximately 7-14 days.
Make sure plants do not dry out. Consistent moisture throughout the growing season will provide the best harvesting results and help reduce potential problems.
Regular fertilizing throughout the season helps plants obtain their maximum potential. Many gardeners find it easiest to add a small amount of all purpose fertilizer (20-20-20) at each watering once plant is established.
In regards to the growth habit of the tomato plant, there are 2 types – bush tomatoes and staking tomatoes. Garden size and the needs of each individual gardener must be considered when deciding whether to plant bush (determinate) or staking (indeterminate) varieties.
Determinate tomatoes, or “bush” tomatoes, are varieties that grow to a compact height (generally 3 – 4′). Determinate varieties stop growing when fruit sets on the top bud. All the tomatoes from the plant ripen at approximately the same time (usually over a period of 1- 2 weeks). They require a limited amount of staking for support and are well suited for container planting. Determinate tomato plants do not need to be pruned.
Companion planting: Asparagus, celery, carrot, parsley, marigold
Harvesting & Storage
- Harvest tomatoes from the plant once they are ripe.
- Extend harvesting through light frosts by covering if possible.
At the end of the season when plants must be picked of their remaining green tomatoes, place the green tomatoes in a cool dark location indoors to ripen (paper bags are good if you only have a few tomatoes or try a cardboard box lined with newspaper for larger quantities). Check regularly for ripened tomatoes and watch for any decay or rot which could spread to surrounding tomatoes.
Store tomatoes at room temperature for best flavor and if necessary to store longer, they can be refrigerated.
Small meaty tomatoes are ideal for drying. Plum or Roma tomatoes work very well but other varieties will work too – experiment to see what you like best!
- Prepare your tomatoes for drying by cutting smaller tomatoes like the cherry types or the smaller Italian varieties in half. Larger tomatoes will need to be cut into ½ inch slices.
- Drain your tomatoes slightly on paper towels.
- If you want you can sprinkle lightly with salt or other herbs to season them prior to drying for more flavors.
If you have a dehydrator, place the tomatoes on the racks of your dehydrator, leaving enough space between the pieces for the air to circulate. Drying tomatoes in your dehydrator may take from 8 to 16 hours, depending on the thickness of your slices. To oven dry, place tomatoes in single layers on wire racks or foil lined cookie sheets. Oven temperature should be between 140 and 150 degrees, or set temperature on warm and prop the door open slightly. Oven drying will take from 10 to 24 hours. Racks or cookie sheets may need to be rotated throughout the drying process.
When the tomatoes are dried they should be leathery but pliable, but non-sticky (raisin-like texture). Do not over dry.
To store your tomatoes, let them cool completely, and put in bags or glass jars with an airtight lid. They will keep this way for up to 6 months. If wanting longer storage, put them in the freezer.
To rehydrate your tomatoes if need be, soak them for 5 to 10 minutes in hot water, broth, or wine to cover.
To store your tomatoes in oil, you will first need to rehydrate your tomatoes slightly, just until plump but still chewy. Dip them in either wine or distilled vinegar and then pack them in a jar with olive oil and some herbs such as, thyme or oregano, and some sliced garlic. Allow this to sit at room temperature for 4 to 8 hours. Then place them in the refrigerator.
- Water evenly
- Do not crowd plants - keep well spaced
- Do not work around plants when they are wet to avoid spreading problems
- Rotate crops – do not plant in the same place more than one year (this include relatives of tomatoes – eggplants, peppers or potatoes)
- Whether you recognize it or not, if plants are affected with something do NOT compost them.