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Invasion of the Grape Tomato

2 March 2010 No Comment

Grape Tomato- The rising popularity

Once and a while a new vegetable or fruit becomes very popular, such was the case with the hybrid strain of the grape tomato. The original tomato plants produced a plum sized tomato and the only way to make the larger and rounder sizes we are used to today was to cross breed them, making them a hybrid. Tomatoes were also cross bred to make them smaller, such as the cherry tomato and then even smaller to make the popular grape size tomato. Cherry tomatoes when cut or bit into tended to spray water out of them; they also had thin skins making them a little difficult to work with. The demand for a smaller, meatier and sweeter tomato was what led to the development of the grape tomato.

The grape tomato did meet this demand because it was smaller, had less water in it and was much sweeter. It also had a thicker skin like a Roma tomato. It became so popular it was being used as a snack type food almost like peanuts. One of the first strains to make it to the United States was a strain from Taiwan and this variety was called the Santa F1. Hybrids can only be grown from seed and the seed from the tomato itself will not yield the same plant. It requires the original seed to produce the same tomato plant, creating a high demand for the seed.

The grape tomatoes grow in clusters similar to grapes and should be picked as a cluster. However if you pick them when they are green they will not ripen on their own, they need to ripen on the vine. They grow much the same as other tomatoes needing full sun and a rich soil. They should be planted 21/2- 3 feet apart. When watering it is best to deep water them to get down to the roots instead lightly watering everyday. Keeping the water off the leaves will also help prevent fungus from starting. Fertilizers rich inphosphorus and potassium should be used.

As they mature they will become quite top heavy and will need to be supported with some sort of support such as a cage. They mature in about 70 days and will not produce fruit when the temperatures are above 95 degrees or below 55 degrees. Blights and fungus can develop when there is high humidity. Grape tomatoes can grown in your garden and also do well in containers.

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