Bright yellow cherry with delicious flavour. Esternia produces slightly oval shaped 1.5" cherries in long clusters with a true bright yellow colour. An indeterminate vine that is vigorous and highly productive. Days to Maturity 60-65 from transplant. Resistance to TMV, V. Approx. 10 seeds/pkg. Please note: only available as conventional untreated seed for 2023 (Organic is not available).
Indeterminate plants are tall, require staking and produce tomatoes over a longer period of time. Instead of having one large harvest at once, they bear over a period of months. These are perfect for home gardeners who want their harvest spread out, or greenhouse growers that want tall plants to best use their space.
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Tomatoes are tender plants and are very susceptible to frost damage. Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Sow 2 - 3 seeds in 1x1 inch cells and thin to 1 plant after germination. Cover seed with 1⁄4 inches soil and provide a constant soil temperature of 21-26°C.
After plants develop 1-2 sets of true leaves, transplant into 3 or 4” pots. Use a water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks starting at half strength and increasing to full strength over 6 weeks. Seedlings benefit from waterings with Epsom salts, use 1 Tbsp of Epsom salts per gallon.
Provide lots of sunlight or artificial light. Without grow lights or sufficient light, seedlings will become tall and spindly. If you use a windowsill for your light source, be aware that it may get very hot on sunny days and very cold at night. Plants may dry out or get frost or heat damage. Turn containers frequently to allow plants to grow evenly. Protect plants from extreme temperature swings. Room temperature is fine.
Water when potting mix is dry to the touch. Feed regularly with any balanced water-soluble fertilizer. It is better to feed with a weak solution every time you water (constant feed), than with a strong solution every 2 weeks. You may also use a slow-release fertilizer especially for containers, such as SmartCote Hanging Basket Food. Organic alternatives would be Jolly Farmer Earthworm Castings. Removing 1 - 2 sets of leaves from each stem or “pinching” may help some varieties stay bushy and produce more flowers.
Gradually adjust your plants to outside conditions over a period of a week or two. First place them outside on a warm, calm day in the shade for a few hours. Work up to more sun, wind, and cooler temperatures and finally leave out overnight. Transplant outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. When transplanting, space 24-36” apart with rows at least 36-48” apart.
Full sun location, preferably with good air circulation. Soil pH of 6.0-6.5. Heavy feeders, prefer a warm, well-drained soil of good fertility and cultivation. Add plenty of compost and well-rotted manure prior to planting. Feed regularly during the growing season with a compost tea or well-balanced fertilizer. Avoid excessive nitrogen, particularly before fruit set. Provide even moisture during fruit set and development. Excessive watering can increase fruit size but decrease flavour.
Determinate Tomatoes grow in a shorter more compact formation and are rarely pruned except to improve air circulation if the plant is extremely dense. The fruit production will happen higher up on the plant and the branches at the base are the ones that have the greatest chance of getting wet and developing disease.
Indeterminate Tomatoes can be pruned. Pruning tomatoes removes unwanted growth and redistributes energy that would have been used for the unwanted growth in other areas of the plant like fruit production. Leaving indeterminate tomatoes unpruned is not detrimental to the plant’s health and growth. In fact, many gardeners do not prune their tomatoes and still get plentiful yields. By pruning, you are taking the next step in producing bigger and more flavorful tomatoes.
How to Prune Tomatoes
- Once your tomato starts producing its first flower cluster, you are ready to start pruning.
- The sucker located just below the first flower cluster will stay. This will become another stem that will produce leaves and fruit. All other suckers below the kept one are removed. You can remove suckers by pinching between your thumb nail and index finger or use precession pruners.
- Disinfecting your fingers or pruners between cuts will also help reduce the spread of disease and bacteria between plants. Hand sanitizer for your hands or 70% isopropyl alcohol for pruners works well.
- Once you see fruit starting to form, leave some suckers to protect the fruit from Sunscald (a sunburn on tomato fruit).
- Once fruit has ripened or has been picked, you can continue the pruning sucker process. Continue this process throughout the growing season.
What is a Tomato Sucker?
A tomato sucker is a shoot or stem that originates from an area of growth, in this instance the axil and roots. (Axil – the area between a leaf petiole and the main stem.)
Pick fruit when fruit is firm and turning red. Overripe tomatoes rot quickly.
Pests & Diseases:
Protect from cutworms by using protective collars around the plant stem or place cornmeal around plant base. Blossom end rot (a brownish-black, sunken dead area that forms on the bottom of the fruit) is a condition caused by a calcium deficiency due to uneven watering. Blight, another disease common to tomatoes is caused by warm, humid conditions particularly if plants have not been given some support to keep foliage off the ground. Use copper or sulfur sprays to help prevent blight. Good air circulation along with proper rotation will help to prevent onset of this harmful disease.
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