Grow Flavourful Early Latah Tomatoes for an Extended Harvest
Introduction to Early Latah Tomatoes
Early Latah tomatoes are a prized heirloom variety known for their exceptional taste and early maturity. In addition, this cold-tolerant plant is ideal for gardeners in cooler climates or those looking to extend their growing season. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover all aspects of planting, growing, harvesting, and storing Early Latah tomatoes to ensure a successful and bountiful harvest.
|Days to Grow||50-60 days (after transplanting)|
|Square Foot Garden Spacing||1 plant per square foot|
|When to Plant||6-8 weeks before last frost date|
|Yield||10-20 lbs per plant (varies)|
|Hours of Light Needed||6-8 hours of direct sunlight|
|Soil Conditions||Loamy/sandy, pH 6.2-6.8, well-drained soil|
Choosing the Ideal Location for Early Latah Tomatoes
Selecting the Perfect Spot
Early Latah tomatoes require full sun, with at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Choose a well-draining location in your garden, preferably with loamy or sandy soil with a pH between 6.2 and 6.8. Select a spot that has not grown tomatoes, potatoes, or peppers in the last 2-3 years to minimize the risk of soil-borne diseases.
Preparing the Soil for Planting
Before planting, enrich the soil with plenty of organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure. This will improve soil structure, boost nutrient content, and enhance water retention. Next, add a slow-release fertilizer rich in phosphorus and potassium to promote strong root development and fruit production.
Planting Early Latah Tomatoes
Starting Seeds Indoors
To get a head start on the growing season:
- Sow Early Latah tomato seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last expected frost date.
- Plant seeds 1/4 inch deep in seed trays or small pots filled with seed-starting mix.
- Keep the soil consistently moist and maintain a temperature of 70-75°F (21-24°C) for optimal germination.
Once the seedlings have developed their second set of true leaves and nighttime temperatures consistently stay above 50°F (10°C), they are ready for transplanting. Harden off the seedlings by gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions over 7-10 days. Plant the seedlings 2-3 feet apart in rows 3-4 feet apart, burying them up to their first set of leaves to encourage strong root growth.
For more detailed information on planting/transplanting tomatoes, visit our << tomato page Located here >>
Caring for Early Latah Tomato Plants
Watering and Fertilizing
Early Latah tomatoes require consistent, deep watering to prevent blossom end rot and cracking. Water the plants at the base, providing 1-2 inches of water per week. Avoid wetting the foliage to minimize the risk of fungal diseases. Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer every 4-6 weeks throughout the growing season.
Staking and Pruning
Stake or cage Early Latah tomato plants to provide support and prevent the fruit from touching the ground. Prune the plants by removing any suckers that develop in the crotch between the main stem and branches. This will encourage air circulation and prevent diseases.
Pest and Disease Management
Monitor your Early Latah tomatoes for common pests such as aphids, whiteflies, and hornworms. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control these pests. Practice crop rotation and remove any infected plant debris to minimize the risk of diseases such as blight, wilt, and mosaic virus.
Harvesting Early Latah Tomatoes
When to Harvest
Early Latah tomatoes typically mature in 50-60 days after transplanting. Harvest the tomatoes when they are uniformly red and firm to the touch. Use a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears to remove the fruit from the vine, leaving a small portion of the stem attached to prevent bruising.
Storing Early Latah Tomatoes
For short-term storage, keep your freshly harvested Early Latah tomatoes at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. Do not refrigerate, as this can affect the texture and flavour. Under these conditions, the tomatoes should last for approximately one week.
For long-term storage, consider preserving your Early Latah tomatoes through canning, freezing, or dehydrating.
Canning: Use a water bath canning method to preserve whole, halved, or diced tomatoes in a liquid of your choice, such as water or tomato juice. Follow a tested recipe and proper canning guidelines to ensure a safe and shelf-stable product.
- Wash and dry the tomatoes before cutting them into your desired size. (Or leave them whole. When you need some, just rinse under hot water, and the skin will peel right off.)
- Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, ensuring they don’t touch each other.
- Freeze until solid, then transfer the frozen tomatoes to airtight containers or freezer bags.
Frozen tomatoes can be used in cooked dishes, such as sauces and stews, for up to one year.
- Slice the tomatoes and arrange them on dehydrator trays, leaving space for air circulation.
- Dehydrate at 135°F (57°C) for 6-12 hours or until the tomatoes are leathery and pliable.
- Store the dried tomatoes in airtight containers, preferably in a cool, dark place.
Dehydrated tomatoes can be rehydrated and used in various recipes or enjoyed as a tasty snack.
Growing Early Latah tomatoes is a rewarding endeavour for any gardener seeking a delicious, cold-tolerant variety with a short growing season. By following the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can enjoy an abundant harvest of flavorful Early Latah tomatoes that can be enjoyed fresh or preserved for year-round use.
Seeds and planting
Links and Resources
(These are some of what I use)
mybackyard.ca Seeds Page
Get a Head Start on Spring: The Benefits of Starting Your Seeds Indoors
Saving Vegetable Seeds: A Comprehensive Guide to Gardening Success
myBackyard.ca Planting Guide
Pollock Tomatoes (North hardy Tomato variety)
Tomatoes (Useful information on starting tomatoes from seed)
Individual seed and plant information is available in the "Gardening Shortcut Links" above under "North Hardy Plants to grow". I have successfully grown all of these, and most I grow year to year.