Homestead Tomato is an heirloom, open-pollinated variety that is especially heat-tolerant. Homestead was developed by the University of Florida and released in the 1950s. It was bred to withstand extreme temperatures and continue to set fruit into the summer months. Fruits are large, meaty and average 8 ounces. In some trials, plants were noted to produce up to 50 pounds of fruit per plant! Homestead is a determinate variety that will provide a concentrated fruit set for large harvests in a small production window. Plants have large, dense vines that help to protect fruits from the sun. Fruits are resistant to cracking and hold well on the vine prior to harvesting. This is a great variety for making sauces, canning and preserving.
Tomatoes are in the nightshade family along with peppers and eggplant. Plants in the nightshade family are susceptible to blossom end rot, which is a result of a calcium deficiency. To prevent or alleviate this problem, apply pelleted gypsum at the base of the plant at bloom set. Tomatoes do best when transplanted, as the germination time can be longer than most vegetable seed. They grow very well in our heavy-duty seed starting trays. Plants should be started 4-6 weeks before the intended outdoor planting date.
If conditions outside are favorable, transplants may be planted directly from our 162 cell trays. If conditions are still too cold for planting tomatoes, transplants may be “stepped-up” to 4″ pots to allow more room to grow. Tomatoes can produce heavy fruits and will require some form of support to keep the plant upright. This ensures that plants and fruits stay off the ground, reducing the possibility of disease and keeping fruits clean.
Homestead Tomato Planting Information
Planting Method: transplant
When to Plant: after last frost
Planting Depth: 1/4″
Seed Spacing: 2′
Row Spacing: 3-4′
Days to Maturity: 80
Disease Tolerance: Fusarium