We are all used to the look and taste of most tomato varieties, but when it comes to tree tomatoes or tamarillos, some of you may not have heard of it as much.
The tamarillo, which is also known by many other names such as yucca tomato, Nordic mango or Andean tomato, is a type of tomato that grows on bushes up to 4 meters high. It is native to South America, although today it is much more widespread and its flavor is characteristic for its bitter and acid touch, the cultivation of tree tomato being very popular in South America and increasingly in Europe.
In this article we are going to teach you how to grow organic tree tomatoes at home , so you can enjoy your own organic tomatoes without leaving your garden or orchard.
How to sow tree tomato seeds
You can directly plant the seeds of the tamarillos or tomatoes that you buy. However, if you want to maximize its chances of germinating, it is best to plant it in spring and follow these steps:
- Cut the whole tamarillo vertically, and separate each seed with some pulp next to it.
- Store the seeds and pulp remains in a container for about three days. Stir the mixture twice a day.
- Wash the seeds and leave them separate and on a damp cloth or napkin, in the shade, until they begin to germinate.
- Prepare a deep pot with a substrate with good drainage. It is advisable to use organic compost or humus. Avoid clay soils.
- Sow the germinated seed to a depth of between 1 and 2 centimeters. Cover it with the mixture and water it. Leave the pot in a partially shaded location, in an area with non-direct natural light.
Tree tomato cultivation: basic care
The tree tomato is not a particularly delicate shrub, but it does have some enemies that you must be especially careful with. These are the basic care for growing tree tomatoes :
The tamarillo is a shrub that is very sensitive to frost and low temperatures. In fact, at temperatures below 10ºC it is very likely that it will not survive, so it is best grown in temperate zones. Excess heat does not favor it either, and temperatures above 24ºC will also be detrimental to the plant.
Drought is the other great weak point of the tree tomato. Like most plants that require moisture, it is important that the substrate or soil of the tree tomato is always moist, but never flooded, as this will cause the roots to rot and the plant to become ill or suffer from the attack of fungi and pests. .
Compost for tree tomato
It is recommended to pay the tamarillo annually, in autumn or spring. You can use organic fertilizers such as compost or humus for this, and thus keep your crop completely organic and ecological.
Tree tomato pruning
Pruning should be done once a year, either in early spring, before it begins to produce flowers, or in late fall, when it has finished bearing fruit. By cleaning the bush of unproductive or diseased branches, we will help our plant to allocate its energy and nutrients to the most suitable parts.
This plant will appreciate an area where it receives light during the morning and the mildest hours of the day, but not during the afternoon.
As a final detail, it should be added that sometimes tamarillos may require tutoring, due to the great weight of their branches.
Transplanting a tomato plant from tree tomatoes: how and when to do it
When the plant has been in the pot in which we planted it for about a month, it is a suitable time to transplant it to its final location, which can be both the garden and another larger pot, suitable for a bush the size of the tree tomato. You can reach.
To transplant the tree tomato, follow these steps:
- Prepare a hole about 12 inches deep, either in soil or a large pot.
- Place the seedling in it, which you must extract along with the substrate near its roots, and add some compost to the mixture.
- Finally, cover the rest with soil, and water it.
- Remember that it is good to choose a location where it is not in direct sunlight all day.
Common tree tomato diseases and pests
The tree tomato bush is quite susceptible to fungal attack due to excessive watering or humidity. For this reason, you must be especially careful when watering it, and although it is important to keep its soil or substrate moist, never allow it to puddle. If you have it planted in a pot, immediately remove the excess water from the dish after watering.
It can also suffer from anthracnose , a disease that causes its fruits to darken and dry out. It is convenient to remove the affected fruits and prune the attacked branches as soon as the symptoms are detected.
There are other pests and diseases that can affect this crop, but in general they can be fought with a suitable organic fertilizer and with the constant review of the state of our tamarillos.