LYCOPERSICON esculentum ‘Big Rainbow Heirloom’

Tomato –

0731 “The huge, golden, beefsteak-type fruits of this amazing heirloom tomato are beautifully streaked with red marbling both inside and out. Sweet, mild and juicy in flavor, this variety is ideal for salads, sandwiches and fresh eating, and looks sensational sliced and served on a platter. The tasty fruits are borne generously on sprawling, indeterminate (vine-like) plants, and ripen approximately 80 to 102 days after planting seedlings. ‘Big Rainbow’ is reportedly resistant to numerous foliar diseases.

Plant tomatoes in full sun and fertile, well-drained, slightly acid garden loam after all danger of frost has passed. Seedlings may be started indoors under grow-lights several weeks ahead of time, and should be hardened off before planting outdoors. Set them deeply in the ground for best establishment; the main stem will form roots beneath the soil’s surface. Indeterminate types such as this should be staked, trellised or grown in tomato cages to contain their rambling stems.

These veggies (technically, fruits) are heavy feeders, and it is important to provide them with regular water and nutrients. Be sure to choose a fertilizer specifically formulated for tomatoes, and avoid excessive watering as this can result in cracking of fruit and diminished flavor. Best production and flavor occurs when both days and nights are warm. Tomatoes may become tough and less flavorful in cooler temperatures, and should not be stored in the refrigerator. In subtropical locations, they may even be grown as a winter crop, as long as temperatures remain favorable.”

Winchester Gardens generally stocks this item. 

Common:
Cultivar:
Class:
Zone:
Blooms:
Bloom Color:
Foliage Color:
Evergreen:
Drought Tolerant:
Shade Tolerant:
Full Sun:
Partial Sun:
Deer Resistant:
Attracts Butterflies:
Height:
Width:

Tomato
Heirloom – Big Rainbow
Annual
11-15

Yellow
Green, Dark Green
No


Yes



2-8′
2-4′

Site Selection
Select a site with full sun and well-drained soil. In very hot climates, light afternoon shade may help prevent blossom drop. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost.

Planting Instructions
If you don’t purchase plants, start seeds indoors in flats or pots 6 to 7 weeks before the average last frost date, and set out transplants when the soil is warm and all danger of frost is past. Set up trellises, cages, or stakes at planting time. Dig planting holes 18 to 24 inches apart if you plan to stake or trellis the crops, 36 to 48 inches apart if the plants aren’t trained. Pinch off two or three of the lower branches on the transplant and set the root ball of the plant well into the hole until the remaining lowest leaves are just above the soil surface. The plant will form additional roots along the buried stem. Water generously and keep the plants well watered for a few days.

Care
Provide an even supply of water all season. If staking or trellising, prune suckers to allow one or two central stems to grow on staked plants, two or three central stems for trellis systems. Apply a thick layer of organic mulch 4 or 5 weeks after transplanting. Contact your local County Extension office for controls of common tomato insect pests such as tomato hornworms and whiteflies.

Harvesting Tips
Pick fruits when they are firm, full size, and fully colored. Tomatoes will ripen when harvested at their green mature stage, but flavor will not be as good. Harvest all except the greenest fruits before a killing frost, and take them indoors at 60° to 65°F to ripen. You can also harvest green tomatoes for pickling and frying.

Companion Plants
Asparagus, carrot, celery, cucumber, onion, parsley, pepper. Basil repels flies and mosquitoes, improves growth and flavor. Bee balm, chives and mint improve health and flavor. Borage deters tomato worm, improves growth and flavor. Dill, until mature, improves growth and health. Once mature, it stunts tomato growth. Marigold deters nematodes. Pot marigold deters tomato worm and general garden pests.

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