Scientific Name: Solanum lycopersicum
Common Name: Tomato 'Sweetie'
This is not only one of the sweetest heirloom tomato varieties but it also has one of the smallest fruit, although they are produced en masse in long trusses. Sweetie tomatoes are delicious eaten as a snack while working in the garden, they can also be collected and added to salads, used as a pizza topping or turned into sweet sauces and vegetable juices.
Choose a growing site for tomatoes that receives full sun for optimal fruit production and quick ripening, gardeners in warmer climates may instead prefer to grow tomatoes in a lightly shaded position to reduce heat stress on plants. Tomatoes have what is known as adventitious roots, every hair on the stem has the potential to become a new root if buried. Take advantage of this characteristic by planting your tomato starts deep, down to the level of the cotyledons (the first pair of seed leaves that emerge). Not only will this result in a deeper, more developed root system capable of taking in more moisture and nutrients from the surrounding soil but it will also provide a better anchor resulting in sturdier vines that are less susceptible to toppling over in strong winds. Sweetie is an indeterminate climbing variety so weave the vines through a sturdy trellis to support them and keep any fruits off the ground. Avoid wetting the leaves when watering to reduce blight and other fungal diseases. Prune off the lower leaves and suckers as the vine grows to reduce splash-back of fungal spores from the soil. If your soil is low in organic mater place down a layer of compost or well-rotted manure before planting. Apply a complete organic fertiliser as a top dressing around plants if growth is slow or at the first sign of a nutrient deficiency. About once a week tap any fully open flowers rapidly to knock the pollen from the male anthers onto the central female stigma, this will greatly increase fruit set if insect pollinators are lacking.
When to Sow:
In temperate regions of Australia sow sweetie tomato seeds anytime during Spring as long as any chance of frost has past. In frost-free subtropical regions of Australia sow sweetie tomato seeds from early Autumn to early Spring. In tropical areas of Australia sow sweetie tomato seeds during the dry season, any time from late Autumn to mid Winter is best.
How to Sow:
Sow sweetie tomato seeds 6mm deep spacing seeds or planting starts about 60cm apart to allow room for growth. For healthy plants sow a few tomato seeds per hole and thin all but the most vigorous seedling after a couple of weeks.
Tomato seeds are quick to germinate, with most seedlings emerging 7 to 13 days after sowing depending on soil temperature.
Time to Harvest:
Sweetie is an early heirloom variety, taking 9 to 12 weeks to start producing ripe fruit. This variety produces over a long period.