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Tomato is one of the most popular plants around the world, with its delicious taste and use in a wide range of dishes. When eaten raw in salads, it provides loads of health benefits and is an essential ingredient for many dips and sauces. One of the best things about this plant is that it can grow in a relatively small space and produce a big crop of tomatoes. With many tomato varieties out there, what would be the most suitable for your home garden?
Cordon tomatoes are one major type of tomatoes with many varieties. This article will discuss all about the cordon tomato varieties, how they grow and the benefits of growing this variety of tomatoes.
What are Cordon Tomatoes?
Cordon tomatoes are a type of tomato plant that’s trained to grow upwards along a support, such as a trellis or stake. This training method is called “cordon training,” and it’s done to keep the plant off the ground and to allow for better air circulation, which can help to prevent diseases.
Cordon tomatoes are typically grown in a greenhouse or in a warm, sunny location outdoors, and they produce long trusses of fruit that are ideal for slicing and using in salads or on sandwiches. They are also known as indeterminate tomatoes, because they continue to grow and produce fruit until the end of the growing season.
How Do Cordon Tomatoes Grow?
Since these tomatoes need to grow upwards, you need to tie them to sturdy canes or wires. The tomato plant grows upwards, and you just keep on nipping off the side shoots, so that the main stem grows up till it produces four flower trusses. This is the time when the growing tip is pinched off.
When you nip off the side shoots, you can grow them in the soil to make new plants. To grow the shoots into new plants, place them in water for a few weeks till the roots start growing, and then plant them in compost or soil.
Planting tomatoes at the right time of the year is another way to grow healthier and more productive plants. The best time to grow them is when the weather has become warm and fertilize them regularly with potassium-rich fertilizer. If you give it nitrogen-rich fertilizer, then it will grow more leaves instead of flowers and fruit.
How to Create a Cordon Framework for Tomatoes?
Cordon tomatoes need support to grow into tall plants. It is a good idea to construct a framework to tie the tomato plants to and let them grow vertically upwards. This is an idea that saves space and makes the tomato plants look tidy, while increasing the yield of tomatoes.
Here are some resources with which you can construct the framework for cordon tomatoes:
- Sturdy sticks: garden canes that are inserted firmly into the soil.
- Garden wire affixed to the ground and tied to the crop bars of the polytunnel.
- Twine, either pegged or weighted at the base of the stands and tied against the crop bars of the polytunnel.
All of these provide vertical support for the cordon tomatoes to grow upwards.
Whether you plant tomatoes using seeds or store-bought seedlings, it is best to use a frame. Once your framework is ready, you can begin to transplant the tomatoes. First, prepare the growing area with good, organic matter or compost, that will form the topsoil and provide a good level of nutrients for the young plants. Take tomato plants that have grown up to 20-30cm tall and plant them in the soil a bit deeper to make sure that a healthy root system develops for the plants. This will also increase the yield.
Cordon Tomatoes and the Art of Tying
Remember to do the following to ensure a great yield of cordon tomatoes:
- Support the main stem of the tomato plant by tying it to a stick or supporting it at intervals. First, tie the garden twine to the stick or support, and then tie the cordon tomato plant.
- Look out for any side shoots growing at the base of the leaves, the point where they join to the main stem. Always pluck off the side shoots carefully, so the main stem or the remaining leaf isn’t damaged, while the plant focuses its energy on the main stem and fruit yield.
- You should use sharp scissors to cut out any large side shoots. Do this carefully, so as not to damage the plant, while also snipping as close to the shoot base as possible.
- Try to reduce the foliage when the lowest truss of fruit forms by cutting any pair of leaflets growing closest to the main stem.
- Cut the main stem when 5-6 trusses form so that the plant uses its energy to ripen and enlarge the fruit.
- You can grow new tomato plants from the side shoots if you cut them carefully. Just put them in water until roots start to come out and then plant them in compost or soil.
Fertilizing Cordon Tomato Plants
It is good to use fertilizer rich in potassium for tomato plants. This increases the yield of tomatoes and helps the plant grow. A balanced fertilizer is the best choice for cordon tomato plants. If you give it a fertilizer that contains a high concentration of nitrogen, then it will grow more foliage and leaves, but lesser flowers and fruit.
Most Popular Cordon Tomato Varieties
Here are some of the most popular cordon tomato varieties on the market:
1. Ildi Tomatoes
Ildi tomatoes are a small, sweet variety of tomatoes that are known for their low acidity and delicate flavor. They’re often used in salads and for snacking, as they have thin skin and juicy, tender flesh. Ildi tomatoes are a popular choice for home gardeners, as they are easy to grow and produce a high yield of fruit.
They’re also resistant to many common tomato diseases and pests, which makes them a reliable choice for those who want to grow their own tomatoes. Ildi tomatoes are native to Hungary and are named after a small village in the country where they were first cultivated.
2. Costoluto Fiorentino Tomatoes
Costoluto Fiorentino is a variety of tomato that’s known for its ribbed, irregularly-shaped fruit and sweet, juicy flavor. It’s an heirloom variety, which means that it’s an old, traditional variety that has been passed down through generations of gardeners.
Costoluto Fiorentino tomatoes are often used for making sauces and pastes, as they have a high flesh-to-seed ratio and a firm, meaty texture. They are also popular for slicing and using in salads and sandwiches. This variety is native to the region of Tuscany in Italy and is named after the city of Florence.
3. Astro Ibrido Tomatoes
Astro Ibrido is a hybrid variety of tomatoes with large, round fruit and a sweet, juicy flavor. It’s an indeterminate tomato, which means that it will continue to grow and produce fruit until the end of the growing season.
Astro Ibrido tomatoes are often used for canning and making sauces, as they have a high content of solid matter and a low water content. They’re also popular for slicing and using in salads and sandwiches. This variety is believed to have been developed in Italy and is named after the Italian word “astro,” which means star.
4. Tigerella Tomatoes
This variety of tomato is known for its distinctive, striped appearance and sweet, fruity flavor. It’s also an indeterminate tomato that’s often used for slicing and using in salads and sandwiches, as it has a thin skin and a juicy, tender flesh. They are also popular for making sauces and pastes, as they have a high flesh-to-seed ratio and a firm, meaty texture. This variety is believed to have originated in England and is named after the tiger-like stripes that adorn its fruit.
5. Super Sweet 100 Tomato
Another indeterminate tomato, the Super Sweet 100 is a variety that’s popular for its small, round fruit and exceptionally sweet flavor. These tomatoes are often used for snacking and adding to salads. This variety is believed to have originated in the United States and is named for the high number of sweet, flavorful fruit it produces.
This plant produces high yields of incredibly sweet cherry tomatoes that are ideal for salads because of their thin skin and sweet flavor. The plants grow to a height of 150cm.
6. Gardener’s Delight Tomato
Growing to a height of 1.5 m, this variety of cordon tomatoes has a delicious tangy flavor and cherry shape that’s considered the best salad tomatoes. This variety is believed to have originated in Germany and is a favorite among home gardeners for its high yield and reliable production.
7. Moneymaker Tomato
This salad variety of cordon tomatoes produces a high yield even in bad summers and poor soil. Growing to a height of 2 m, moneymaker tomato is an all-rounder, with uses in salads, grilling, roasting, and sandwiches. This cordon tomato variety is thought to have originated in England and is named for its reliable production and high yield, which make it a “moneymaker” for farmers and home gardeners.
8. Sungold Tomato
This is a cherry variety of cordon tomatoes, producing orange fruit that is the sweetest of all tomato varieties and the best way to consume it is to eat it raw. The plant grows to a height of 2 m and the fruit is disease resistant.
Sungold Tomato is believed to have originated in Japan and is named for the golden color of its fruit. Sungold tomatoes are prized for their sweet taste and are a popular choice among home gardeners and farmers.
9. Ailsa Craig Tomato
The flavor-packed variety of cordon tomatoes has dark-red skin that is thin and firm. The plants grow to a height of 1.5 m and produce tomatoes good for salads.
Ailsa Craig tomatoes are often used for canning, as they have a high content of solid matter and a low water content, which makes them ideal for preserving. They are also commonly used for making sauces, ketchup, and other tomato products. Ailsa Craig tomatoes are named after a small island off the coast of Scotland called Ailsa Craig, which is home to a unique type of granite that is used to make curling stones.
10. Golden Sunrise Tomato
The Golden Sunrise tomato is a variety of heirloom tomato that’s known for its sweet, fruity flavor and bright yellow color. It’s a medium to large tomato that’s relatively easy to grow and is resistant to many common tomato diseases. It’s often used in salads, sandwiches, and for making sauce. The Golden Sunrise tomato is a good choice for home gardeners who want to add some color and flavor to their tomato plants.
11. Black Cherry Tomatoes
Black cherry tomatoes are a type of cherry tomato that have a deep red or black color when they are fully ripe. They’re known for their sweet and slightly tangy flavor and are often used in salads, as a garnish, or for snacking.
Black cherry tomatoes are relatively easy to grow and can be grown in a variety of climates. They’re usually smaller than regular tomatoes and are often grown in containers or small spaces.
Cordon Tomatoes and Bush Tomatoes
There are two major types of tomatoes: cordon and bush. Before you start growing your tomatoes, you need to look at the space available and the size your tomato plant will require to grow. If you have a small space in your backyard and want to grow tomatoes to have fresh tomatoes in salads, then cordon tomatoes are the best choice for you. They grow upwards and produce the maximum yield in small spaces. The plant focuses its energy on producing fruits rather than growing side shoots.
Bush tomatoes, on the other hand, need a lot of space. As they grow in bushes, they are less organized and may hence produce a lower yield of tomatoes.
Frequently Asked Questions about Cordon Tomatoes
The two major types of tomatoes are cordon and bush tomatoes. The ‘cordon’ tomato grows as a single stemmed vine with a structure to support it. Its side shoots are removed. Bush tomatoes are said to require no support and grow like a bush with side shoots encouraged.
Cordon tomatoes should be planted 45 cm apart with about 75 cm in between rows. If plants are too close together, then they will receive poor sunlight and air circulation which will encourage diseases and overall growth.
If there are shoots below the first flower cluster, prune them off to increase yield.
Pinching your tomato encourages the plant to focus its energy on growing and producing fruit.
Keep the lower leaves of the plant if they are healthy and show no signs of disease.
After transplanting, tomato buds should be pinched so that the plant can use all its energy to grow up to 2 feet in height and develop stronger roots.
Cutting the top off your tomato plant will make the plant focus its energies on lateral growth.
For a plant that produces large tomatoes, expect 20 – 30 fruits.
If you have a small space to grow tomatoes, then a cordon variety of tomatoes is one of the most suitable options for you. These plants grow upwards and produce a good yield of tomatoes full of flavor and nutrients. Fresh home-grown tomatoes add a unique flavor to salads and many other dishes. Considering all these benefits and how easy it is to grow, why not start your homegrown tomato garden now.