Homestead

  • Sun: Full sun
  • Harvest Size: 8 to 9 ounces
  • Days to Harvest: 80
  • Plant Size: 4 to 6 feet
  • Plant Type: Determinate

Homestead tomato was developed in Florida where high temperatures can prevent tomatoes from setting fruit. This heat tolerance is an advantage in many states, so Homestead remains a favorite after more than 50 years. It is a workhorse, producing medium, firm, meaty red tomatoes in a concentrated time. Plants in our test garden, where the growing conditions are ideal, bear an average of 50 pounds of fruit over a 6 to 7 week period.

Plant tomatoes in spring (after danger of frost is passed) through early summer. If you shop early, you may also keep the plants in a sunny windowsill for a week or two until the weather warms. If you plant early, protect plants from cold with a row cover.

Disease resistance: F. Plant spacing: 24 to 36 inches apart in conventional rows, 18 to 24 inches in intensive gardens. Plants per person: 2 to 5 at each planting.

Secrets to Success »

Plant deeply so that two-thirds of the plant is buried, stem and all. The buried stem will sprout roots, adding to the strength of the plant. Fertilize when planting and during the growing season with Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food.

Water regularly. Tomatoes need steady watering to develop to full size and to prevent cracking and blossom end rot. To keep the soil moist, mix compost into planting holes, and mulch around the plants after the soil warms. Watering with a soaker hose is best to keep the foliage dry. Wet leaves encourage disease. Support plants on stakes or a sturdy wire cage to keep fruit off the ground. This helps prevent disease.

Plant a second crop in early to mid summer for a fall harvest.

Harvest and Use »

Pick ripe tomatoes and use fresh on sandwiches or in salads. Homestead’s meatiness also makes it a good choice for cooking. Use green ones for fried green tomatoes or tart sauces. The red tomato is considered a “superfood” for its wealth of vitamins and antioxidants, including cancer-fighting lycopene.

Try These Garden Companions »

  • Sweet basil for tomato-and-basil salad or sandwich.
  • Parsley, rosemary, chives, and oregano for Continental cuisine.
  • Bush Early Girl (determinate) or Early Girl (indeterminate) for early harvest.
  • Big Beef, Goliath, Park's Whopper, or Red Beefsteak (indeterminate types) for big, sandwich-sized tomatoes.
  • German Johnson, Cherokee Purple, Red or Pink Brandywine for big heirloom tomatoes.
  • Chocolate Cherry, Husky Cherry Red, Grape, Juliet, Sun Sugar, Super Sweet 100, Yellow Pear, or any cherry tomato, which bears all season.
  • Celebrity, Mountain Pride, Rutgers, Solar Fire, and Roma and other determinate types for a big harvest in a short time.
  • BHN 602 VF123SW, Amelia VF123NStSW, or Talladega VFFTSWSt for disease resistance in the Deep South where spotted wilt virus is troublesome.
  • Black Krim, Cherokee Purple, Lemon Boy, and Mr. Stripey for diverse colors and flavors.
  • Roma for cooking and thick sauces.

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