Rutgers

  • Sun: Full sun
  • Harvest Size: 7 ounces
  • Days to Harvest: 73
  • Plant Size: 4 to 5 feet
  • Plant Type: Determinate

Rutgers tomato is tried and true, loved since its introduction in 1934 for juicy, flavorful goodness, whether fresh from the garden or canned for the off season. The highly productive vine produces a big initial crop of thick-fleshed tomatoes, followed by several flushes. Rutgers tomato seldom has problems with cracking and the vine is moderately disease resistant for a dependable harvest every season. Those missing old-fashioned "Jersey tomatoes" will like Rutgers.

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

Disease resistance: VFA. Plant spacing: 36 inches apart in conventional rows, 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 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.

Plant a second crop in early to mid summer for a fall harvest. Support plants on stakes or a sturdy wire cage to keep fruit off the ground. This helps prevent disease. Support even if grown in a pot.

Harvest and Use »

Pick these red tomatoes as they ripen on the vine to slice or quarter on a plate, in a salad, or on a sandwich. 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, thyme, and oregano for continental cuisine.
  • Bush Early Girl (determinate) or Early Girl (indeterminate) for early tomatoes.
  • Big Beef, Goliath, Park's Whopper, or Red Beefsteak (indeterminate types) for big, sandwich-sized tomatoes.
  • Chocolate Cherry, Grape, Juliet, Porter Improved, Sun Sugar, Super Sweet 100, Yellow Pear, or any cherry tomato that bears all season.
  • Black Krim, Cherokee Purple, Lemon Boy, and Mr. Stripey for diverse colors and flavors.
  • Roma for cooking and thick sauces.

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