Tomato ‘F1 Albenga’ is a hybrid variety, a type of oxheart/beefsteak tomato that is grown in both France and Italy. It is named after the small coastal town of Albenga in the Liguria region of Italy, famous for the amazing varieties of tomatoes grown there.
Tomato ‘F1 Albenga’ is an extremely productive indeterminate variety that produces uniform, large and distinctive oxheart/beefsteak type fruits. With a medium-late cycle, they are suitable for open field and greenhouse cultivation. The fruit has the characteristic bottom heavy, pear shape with well marked ribs and average weight of 220 to 260gm. The colour is medium green that turns to red orange at full ripening.
Not too juicy with perfect texture and superbly tasting meaty flesh, they have few seeds and the skins are thin enough to include when cooking. They are perfect for sandwiches, roasting, sauces and salsas, a good all-round culinary tomato.
Both the Italians and the Spanish generally favour tomatoes that retain their green tops, many varieties taste much better with green shoulders. They have different genetic makeup than varieties that ripen red all at once, if you wait for them to turn completely red, they may not have much flavour at that stage. Varieties that ripen up and don't have green shoulders have what's called the uniform ripening gene which has been transferred into almost all modern hybrids.
As they cannot tolerate any degree of frost the timing for sowing and planting outside is key to successfully growing tomatoes. Where the seeds are sown under cover or indoors, aim to sow the seeds so that they reach the stage to be transplanted outside three weeks after the last frost date. Tomato plants take roughly seven weeks from sowing to reach the transplanting stage. For example, if your last frost date is early May, the seeds should be planted in early April to allow transplanting at the end of May.
Tomatoes require a full sun position. Two or three weeks before planting, dig the soil over and incorporate as much organic matter as possible. They will grow well in growbags and large pots if regularly watered and fed. The best soil used for containers is half potting compost and half a soil-based type loam: this gives some weight to the soil.
Sowing: Sow from the end January to April.
Plant about 3mm (1/8in) deep, in small pots using seed starting compost. Water lightly and keep consistently moist until germination occurs. Tomato seeds usually germinate within 5 -10 days when kept in the optimum temperature range of 21-27°C (70-80°F). As soon as they emerge, place them in a location that receives a lot of light and a cooler temperature (60-70°F); a south-facing window should work.
When the plants develop their first true leaves, and before they become root bound, they should be transplanted into larger into 10cm (4in) pots. Young plants are very tender and susceptible to frost damage, as well as sunburn. Protect young plants by placing a large plastic milk jug, with the bottom removed, over them to form a miniature greenhouse. Depending on the components of your compost, you may need to begin fertilising. If you do fertilise, do it very, very sparingly with a weak dilution.
Transplant into their final positions when they are about 15cm (6in) high. Two to three weeks prior to this, the plants should be hardened off.
Just before transplanting the tomato plants to their final position drive a strong stake into the ground 5cm (2in) from the planting position. The stake should be at least 30cm (1ft) deep in the ground and 1.2m (4ft) above ground level - the further into the ground the better the support. As the plant grows, tie in the main stem to the support stake - check previous ties to ensure that they do not cut into the stem as the plant grows. Dig a hole 45cm (18in) apart in the bed to the same depth as the pot and water if conditions are at all dry. Ease the plant out of the pot, keeping the root ball as undisturbed as far as possible. Place it in the hole and fill around the plant with soil. The soil should be a little higher than it was in the pot. Loosely tie the plant's stem to the support stake using soft garden twine –allow some slack for future growth.
A constant supply of moisture is essential, dry periods significantly increase the risk of the fruit splitting. Feed with a liquid tomato fertiliser (high in potash) starting when the first fruits start to form, and every two or three weeks up to the end of August. In September, feed with a general fertiliser (higher in nitrogen) in order to help the plant support it's foliage.
Over watering may help to produce larger fruit, but flavour may be reduced. Additionally, splitting and cracking can result from uneven and excessive watering.
Cordon (Indeterminate) varieties of tomatoes have a central stem that produces leaves and trusses of fruit. Once a truss has been established and the first fruits begin to form, pinch out the side shoots that emerge from joins between the leaves and the stem. The plant will then concentrate on growing your chosen truss. Also remove any lower leaves which show any signs of yellowing to avoid infection and as the plant grows, remember to tie it loosely to its supporting cane.
Bush (Determinate) varieties don't need this intensive training. They should be sturdy enough to cope without support and there's no need to limit the amount of shoots that they develop.
Harvesting: June to September.
Harvest tomatoes as soon as the fruits are ripe, when they are fully coloured and firm, this also encourages the production of more fruit.
About a month before the average first autumn frosts, clip all blossoms and any undersized fruit off the plant. This will steer all the plant’s remaining energy into ripening what’s left.
If you have a lot of under ripe tomatoes near the end of the season, and a frost is approaching, pick them and store them indoors in a single layer away from direct sunlight to ripen.
Tomato ‘F1 Albenga’ is a hybrid tomato variety, a type of tomato that is grown in both France and Italy. It is named after the small coastal town of Albenga in the Liguria region of Italy, that is famous for the fantastic tomatoes varieties grown there. The intact medieval historic area with its palaces and its towers, whose structure traces out the ancient Roman layout, makes Albenga an exceptional cultural town as well as one of the biggest in western Liguria. The extremely fertile lowland has allowed the rise of specialised agriculture hinging on four typical products: the artichoke, the trumpet courgette, the ox heart tomato and the purple asparagus
Heirloom, also known as Heritage varieties are just what their name implies. They have been handed down, through generations of farmers and gardeners, from family member to family member. Many of these tomato varieties are known to have thrived since the 1800's. Unlike hybrids, they are not selectively bred for taste or appearance. They are open-pollinated, growing 'true to type' plants, like their predecessors, from seed.
Although heirloom tomatoes are indeed delicious, you won't find them in super markets for several reasons:
- Long time to maturity - Heirloom tomatoes, generally speaking, take longer to mature than varieties that were bred for commercial production. This means that they are more expensive to grow because they require a longer residency in the field and therefore more resources before a farmer can harvest and recoup his investment.
- Not good shippers - Many heirlooms were not bred to be shipped and because of their thinner skins do not transport well. For any supermarket that relies on nationwide supply chains this is an obvious problem as it means that there is a high likelihood that produce may arrive at market in a condition that cannot be sold.
- Indeterminacy - this means that the tomatoes mature slowly over time and do not ripen all at once. Most commercial tomato production (99%+ of what is grown for retail chain sale) are produced from determinate plants since these can be machine harvested. Indeterminate tomatoes must be hand harvested so again you end up with a very expensive tomato to produce. Indeterminate tomatoes also occupy a field for a longer period of time (since they do not all ripen at once) which means that even if you have low cost labour available for hand harvesting, your harvesters will need to be working the fields for many weeks, rather than days, making the tomatoes again more expensive to produce.
- Additional Information
Average Seed Count 10 Seeds Common Name Oxheart/beefsteak Tomato, Heritage (Italian)
Vine / Cordon (Indeterminate)
Family Solanaceae Genus Lycopersicon Species esculentum Cultivar F1 Albenga Hardiness Half Hardy Annual Height 150cm (60in) Spacing 60cm (24in) Season Mid-Late Season Time to Sow Early April to End May Time to Harvest 75 to 85 days