Tomato 'Auriga' is an orange fruited 'shirley' type, with medium sized fruits and an excellent flavour. It is a high yielding early ripening, burst-resistant tomato, that is particularly well suited for outdoor cultivation.
The plants grow to 160cm and produce multi-branched racemes average 7 to 11 extremely decorative medium-sized, round bright orange-coloured fruits. Fairly early to start ripening, the fruits mature around 60 days and are around golf ball in size and weigh 70 to 80 grams. They are thin-skinned, they are extremely sweet and juicy and have a high carotene content. If you let them mature for a little longer to become 'very ripe' the flavour of the fruit changes to a gorgeous Melon taste - very distinctive, they are ideal as an eye-catcher in salads.
Suitable for growing both outside and under protection, this indeterminate variety is best grown as a cordon (vine). For best yields and size of fruit, stop at 4th truss if grown outdoors or the 5th truss if growing under protection.
- Organic Seed.
This seed has been organically produced. The seed has been harvested from plants that have themselves been grown to recognised organic standards, without the use of chemicals. No treatments have been used, either before or after harvest and the seed is supplied in its natural state. It has been is certified and is labelled with the Organic symbol.
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. The best soil used for containers is half potting compost and half a soil-based type loam: this gives some weight to the soil.
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 to 10 days when kept in the optimum temperature range of 21 to 27°C (70 to 80°F). As soon as they emerge, place them in a location that receives a lot of light and a cooler temperature (60 to 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 20cm (4in) pots.
Young plants are very tender and susceptible to frost damage, as well as sunburn. I protect my young plants by placing a large plastic milk jug, with the bottom removed, 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.
When the first fruits begin to form, pinch out the side shoots between the main stem. Also remove lower leaves which show any signs of yellowing to avoid infection.
Pick as soon as the fruits are ripe, this also encourages the production of more fruit. Cherry tomatoes are usually tender-firm and thin-skinned, the skins of the fruit will split if watering regimes are erratic, or if the fruits are not harvesting promptly and left too long on the vine. At the end of the season, harvest all the fruit as soon as frost threatens and ripen on a window sill.
Once harvested, store at room temperature, as anything below 10°C (50°F) destroys the enzyme that gives tomatoes their flavour.
The tomato originates from South America's western coast. They are native to the Andes region of Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru, however they are believed to have been domesticated in Mexico.
It was in the early 1500s that returning Spanish colonists first introduced tomatoes to Europe. However, in North America, tomatoes were not widely embraced until the early 1800s. Despite being grown and used by pockets of colonial Americans, they were thought to be toxic as they are in the Solanaceae family, which includes deadly nightshades and other poisonous plants. This was disproved publicly in 1820 when Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson ate a tomato on the courthouse steps of Salem, New Jersey.
The first traces of its use as a food date back to the first half of the 18th century. Originally believed to be poisonous when introduced into Europe and was used solely as an ornamental plant during the 16th and 17th centuries. Around the same time that the myth of tomatoes being poisonous was dispelled, people in France started to believe that the tomato was an aphrodisiac, and began calling it 'pomme d'amour', or 'love apple.'
There is no evidence that points to a specific time and place of discovery for the first yellow cherry tomato, but it is known that it was a natural occurring mutation found on a red cherry tomato plant. A recessive gene contained in the tomato’s genetic makeup.
This gene causes flavonoids in the skin and increases the level of yellow carotenoids, carotene and beta-carotene, the pigment which results in the yellow complexion. This single mutation is responsible for the evolution of Yellow cherry tomatoes and the many varieties on the market today.
Botanically, the tomato is a fruit, but in 1883 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the tomato was legally a vegetable because of the way it was commonly used. Tomatoes are among the most common plants grown in home gardens.
The botanical classification of the tomato has had an interesting history, and debate over the scientific name continues today. The tomato was first placed in the genus Solanum, and identified as Solanum lycopersicum under the methodology of Carl Linnaeus, who developed the binomial system of naming plants and outlined it in his 1753 publication, 'Species Plantarum'. This designation was then changed to Lycopersicon esculentum, the term Lycopersicon deriving from the Greek word meaning 'wolf peach,' and esculentum simply meaning edible. However, current phylogenetic methods have shown the tomato to be situated firmly within the genus Solanum, and after years of preference for the name Lycopersicon esculentum, strong molecular DNA evidence is promoting the return to Linnaeus' original classification, Solanum lycopersicum.
Cherry tomatoes, in particular, are then more specifically called Lycopersicon esculentum var. cerasiforme.
- The very smallest of cherry tomatoes are usually classified as Currant or small Cherry tomatoes. Weighing between 0.5 and 1 ounces (7 to 14 grams) and measuring ½ to 1 inch in diameter.
- A Cherry, Cocktail, Fig or Pear tomato usually weighs between 1 and 2 ounces (28 to 57 grams), they are the smallest types of cherry types of tomatoes that are generally available. Most cherry tomatoes weigh in at around 1 ounce (28 grams), with a diameter of about 1 inch (2.5cm).
- A small to medium sized tomato, the Grape or the small Plum type usually weigh between 1 and 3 ounces (28 to 84 grams). This makes them about the same size or slightly larger than a regular cherry tomato.
- A Roma or other paste types of tomato weighs between 2 and 5 ounces (57 to 142 grams). This makes them somewhat larger than cherry or grape tomatoes.
- A medium to large, traditional Salad or Slicing type of tomato weighs between 3 and 5 ounces (84 to 142 grams) and measure 4 to 5 inches in diameter.
- The Beefsteak tomatoes can weigh anything between 8 and 64 ounces (227 to 1814 grams). A Large Beefsteak weighs 8 to 12oz and measures 5 to 8 inches in diameter, an Extra Large Beefsteak weighs 12 to 18oz and measures 8 to 10 inches, while Giant Beefsteak tomatoes can reach huge proportions. They weigh in excess of 18 oz and measure over 10 inches in diameter.
- Organic Seed.
- Additional Information
Average Seed Count 10 Seeds Common Name Early Salad Tomato
Vine / Cordon (Indeterminate)
Family Solanaceae Genus Lycopersicon Species esculentum Cultivar Auriga (can also be spelt Aurega) Synonym Aka Auriga Orange - From Palim, France Hardiness Half Hardy Annual Fruit Orange, cherry type, 8 and 15 grams Height To 150cm (60in) Spacing 60cm (24in) Position For glasshouse or outdoor culture Season Mid-Season Time to Sow Early April to End May. Eight weeks before the last frosts Time to Harvest 60 days Notes Tomato F1 Sungold was recently featured on Gardeners World.