Tomato F1 Losetto is a bush type (semi determinate) variety which stands out from the vast majority of others because it shows good resistance to late tomato blight.
Suitable for growing outdoors or a cool greenhouse, it produces compact plants with lots of flowers and a good fruit set. The vigorous plants grow to around 45cm (18in) high and are great for a large container.
Similar to that of the ever-popular tomato, Gardeners Delight, the Brix rating (sweetness) for this variety is 7. The typical cherry tomato size fruits weigh about 14 grams (½ oz) and the sweetness and acidity are well balanced.
Ideal for growing in containers, Losetto requires no side shooting, which makes it so easy to grow. It can be left to its own devices with only minimal pruning to encourage airflow into the middle of the plant. It can be grown in the greenhouse, but thanks to its blight resistance is also suitable for growing outdoors on the patio or even in a sunny border.
This is a mid season maturing variety which takes 75 days from transplant to fruit maturity. Each plant will produce an abundance of juicy, sweet cherry tomatoes between July and September.
For greenhouse cultivation: sow from February to March. For outdoor cultivation: sow from March to April.
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 -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. Protect young plants by using shade netting or 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.
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.
The fungus, Phytophthora infestans, that causes late blight is aptly named: phytophthora in Latin means 'plant destroyer.'
Potato and tomato blight, properly called Late Blight, is a disease of the foliage and fruit or tubers of tomatoes and potatoes, causing rotting. The disease is caused by a fungus-like organism that spreads rapidly in wet weather, by wind and water-splash, it causes collapse and decay. Particularly prevalent in warm, wet weather, it is a serious disease for potatoes and outdoor tomatoes, but not as common on tomatoes grown in greenhouses.
While Late Blight is specific to tomatoes and potatoes, Early Blight is a different disease that is widely found in North America. This fungal disease of potatoes is caused by Alternaria solani and Alternaria alternate, it is not as common a problem and is frequently confused with magnesium deficiency.
Tomatoes are generally very susceptible to late blight and several varieties have been bred which show some resistance, such as 'Sungold', ‘Roma VF’ and 'Losetto'. Even these varieties, however, will eventually succumb in wet, warm weather. It is probably best not to rely on host resistance alone for blight control in tomatoes. The solution really lies in prevention.
Keep tomatoes dry.
Use an umbrella of polythene or a plastic roof over tomatoes planted outdoors to keep the rain off them.
Avoid watering in late afternoon or evening so that water can evaporate from the leaves and, if possible, water the ground and not the foliage.
Provide good ventilation.
Make sure there is good ventilation around the plants – keep the sides of any cover open and try to condensation building up.
Make use of trellises and supports that will keep the vines off the ground. Thin out some branches of vigorous bush varieties and remove weeds to allow air to circulate better.
Plant early to try for a harvest before late blight hits. Do not plant near potato crops that are susceptible to blight.
If your plants do succumb to late blight, take action.
Look for brown, rapidly spreading patches on leaves and stems. The fruit, too, may show firm, quickly spreading brown patches followed by rotting. Infected parts die rapidly. Pull up the plants and either burn them or seal them tightly in a trash bag, or secure them under black plastic, where the sun's heat can kill the spores.
Don't eat fruit showing symptoms, do not save seed from affected fruit and do not compost blight-infected plants.
This is the blight that caused the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s and will quickly infect any potatoes planted nearby.
Don’t leave potato tubers in the ground, they should be dug and any affected should be disposed of as soon as possible, as should all tomato plants and fruit affected by this tomato blight.
If left unattended, the disease will spread quickly from your plants to those of your neighbours and local farmers.
Treatment is simple. Burn everything the fungus may have touched. Remove all plant debris at the end of the growing season so the spores have nowhere to over winter.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 10 seeds Common Name Blight Resistant, Cherry Tomato
Bush (Semi Determinate)
Family Solanaceae Genus Lycopersicon Species esculentum Cultivar F1 Losetto Hardiness Half Hardy Annual Fruit Red, 14 grams (½ oz) Height 45cm (18in) Spacing 50cm (20in) Season Mid-Season Time to Sow Early April to End May Time to Harvest July to September