'F1 Sungold' tomato was bred in Japan by the Tokia Seed Company in 1992 and was released for distribution in Britain in through the seed house, Thompson and Morgan. It quickly gained popularity after it hit the markets and several taste trials dubbed it as 'the sweetest tomato ever.'
Tomato 'F1 Sungold' is often referred to as the ultimate tomato. Even today any taste comparison of different tomato varieties will always have Sungold on top. You won’t see these on supermarket shelves as the delicate skin makes them too difficult to transport and store, and you'll never go back to shop bought once you've tasted these sweet little delicacies. The perfect crop for growing your own!
Tomato F1 Sungold is a superb cherry type tomato that produces hundreds of golden yellow, bite size fruits. They have a high sugar content and exceptional flavour. The attractive golden orange fruits weigh 12 to 14 grams and measure around one inch in diameter. The golden orange coloured fruits grow on long trusses and have an inherently lower level of acid compared to other yellow varieties. They are exceptionally sweet, terrific when they hit dark gold, then sweet and almost spicy at the almost orange stage.
Sungold tomatoes are a popular choice for all climates because the plant can produce in warm or cold conditions. It is an excellent variety for glasshouse or outdoor culture. Sungold crops well and has resistance to Tobacco mosaic virus and Fusarium to ensure healthy plants. It is an indeterminate (cordon) variety that crops in 60 days. They ripen early and stay firm longer than other cherry tomatoes and can be harvested from early summer right through until late autumn.
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
Tomato 'F1 Sungold' was released for distribution in 1992 through Thompson and Morgan, after several taste trials dubbed it as 'the sweetest tomato ever.' This was quickly followed by the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
- River Cottage
Tomato 'F1 Sungold' is also recommended by the River Cottage Handbook Veg Patch.
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. Yellow 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 are 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.
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.
Yellow cherry tomatoes are slightly less acidic than red varieties, and therefore they are somewhat milder and naturally sweeter in flavour, they are also tender-firm and thin-skinned.
The Sungold cherry tomato was bred in Japan by the Tokia Seed Company in 1992, and quickly gained popularity after it hit the markets. It was released for distribution in Britain in 1992 through the seed house, Thompson and Morgan after several taste trials it was dubbed 'the sweetest tomato ever.'
The UK tomato fruit grower’s organisation hold tasting competitions each year and Sungold has been one of the recent winners for best flavour.
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.
Tomato Growth Habits Explained:
Tomato plants come in either Determinate (bush) or Indeterminate (vine) form. As the name implies, the fruit of determinate plants ripens within a concentrated time period, while the fruit of indeterminate plants ripens over an extended period of time.
Determinate tomato varieties are often referred to as 'Bush' tomatoes, because they are generally shorter and do not continue growing in size throughout the growing season.
Determinate varieties are generally smaller and more compact than indeterminate tomatoes. Pruning and removing suckers from determinate tomatoes is not recommended. The plants are seldom more than 60 to 90cm (2 to 3ft) tall. Many of the very short varieties need little or no staking, but despite their compact size, staking can be useful since the concentrated fruit set can contribute considerable weight to the branches.
Determinate tomatoes grow to a fixed mature size and typically produce one large crop of fruit. They ripen all their fruit in a short period, usually about two to three weeks. Once this first flush of fruit has ripened, the plant will begin to diminish in vigour and will set little to no new fruit. When the terminal buds set fruit, the plant growth stops. They produce fruit at the end of their branches.
In general, many of the earliest varieties are determinate types. Many paste or roma tomatoes are determinate varieties, while others are bred to be determinate. Commercial growers favour this type of tomato because all the fruit can be mechanically harvested at once.
The major advantage of planting determinate plants in a home garden is early harvest. Growing determinate variety tomatoes also makes good sense when you want a large amount of tomatoes all at one time, to make tomato sauce.
Indeterminate tomato varieties often referred to as 'Vine' or 'Cordon', will keep growing and producing new blossoms even after the fruit is set. Indeterminate tomatoes produce fruit clusters along their stems.
Indeterminate tomato plants continue to grow and produce tomatoes, limited only by the length of the season until frost kills the vine. These plants produce stems, leaves, and fruit as long as they are alive. Harvest may last for several months.
Tomato growers seldom allow tomato plants to actually vine. Indeterminate tomato plants will require substantial staking or caging to support what can become a large 180 to 300cm (6 to 10 ft) heavy plant. They require stakes to keep the plant from sprawling on the ground.
The majority of tomato varieties are indeterminate, including most heirlooms, most cherry types and large salad varieties
Semi-determinate plants, as the name implies, are somewhere between the two main types.
The plants are generally larger than determinate (bush types) but smaller than Indeterminate plants usually growing 90 to 150cm (3 to 5ft) These plants usually require some staking. Semi-determinates are best grown to just three or four stems.
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
- Additional Information
Average Seed Count 10 Seeds Common Name Cherry Tomato
Vine / Cordon (Indeterminate)
Family Solanaceae Genus Lycopersicon Species esculentum Cultivar F1 Sungold Hardiness Half Hardy Annual Fruit Orange, cherry type fruits 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.