Growing Tomato San Marzano
in Northeast Florida Vegetable Gardens
Tomato San Marzano is considered a plum tomato and is the classic Italian paste tomato perfect for sauce making. The intense flavor is complex and sweet.
The once hard to find Tomato San marzano was once localized to the Italian market and grown only in the rich volcanic soils near Mount Vesuvius. Although lore says that those rich volcanic soils and the Mediterranean climate give Tomato San Marzano their distinct flavor, they still seem to be making a name for themselves here in America, volcanic soils or not! Rapidly gaining popularity both in home gardens and on the shelves at grocery stores, San Marzano tomato has quickly become an American favorite.
The San Marzano tomato is a little thinner and longer than a traditional American plum tomato and has a pointed end rather than rounded. The thicker flesh, low acidity, and fewer seed count, along with the ease of removing them from their skins makes San Marzano an excellent sauce tomato selection. One of my personal favorite tomato plants that I think should be in every garden, every year!
Indeterminate tomato selection. Harvest 75-85 days.
Origins, Foliage, Fruit and Use of San Marzano Tomato for Northeast Florida vegetable gardens:
San marzano tomato Originated in Europe in the 17th century and is a classic Italian sauce tomato for Neapolitan style Pizza.
The San Marzano tomato fruit is a little thinner and longer, about an inch wide and 2-5 inches in length, than a traditional American plum tomato and has a pointed end rather than rounded. The thicker flesh, low acidity, and fewer seed count, along with the ease of removing them from their skins makes San Marzano an excellent sauce tomato selection.
Although San Marzano tomatoes are world renowned sauce tomatoes I still love to eat them fresh sliced on sandwiches and in salads. Or slice them in half long ways and throw them in your vegetable stir fry, and of coarse, San Marzano’s are perfect for preserving and fresh sauce making any way you serve them they are delicious!
Planting Season for San Marzano Tomato in Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida and the surrounding areas:
Tomatoes are considered a warm season crop, they are frost sensitive and should only be planted in frost free months in Northeast Florida vegetable gardens. However, tomato growing season is split into two seasons in Northeast Florida as tomato production will slow to nearly nothing during the hottest summer months of June and July.
Start your tomato plants in February from seed, and February straight through March and April from S & J Nursery transplants. The second growing season for tomato plants in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area garden is August and September, San Marzano plum tomatoes can be planted out again in those months and allowed to grow up until the first killing frost.
Sun Exposure for growing San Marzano Tomatoes in Northeast Florida Vegetable Gardens:
Plant your Tomato San Marzano in a full sun or afternoon sun location for the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area garden. Make sure they will receive a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight for best results.
Soil Preferences for San Marzano Tomato in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine Florida areas:
San Marzano tomato plants will do best in the Northeast Florida garden when grown in soils that have been generously amended with compost and cow manure. Be sure to plant into well drained soils and not in an are that will have standing water after a hard rain.
Care of San Marzano Tomato in the Northeast Florida Vegetable Garden:
Staking your San Marzano Tomato plant:
San Marzano tomato is a fast growing indeterminate variety that is a heavy producer of inch wide by 2-5 inch long fruits. Traditional tomato cages will not be large enough to contain them unless heavy pruning is done. Consider making your own tomato cage from heavy duty cow fencing and make sure to strap it down with posts so your beautiful crop of San Marzano tomatoes don’t end up all over the ground after a North Florida rains storm.
Watering your San Marzano Tomato Plants:
Newly planted tomato plants will require watering daily for the first few days to a week after being planted from seed or transplanted from an S & J Nursery container.
Once the tomato plants are established and growing, be sure to keep the soil moist by watering at least twice per week if rainfall is scarce. Container grown tomato plants will need watered 3 to 4 times per week, or every time the top two inches of soil is dry to the touch.
Mulching your San Marzano Tomato plants:
For maximum growth potential, mulching plants generously, this will help conserve moisture.
Fertilizing Your Tomato plants:
Feed every two to three weeks with an all purpose fertilizer like 6-6-6.
Or for an organic approach, try fertilizing with a mixture of fish emulsions and seaweed (kelp) at one ounce each per gallon of water. Apply semi weekly as a foliar spray.
If your vegetable plants look like they could use a boost, give them a good watering with homemade compost tea as soon as the top few inches of soil around your plant is dry to the touch!
Harvesting Your San Marzano Tomato in the Northeast Florida Vegetable Garden:
Tomato San marzano can be harvested when green and allowed to ripen indoors if needed but best flavor will develop when they are allowed to ripen on the plant and picked when fully red.
Store Tomato San Marzano at room temperature for 2-3 days once picked from the vine. For best results do not refrigerate.
Expect tomatoes to be ready to harvest from your San Marzano tomato plants in 75-85 days from planting.