The San Marzano Tomato is an Italian plum tomato celebrated around the world for its sweet, low-acid flavor, its firm pulp with few seeds, and an easy-to-remove skin, making it a fine choice for preserving whole in juice or using off the vine in sauces fit for a pizza or any other tomato-centric dish.
Start indoors 6 weeks before your average last frost date. Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep and press gently for good seed-to-soil contact. Keep warm (between 70°F and 80°F) and moist for germination within 14 days. Seedlings need at least 14 hours of bright light to form sturdy stems. A fluorescent shop-lamp suspended just above the leaves should be adequate.
When outdoor nighttime temperatures are consistently over 60°F, harden-off seedlings over 7 days before transplanting every 2 feet into soil rich with organic matter, in full sun. While San Marzano tomatoes are determinate–they have a fixed height rather than an endless vine–it’s helpful to stake, cage, or trellis the plants, as they may reach 5 feet in height and become heavy with fruit. Water deeply and regularly, and feed every few weeks with a low-nitrogen fertilizer.
San Marzano tomatoes reach maturity in about 80 days. Harvest fruits when fully colored, but still firm.
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