How to grow a Rapunzel tomato – secrets of an unusual variety with luxurious, colorful tomato braids
In 2014, breeders from the UK presented a new tomato variety called Rapunzel at the agricultural achievement exhibition in the United States. A hybrid with an unusual appearance, despite its “youth”, has already won the hearts of many gardeners, who figured out how to grow a Rapunzel tomato and share their secrets with colleagues.
Description of the variety
Rapunzel is an interesting variety of cherry tomatoes. It got its beautiful name for the long branches hanging down and resembling the braids of the famous fairytale heroine Rapunzel, known for her long hair. The variety is resistant to many diseases and pests, thanks to the work of breeders. He is tall, the stems grow up to 2.5 meters and descend in a cascade. The root system is powerful, pivotal. Flexible, thin branches grow a large number of large, dark green leaves.
According to the description, the Rapunzel tomatoes are early maturing, the harvest is harvested 75 days after germination. The fruits are collected in beautiful long clusters, located one opposite the other. Each cluster grows up to 40 small, rounded tomatoes, the size of a walnut, weighing 15 – 25 g.
A distinctive feature of the Rapunzel variety is the almost complete absence of barren flowers. From each flower, after pollination, a fruit appears.
More than 5 lashes grow on one bush, yielding 5-6 kg of tasty fruits. Tomatoes are glossy, when ripe they acquire a bright red color inside and out, elastic to the touch. Tomatoes have a pleasant sourish-sweet taste, rich. Inside, they are juicy, fleshy. Contains 2 chambers with a small amount of small seeds.
How to grow a Rapunzel tomato on a balcony, in a greenhouse, in unprotected soil
The plant feels good on loggias, balconies, greenhouses, in the southern regions it can be grown in open beds. On balconies, in heated greenhouses, it bears fruit all year round with proper care.
Since growing Rapunzel tomatoes requires a lot of attention, gardeners study all the subtleties of the process in advance. The hybrid has a lot of whims:
- The soil for planting it must be slightly acidic..
- The tomato needs a lot of space due to its tallness and the obligatory tying of long lashes to the supports, otherwise they will touch the ground, and part of the crop will rot.
- The plant needs abundant sunshine, regular feeding, high air temperature (at least +22 degrees during the day and + 17 at night) so that the beautiful tomato braids do not wilted.
- If the sun rarely peeps out, additional illumination with special fluorescent lamps is required..
Seed material of the Rapunzel variety is sold only by 2 agricultural firms from the USA – Tomato Growers and Totallu Tomato, you can buy it in foreign online stores.
Features of sowing seeds
Sowing seedlings is carried out from mid to late March.
Seed preparation for planting does not differ from the standard preparatory work carried out for all nightshades:
- Separate empty seeds by placing them in saturated saline solution and stirring. Good seeds suitable for germination will sink to the bottom. The floated ones are thrown away, the rest are washed and dried.
- Etched with potassium permanganate for disinfection in a slightly pink solution of potassium permanganate for 20-25 minutes.
- After processing, the seeds are rinsed, dried again in a well-ventilated shady place.
Rapunzel tomato seeds purchased from the manufacturer do not need preliminary preparation.
They have already been disinfected, treated with growth stimulants, as evidenced by their orange or greenish color. Processing information is indicated on the packaging, so you need to carefully study it.
Peat cups or containers are suitable for seedlings. Prepare the soil by mixing 2 parts of peat, 1 part each of garden soil and humus, adding a glass of ash. Fall asleep in the selected container, but not to the top, but leaving 4-5 cm. Carefully make shallow grooves with a pencil or stick at a distance of 3 cm from each other. Spread the seeds evenly, lightly sprinkle with peat. Watered or sprayed with warm water from a spray bottle. Cover with foil and put away in a warm place where the temperature is on average +25. Every day, a mini-greenhouse is opened for a few minutes for airing so that the seeds do not rot..
Subject to all the rules of agricultural technology, the sprouts will appear on 4-7 days. After pecking them out, the shelter is removed, the container is transferred to a warm, sunny windowsill.
- Provides 16-hour daylight hours. If there is not enough sunlight, the plants are supplemented with phytolamps.
- The temperature is maintained at least +20 degrees.
- Water the seedlings as the top clod of earth dries up, preferably from a spray bottle, so as not to overmoisten the soil. Rapunzel does not like moisture, with an excess of it, tomatoes quickly rot and die.
When 3 true leaves appear, the seedlings dive, transplanting into separate large pots, and continue to look after in the same way..
Transplanting a tomato Rapunzel
Seedlings are planted in the ground when the threat of frost disappears, and the soil warms up to + 15 ° C. This is mid to late May. From sowing the seeds, at least 50 days must pass. Choose a sunny place for planting. The soil in open beds or in a greenhouse is prepared in the fall, digging, adding superphosphate, manure. In the spring, the beds are dug up again, organic and mineral fertilizers are applied, and shallowly loosened. Establish supports for further tie-up of tall plants.
For seedlings, holes are prepared with a depth of 10 cm, placing them at a distance of half a meter from each other. 70 cm are left between the rows. Bushes are carefully planted, sprinkled with peat or fertile soil, gently crushed and watered.
Caring for tomatoes after transplanting
To get a good harvest, Rapunzel tomatoes at home strictly observe agrotechnical nuances. The variety does not tolerate waterlogged soil, it is watered sparingly, once every 5 days, directing a stream under the bush.
Carrying out three dressings:
- The first feeding in the greenhouse, on the balcony and in the open field is carried out on the 11th day after planting the seedlings. The hybrid is fed with organic fertilizers every 2 weeks. If chicken manure or manure is used, then a solution is prepared by diluting a liter of organic matter in 10 liters of water. Insist 3 days. For feeding, 0.5 l of the solution is diluted in a bucket of water, brought under tomato bushes, after having watered them with plain water and loosened the soil.
- The second time the plants are fed during active flowering with the same amount of fertilizer.
- The third feeding is required at the beginning of fruiting, and then every 14 days. The fertilizer concentration for them is doubled..
Formation of a bush is obligatory for such tall plants. This increases the yield, reduces the amount of green mass, and shortens the ripening period. The bush is formed into 1-2 stems. If you leave one stem, the harvest will ripen earlier, and if 2, then it will be more abundant. Timely remove stepchildren growing in the axils between the main branches, and pinch the growth point of the main stem.
A regular garter is also necessary. As the plants grow, new parts of tomato stems are constantly attached to the trellises, otherwise long thin lashes will break under the weight of the fruit.
The plant begins to bear fruit in 2-3 months after pecking the seedlings. At this time, they are closely watching the bushes. According to the description, the Rapunzel tomato belongs to the salad varieties. The fruits spoil quickly, so they are harvested at the stage of milk ripeness and canned. Ripe, and especially overripe tomatoes are not suitable for canning, their thin skin immediately cracks. They are eaten fresh for delicious vitamin salads, vegetable stews and casseroles..
How to grow a Rapunzel tomato on the balcony
Rapunzel grows beautifully on balconies, loggias, decorating them with emerald cascading stems with clusters of bright scarlet tomatoes. There is no particular difference from cultivation in soil. Before growing Rapunzel tomatoes on the balcony, make sure that there is enough space to accommodate the two-meter giant. It is good if the loggia is located on the southern, sunny side, so that the plant has enough sun during the day, and at night the air temperature does not drop below + 15 ° С, during the day it kept at the level of +25 ° С.
For growing on balconies, bushes are planted in 5-10 liter buckets, flowerpots, tubs. It’s not worth making everything with plants, they need space. A couple of bushes are enough.
The containers are soaked in a solution of potassium permanganate for disinfection for 30 minutes. Drainage is poured at the bottom (expanded clay, shards of earthenware), then soil for tomatoes and peppers is poured, seedlings are planted, deepening by 15 cm. Watered with warm water. The rest of Rapunzel’s care is the same as in a greenhouse or open field. Be sure to tie them to the supports, form a bush. The plants on the balcony are fed once every 2 weeks, using complex fertilizers for peppers and tomatoes (Zdraven, Kristallon), diluting them in accordance with the instructions.
The Rapunzel tomato is a hybrid variety, bred quite recently, but has already attracted the attention of many gardeners and gardeners for its unusual appearance, for which it is called “tomato grapes”. Long lashes with tassels of small, bright red tomatoes really resemble vines with juicy bunches. Going down the emerald-ruby cascade, they look beautiful on balconies, in open ground, in a greenhouse, attracting attention and delighting the eye.