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Growing tomatoes Step by step with
pictures San Marzano
by geekgardener | Tomatoes | 12 comments


Growing San Marzano Tomatoes

Before we get started, I have a question for you. Answer this.Is tomato a fruit or a vegetable?

While you are busy

thinking about it, lets
proceed with this post.
This post is about a
variety of tomato called
San Marzano. This
variety is considered the
best choice for
production. While I like
that part, the main
reason I chose this Growing San Marzano Tomatoes

variety was not the usage

of this tomato but its
unique shape.
Differently shaped tomatoes are fun to watch and grow. This variety is unique, in that it bears long
tubular fruits. I think the image below will give you an idea of what I am trying to say.

This tomato has a lot to offer. The plants are little slow to start to yield (in my case) but once they
started the yield was non-stop and we were tired of harvesting red ripe tomatoes. The red ripe
tomatoes on the plant are a pleasure to watch. Coming to the taste and flavor, youve got to try this
tomato to see what I am saying. Be it cooking or for fresh consumption. This one is very good. The
fruit becomes a paste within minutes of cooking. One cannot find the tomato at all in the final
dish.It is very pulpy, less seeds and juicy, making it the best candidate for sauce making.
Convinced? Now to the growing part of it. The growing method for this tomato isnt different.
Growing method in detail below. Growing tomatoes is not only lots of fun but you get lots of
tomatoes at the end!

Seed starting san marzano tomatoes

Start the seeds of san
marzano tomatoes is no
different from other tomato
varieties. Choosing good
quality seeds and starting
medium are key to success
in getting them to
Materials you need:
Potting mix . You can also
make it using a mix of
Cocopeat plug or Cocopeat San Marzano Tomatoes Seedlings

or Cocopeat+compost mix (
Tray to place the seedlings or Propagation Tray
Watering can
Polythene sheet.
Pre-germination Procedure:
Take the cocopeat plug or the cocopeat mix and moist them with water. It shouldnt be too wet.
If you squeeze the mix, some water should come but it shouldnt pour. I think you get the idea. If
you are using cocopeat plugs, simply soak them in a cup of water and you can take them out
once they have expanded.
Make a small depression on the cocopeat surface such that it is roughly 1cm deep. Sow a couple
of seeds per hole. If one doesnt germinate, the other might. There is a chance that both might
germinate. In that case, we have to just remove the weaker one.
Cover the seeds with cocopeat. Remember the depth of the seed is roughly 1cm.
Cover the top of the tray with Polythene sheet. This helps in two ways
It keeps the seedling mix from drying out by holding the humidity intact.
It protects the seeds from flying away or from rain etc..
The seeds should germinate in 5-7 days. Sometimes sooner and sometimes it does take up to 10
days. Anything more than that is probably a waste of time. Check if insects have taken away
your seeds by just gently remove the mix that covers the seed.


Once the seeds have

germinated, you
have to remove the
polythene sheet that
covers the seedlings.
It is also the right
time to move them
to a place that gets
good sunlight. If
thats not an option, Growing San Marzano Tomatoes[
find a place with at
least 4 hours of
sunlight. This act of moving the seedlings to a sunny spot is very important. Failing to do so will
result in plants that are lanky, stretched and tall. This is an indication that the plants are trying to
find out the source of light and moving towards the light. Phototropism!! Does it ring a bell?
Fertilizer application at this point is very essential. You can add a teaspoon of water soluble
fertilizer N-P-K 19-19-19 to a liter of water and water the seedlings every week. If you had already
mixed compost to your seedling mix, this step is not necessary.

Planting san marzano tomatoes

Transplanting is simply a process of moving the seedling to a more permanent location where it
will grow older and yield fruits ( that is if you take care of them well ;). Tomato prefers a large size
pot. When I say large size, I mean 10-15 liters capacity. Not that the plants wont yield in smaller
pots, they will yield more with bigger pots. A 12 pot should be sufficient. One can grow them in a
polybag as well. One plant per pot/bag is recommended. If you have a much bigger pot, two plants
can be planted.

Planting tomatoes How to plant tomatoes

Tomato plants are
transplanted as shown in the
picture below. I have put
two in a pot ( 20 liter
capacity). The ideal potting
mix for growing tomatoes
in pots are a mixture of
cocopeat and compost, if
one wants to grow them
organically. Tomato plants
needs lots of nutrients in the
growing phase and during Growing San marzano tomatoes

fruiting phase. It is essential

to add compost regularly (
every week or 10 days) to the container. A weakly (pun intended) dose of 19-19-19 NPK will give
the additional boost for the plant. Compost made from kitchen waste is also a good source of
I also transplanted couple of plants in container filled with just perlite to study the differences.
More on that in a different post.

If you are growing tomatoes hydroponically, you can just use Perlite or cocopeat for the potting
mix. The nutrient solution suggestions can be found the forum in this site. Hydroponic nutrient
meant for tomato must be watered to the plant on a daily basis.

Staking Tomatoes
San Marzano variety is actually indeterminate and can grow very tall. The ones I got the were
semi-determinate. They grow to a height of up to 4-5 feet and they branch a lot. If you want them
to grow taller, remove the branches. Otherwise just leave them be. Tie the plants stems to a pole
using a twine. The plants yield in bunches and the weight can break the stem if not staked properly.

A Week later
Another week later

Caring for tomatoes

Maintenance involves regular checking for pests, ensuring watering is done properly to the plants
and also checking for abnormalities in the plant. Regularly taking a look at the plants can help us
prevent many diseases/insects in a much earlier stage. The following problems might come.


Mealy bug
Spider mites
Leaf Miner

Neem oil at the rate of 10ml per liter sprayed on the leaves of the plant should control these pests.
When the plants start to flower and set fruits, regular watering is very crucial and addition of
fertilizer is important. Deficiencies like calcium will start to manifest in the form of a blossom end
rot. There are two ends to a fruit. Stem end and blossom end. Stem end is the side of the fruit
attached to the stem. Blossom end is the opposite side to it ( farther from the stem). If you see black
rotten half near the blossom end, it is blossom end rot aka BER. It means either there is a calcium
deficiency in your mix or you havent been watering the plants regularly. If you do get calcium
deficiency, do not PANIC!. A simple way of fixing it is to add lime (chunam). Just a pinch. Your
local pan shop might help you with this.

Harvesting tomatoes

If you are taking good care of your plants, then harvest should be bountiful.
I always let the fruits ripen on the plant. Fruits ripened that way are far more superior in taste and
flavor. San Marzano has a unique characteristic. The fruits automatically drop off to the floor when
they are ripened enough. You just have to walk to your garden and pick up the fruits that are
ripened to perfection.

Graded, sorted San Marzano fruits.

Below: San Marzano along with some Non Marzano fruits. There is plenty for all.

Hope you all enjoyed this post. Remember I asked you a question in the beginning of the post?
Tomato, Is it a fruit or a vegetable.

Botanically speaking, tomato is a fruit. A fruit is one that has seeds which comes from a flower
after pollination. But the sugar content of the tomato is not high enough to call it a fruit, making
tomato a vegetable. Doesnt matter its fruit or a vegetable.. tomato or tomaato.. we continue to love
them Tomatoes!



Article Name Growing San Marzano tomatoes

Description San Marzano tomatoes are a heirloom variety

of tomato well known for their usage in canning

and sauce making. These are determinate

plants yielding pulpy tomatoes in about 12

weeks time. This articles explains step by step

with pictures, how to grow san marzano


Author geekgardener

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Kalyan on June 18, 2014 at 12:43 pm
Where can we get seeds ?


geekgardener on June 18, 2014 at 1:25 pm

You can get it from Garden Guru


Nestor on June 18, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Hello Sir,

I plan to make recirculating drip dutch bucket and use coco ber only as media in growing
Id like to get your opinion if this is viable? Because from where I am it is hard to nd
perlite to mix it with coco ber. So I decided to use coco ber only.

I hope to hear from you soon.



geekgardener on June 23, 2014 at 9:53 am

Using cocober/peat is a good option to proceed with. Make sure the cocopeat is not
too ne. A little coarse mix is good. You dont necessarily need perlite. You can
substitute with expanded clay or even coarse sand.


naresh601 on June 23, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Hello GG,

Can we use red soil+Coco peat(50:50) to grow tommmatos in a container?


geekgardener on June 23, 2014 at 7:32 pm

red soil and cocopeat can be used however, some source of nutrients should also be
added. You will have to mix either 1/3rd compost and weekly dose of NPK.


vinod on July 14, 2014 at 5:03 pm


In how many days will this plant start yielding.

My plants have just started to germinate.



Chris on August 13, 2014 at 5:12 am

A simple way of xing it is to add lime (chunam). Just a pinch. Your local pan shop might
help you with this.

What is a pan shop?


seema on November 3, 2014 at 12:57 pm

My tomato plants seem to dry leaves but tomatoes do come. and once leaves start drying
the tomato growth slows down.
Currently I am using photonics-19 (herbal extract10/1ltr) and Ful Gel (bio stimuli 60sc)and
BT viagro. the names are as written on bottles.
Am also spraying neemazal-t/s and vedant greensil(silicon foliar spray) diluting in water.
Please advice whether i am using correct fertilizers?


A Datt on November 17, 2014 at 6:52 pm

Using NPK as fertilizer ..
I just want to know are NPK organic fertilizers available

Meghana on December 14, 2014 at 3:32 pm
Technically, most vegetables that grow above ground are fruits. Its just a culinary
distinction that the ones that are not sweet are called vegetables. That is of course,
excluding roots and underground stems like potatoes, carrots, radishes etc.


GreeNeem on April 22, 2015 at 11:46 am

Coco peat is multi purpose growing media..Here i found very good information. We are
leading coco peat supplier in India.


1. Growing tomatoes from seedHow to plant tomato seeds | Urban Gardening, Terrace
gardening and Hydroponics - [] Fruit Shape (E.g Cherry tomato, san marzano) []
2. Growing tomatoes from seedHow to plant tomato seeds | producertoconsumers - [] Fruit
Shape (E.g Cherry tomato, san marzano) []


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