Introducing the Flavorful Juliet Tomato

Looking to add a burst of flavor to your recipes? Look no further than the Juliet Tomato! This small red plum tomato variety is a must-try for any tomato lover. With its delectable taste and easy-growing nature, the Juliet Tomato is sure to become a favorite in your garden.

The All-Round Juliet Tomato

The Juliet Tomato is a grape tomato variety that closely resembles mini Roma tomatoes. These AAS award-winning tomatoes have a rich, full flavor that can be enjoyed both fresh and cooked. The high-yielding hybrid plants produce clusters of 1-2 dozen tomatoes on indeterminate vines, ensuring a bountiful harvest. Juliet tomatoes ripen early in the season, with the first tomatoes ready for harvest about 60 days after transplanting.

Juliet tomatoes

A Closer Look at the Juliet Tomato

Juliet Tomatoes are immensely popular as a red grape tomato variety. These small, oblong tomatoes share many characteristics with their larger Roma counterparts. With a glossy red skin and excellent crack resistance, Juliet tomatoes are a beginner-friendly option. Additionally, these tomatoes are naturally resistant to many common tomato diseases.

Introduced in the 1990s, Juliet Tomato is a hybrid variety bred using natural techniques by Known-You Seed. Its outstanding qualities led it to win the All-America Selections Award in 1999.

Being an indeterminate variety, Juliet tomatoes boast vigorous vines that grow longer throughout the season, resulting in more clusters of tomatoes. To support their growth, it’s best to provide them with a tomato cage or stake. These plants can reach heights of 6-10 feet and offer a long harvest season of about 12 weeks. With well-supported plants, you can expect a remarkable yield of hundreds of tomatoes.

“Juliet: This may be the most popular variety of grape tomatoes. It is an indeterminate hybrid variety with a very sweet flavor that has won several tasting contests.”

  • The Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply, by Cherie Everhart

Taste and Characteristics

Juliet Tomatoes have a delightful sweet taste, characteristic of garden tomatoes. While the flavor isn’t overly complex, it ranks among the highest in quality for red hybrid grape tomatoes. Each tomato weighs approximately 1-2 ounces (28-57g), and there are usually about a dozen tomatoes in a pound. With their 2-inch (5cm) length, these grape tomatoes come in clusters of 12-20 individual fruits.

Growing Juliet Tomatoes from Seed

Growing Juliet Tomatoes from seed is a straightforward process. However, it does require space and some gardening tools. If you prefer convenience, you can also purchase Juliet seedlings from your local garden center or grocery stores.

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To start from seeds, plant them indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date in your area. This usually translates to starting in February to April, depending on your climate.

Supplies for Planting Juliet Tomato Seeds

  • Juliet tomato seeds
  • Seedling potting mix
  • Seedling tray
  • Floral snips
  • Dibber (optional)
  • Seedling heating mat
  • Seedling plant light
  • Seedling watering nozzle or spray bottle

1. Plant Tomato Seeds

Fill the seedling tray with potting soil, ensuring it reaches all the cells. Water the tray to settle the potting mix, adding more if necessary. The seed starting soil mix should be about a half-inch from the top of each cell.

Carefully sow the seeds about a ¼ inch deep in the soil using a seed dibber or your fingertip. You can place 2-3 seeds per cell or one if you have limited seeds. Cover the seeds with a bit of potting mix and give the tray a gentle watering. Allow any excess water to drain from the tray.

2. Add Heat & Light

Place the seedling tray on a flat, stable indoor surface and set up a seedling heating mat underneath. This provides the optimal soil temperature range of 75°-90°F (24°-32°C) for germination. The seeds should sprout within approximately 6 days.

To promote healthy growth, provide supplemental light using a plant light positioned above the seedling tray. Adjust the height of the light as the seedlings grow, ensuring it remains about 4″ above the plants. Aim for 16 hours of light during the day and 8 hours of darkness overnight.

3. Water & Thin Seedlings

Water the seedling tray regularly with a gentle watering can or spray bottle. Once the seedlings are an inch or two tall, you can begin bottom watering them by filling the bottom pan tray with water. This allows the potting mix to absorb moisture and reach the roots.

Choose the strongest seedling in each cell and remove the others once they have their first pair of serrated “true” leaves. Look for a seedling with a thick and straight stem, and remove the weaker ones at the soil line using floral snips.

4. Pot Seedlings Up in Larger Containers

When the seedlings grow to about three times the height of the seedling tray and have three pairs of true leaves, it’s time to transplant them into larger containers. Use a seedling tray with larger cells or plant each seedling in its own individual 4″ wide pot. Up-potting ensures the seedlings have adequate space to continue growing before being planted outdoors.

Seedling tomato plants at the garden center

Planting Juliet Tomato Seedlings Outdoors

Once your Juliet Tomato seedlings are ready, you can transplant them outdoors directly into the ground, raised garden beds, or large container planter pots. When choosing containers, opt for a 10-gallon container at minimum. It’s crucial to provide a full sun planting location with at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day to ensure healthy growth.

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To protect your seedlings, wait until nighttime temperatures are consistently above 50°F (10°C) before planting them outdoors. Frost or temperatures below 43°F (6°C) can damage the tender plants.

Supplies for Planting Juliet Tomato Seedlings

  • Juliet seedling tomato plant
  • Handheld garden cultivator
  • Slow-release organic tomato fertilizer
  • Outdoor watering system
  • Plant label
  • Organic compost
  • Heavy-duty tomato cage

1. Harden off the Tomato Seedlings

Gradually expose your seedlings to outdoor conditions over a week to reduce transplant shock. Start by taking them outside for a few hours a day, gradually increasing their exposure to direct sunlight and wind. Be sure to bring them indoors overnight and provide them with a sheltered area protected from harsh weather conditions.

2. Prepare the Garden Bed

Before planting the seedlings, prepare the garden bed by removing any debris from previous seasons. Work a slow-release granular fertilizer into the top 6″ of the soil, ensuring it’s evenly distributed. Rake the surface flat using a handheld cultivator and water the entire bed thoroughly.

3. Plant the Tomato Seedlings

Remove the bottom leaves from the seedlings and dig a planting hole deep enough to bury a significant portion of the stem. Place the seedling into the hole, ensuring the remaining leaves are well above the soil line. Backfill the hole with soil, gently pressing it down around the stem. Space multiple tomato plants 24″-48″ apart and water them thoroughly after planting.

4. Mulch the Soil

Spread a thin layer of organic mulch, such as homemade or store-bought compost, over the soil surface. This mulch will provide essential nutrients, regulate soil temperatures and moisture levels, and reduce water splashing onto the foliage.

5. Install Tomato Cages

Install tomato cages around each plant to support their growth. Although the cages may initially look large in proportion to the seedlings, the vines will soon wind around them and reach their full height. Juliet tomatoes typically take approximately 70 days from outdoor planting to the first vine-ripened tomatoes.

How to Grow and Care for Juliet Tomato Plants

Juliet Tomato plants can grow to fill a surface area of 24″-36″ wide and 48″-60″ tall or more when provided with proper support. To ensure optimal growth, follow these cultivation tips:

Watering Juliet Tomato Plants

Water your Juliet Tomato plants frequently and consistently to promote healthy growth and large yields. Automated drip irrigation is the easiest watering method, but any method that waters the soil around the base of the plant will suffice. Avoid getting water on the foliage, especially for newly planted seedlings. Adjust the watering schedule based on weather conditions, aiming for regular watering while avoiding sudden water influxes.

Weeding Garden Beds

Regularly weed your garden beds, ideally once or twice a week. Remove small weed seedlings using a handheld cultivator or by plucking them out. Larger weeds can disrupt tomato plant growth and become more challenging to remove.

Pruning Tomato Plants

Juliet Tomato plants grown inside large tomato cages typically require minimal pruning. However, if you’re using tomato stakes, pruning may be necessary to control the plants and prevent toppling. Designate one main stem and gently tie it to the stake every foot. Pruning the bottom leaves can improve air circulation and reduce susceptibility to foliar diseases.

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Fertilizing Tomato Plants

Provide your tomato plants with regular fertilization using either a slow-release granular tomato fertilizer or a water-soluble tomato fertilizer. Follow the instructions and frequency guidelines on the fertilizer packaging. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers, as they may result in excessive foliage growth and fewer tomatoes.

Protecting Tomatoes from Pests

As tomatoes ripen, they become targets for various pests and wildlife. Protect your plants from slugs, snails, ants, birds, rabbits, and deer by using protective measures such as crushed eggshells, horticultural diatomaceous earth, bird netting, or deer fencing. Remove any tomato hornworms you find, and consider introducing natural predators like ladybugs.

Growing Juliet Tomatoes

Harvesting Ripe Juliet Tomatoes

For the best flavor, it’s recommended to leave Juliet Tomatoes on the vine until they ripen. The first tomatoes typically ripen about 60 days after transplanting, and you can expect a cluster of 1-2 dozen tomatoes. Ripe tomatoes have a glossy red peel and a slight softness when gently squeezed. Harvest the entire cluster by snipping it off at the base of the vine and enjoy them as soon as possible. If you need a larger harvest at once, you can snip individual tomatoes from multiple clusters.

Juliet tomatoes are indeterminate, meaning they continue to set fruit until early fall or frost. Keep an eye on the weather forecast, as frost can destroy the plants. If frost is imminent, harvest the green tomatoes and ripen them indoors.

Storing Juliet Tomatoes

For long-term storage, Juliet tomatoes can be kept in a cool, dry area for up to a month or two. Select only undamaged tomatoes for storage, and avoid refrigeration as it can negatively affect flavor and texture. Ideal storage temperatures range between 55°-60°F (12°-16°C). Wrap the tomatoes in newspaper or place them in paper bags to prevent contact and encourage ripening. Regularly check the ripening tomatoes and discard any showing signs of rot or mold.

Common Pests and Diseases Affecting Juliet Tomatoes

While Juliet tomatoes are naturally resistant to many common tomato diseases, pests and diseases can still be a concern. Aphids, parasitic nematodes, and various fungal diseases like wilt, anthracnose, early blight, and septoria leaf spot can affect tomato plants. Employ organic pest control methods and good gardening practices to manage these issues, including regular weeding, adequate spacing, proper pruning, and organic treatments if necessary.

Conclusion

Juliet Tomatoes offer a delicious and rewarding addition to your garden. Whether enjoyed fresh or cooked, their extraordinary flavor and disease-resistant nature make them a favorite among gardeners. With proper care and attention, you can cultivate a bountiful harvest of these delectable tomatoes. So why not give Juliet Tomatoes a try in your garden this season?


Ames Farm Center is a great resource for all your gardening needs. Visit their website here.