Defiant VF2/PhR (Hybrid Bush Tomato)
Latin Name: Lycopersicum esculentum
Item #: 343D
TOMATOES - for canning and fresh market
Approx. 9,000 seeds per oz/28 g (3,000-6,000 plants per oz/28 g
GREENHOUSE: For extra early harvests in July start seed from Feb.15th to Mar. 1st., regular commercial crops from Mar. 15th. to Apr. 1st. Home Gardeners should sow directly into Jiffy 7's, April 15th at 2 seeds per pot (not transplanting). We germinate in Jiffy Mix rather than soil because it requires less watering, develops better root systems and seedling growth is much easier to control. Soak Jiffy Mix thoroughly with warm water before seeding. Sow in rows 0.25 in/6 mm deep, approx. 500 seeds per (20x12 in/51x31 cm) flat or about 6-8 seeds per in/25 mm. Cover seed and firm. Maintain soil temp. of 75°F/24°C for 5 to 12 days. As seedlings break the soil, lower soil temps. to 65°F/19°C, then to 60°F/16°C when they are erect.
TRANSPLANT: in 15 to 20 days when seedlings have at least 2 true leaves. To hold seedlings for 3 or 4 days, lower temp. To 45-50°F/8-10°C. Use sterilized soil if possible, a mixture of equal parts of sand, peat and loam (increase sand and peat with clay loam). From this point on the grower must have complete control over watering (no leaks or drips). Transplant at 75 per flat then move extra early types a second time to 3 in/8 cm peat pots or 50 per flat, about 21 days later. Steady slow growth is important. Feed lightly with soluble 10-20-20 about 3 days after transplanting. Roots should be established in 10 days. Water thoroughly, too many light waterings cause weak surface roots and soft growth. To control growth and harden plants, do not water until you see the first signs of wilt on the outside leaves. Grow cool at 55-60°F/13-16°C if late May frosts delay field planting, trim about 0.25-0.5 in/6-13 mm of side leaves (not tops) this will check growth slightly. Transplant outside after danger of frost in rows 4.5-5 ft/137-152 cm apart and 16-24 in/40-61 cm apart in the row. Cold nights, as buds form, cause deformed fruit. Control bugs and disease every 10 days. Fertilize lightly every week till mid July.
CONTAINER CULTURE: Transplant into 12 in/31 cm wide patio pots about May 20th. Do not remove suckers. To prevent central vines from cracking due to the weight of hanging fruit, support central stems (at ground level only) with short wires at the base of the plant.