How do I grow ‘Solar Fire’ tomatoes?
Are Solar Fire tomato plants determinate or indeterminate?
Are Solar Fire tomato plants resistant to disease?
Solar Fire is resistant to Verticillium and Fusarium wilt and to gray leaf spot.
Solar Fire is a hybrid tomato plant.
Not to be confused with the beefsteak heirloom variety ‘Solar Flare’, ‘Solar Fire’ is a hybrid tomato variety with a determinate growth habit.
Solar Fire tomato plants, and indeed tomatoes, grow well in high summertime heat – heat that would be enough to stop other tomato varieties from even setting fruit.
In wet climes, Solar Fire tomatoes are resistant to cracking. Thus, Solar Fire tomatoes are an excellent variety for the gardener who resides in hot, humid areas that are wet.
Solar Fire disease resistance: These tomato plants are resistant to the two main wilting diseases: Verticillium and Fusarium. They’re also resistant to gray leaf spot.
In Zones 3 through 14 they grow to 5 feet in height. The fruit, which on average weighs around 8 ounces is generally medium-sized.
Solar Fire tomato plants can be planted either in springtime or in the summer months. Typically, from the time of transplanting you’ll be enjoying your first tomato harvest around 70-75 days later.
How to Grow ‘Solar Fire’ Tomato Plants
Dig your compost into the first 8 inches of soil prior to planting your tomato plants.
As is the case with all tomato plants, Solar Fire prefers the soil to be slightly acidic or neutral – around pH 6.5-7.0. If your soil is on the alkaline side, add peat moss (much preferably a peat moss that comes from a renewable source). If your soil is very alkaline dig in some lime.
Any soil amendments should be added in advance of planting your tomatoes so they have time to fully incorporate – ideally in late fall or early spring.
You can also add your fertilizer at the same time as you’re making other soil amendments. This is in addition to fertilizing at the planting stage.
Look for a fertilizer with an N-P-K (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) ratio of 6-24-24. The lower nitrogen ratio means your tomato plants will not be encouraged to grow too large at the expense of the root system and, of course, your tomatoes. For every 50 square feet of soil, add 1 lb of fertilizer.
2. Make sure you plant your Solar Fire tomato plants in full sun.
The soil temperature should already be above 50 degrees F when you transplant. You can either stake your tomato plants or utilize a cage.
3. Use a starter tomato fertilizer to add to each individual tomato plant when planting.
Follow the instructions on the label.
It’s best not to presume that by adding additional fertilizer your plants and fruit will be all the better for it. This is not the case. So, as mentioned, stick to the label instructions provided by the manufacturer since the fertilizer has already been tested, over and over again, for best results.
4. Depending on the prevailing weather conditions, on average, you’ll want to water your tomato plants with a couple of inches of water each week.
If there’s any sign that the leaves are wilting (going soft and floppy), particularly so the lower leaves, chances are that your plants require additional water.
Water your tomato plants during the morning hours. Add water around the base of the plant and not over the leaves. Try to prevent splash-back when you water the base of each plant. Splash-back encourages fungal disease.
Add mulch around the base of each plant to a depth of between 2 and 4 inches. This will help to retain soil moisture. Ideally, you want to keep the mulch away from the stem of the plant but this is not always possible.
5. Mulching, besides helping to retain soil moisture, also helps to suppress weed growth.
If weeds do appear, you’ll want to pull them out as weeds compete for moisture and for soil-based nutrition. Plus, weeds can harbor pests and diseases and those pests and diseases can spread to your tomato plants.
What are Solar Fire Tomatoes Good for in the Kitchen?
Sweet and packed full of flavor Solar Fire tomatoes are ideal for slicing. Add to your sandwiches, to salads, or eat them fresh off the bush.