A lot of people love growing tomatoes, but they can be a little intimidated by the prospect of growing an heirloom variety.
Heirloom tomatoes come in all shapes and sizes, and each has its own unique flavor. They’re also beautiful plants that add color and interest to any garden.
Pineapple tomatoes are a great choice for beginning tomato growers because they’re easy to grow and have a really unique flavor. In this post, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about growing pineapple tomatoes at home – from planting to harvesting and everything in between.
What is a pineapple tomato?
The pineapple tomato is an heirloom variety. Unlike common hybrid tomatoes, heirlooms are open-pollinated and have been grown over and over again for generations.
The pineapple tomato is a large beefsteak-type with a yellowish skin and red striping – hence its pineapple-like appearance. The flesh is even more unique, with its blend of red, pink, orange, and yellow colors.
This heirloom tomato is not only tasty but adds a striking pop of color to your vegetable garden.
What do Pineapple tomatoes taste like?
The pineapple tomato’s unique taste has made it a favorite among gardeners, chefs, and home cooks alike.
As the name implies, pineapple tomatoes are slightly sweet and lower in acid than the typical red tomato. The flesh is also creamier and juicier, making pineapple tomatoes the perfect addition to sandwiches, salads, or salsas.
Where did the pineapple tomato come from?
The pineapple tomato is thought to have originated in Kentucky (a region known for growing delicious bicolor tomatoes), though very little is known about its exact origin.
Despite its lack of historical origins, it’s widely regarded as one of the best-tasting tomatoes available and has been grown for generations by gardeners all over the world.
Growing Pineapple Tomato
This slicing tomato is an indeterminate vining variety that needs plenty of vertical space to climb.
Pineapple tomatoes can be grown from seed and have a germination rate of about 70-80%. You can also usually find pineapple tomato seedlings from your local plant nursery or often at your local farmer’s market.
Since the tomato is an indeterminate variety, it’s best to give pineapple tomato plants a vertical stake or outer support cage for their heavy fruits and if you plan on growing in containers, you will need to use large buckets or grow bags with some sort of framing trellis to give them the support they need.
Pineapple tomatoes should be planted in a sunny, well-draining location in your garden or in large containers with adequate drainage.
Not only do these heirloom tomatoes prefer full sun, but they also need fertile soil with a pH between 6.0-7.5. If your soil is not nutrient-dense, it can be amended with organic matter or with a light application of balanced fertilizer.
It’s best to use a support structure, such as a stake or cage, when planting since pineapple tomatoes grow quickly and produce heavy fruits. Using supports will also help reduce the risk of disease by keeping the tomatoes off the soil and making harvesting much easier.
All tomatoes love water, and these are no different. When first planting, be sure to water them in deeply and then water them regularly while the plants are establishing themselves. Once established, they will need a minimum of one inch of water per week, so be sure to water regularly during hot, dry summer months. Watering should be done in the early morning or late evening to avoid evaporation and we recommend using either a soaker hose or adrip irrigation system to ensure their root systems are getting the water they need.
Harvesting Pineapple Tomatoes
Pineapple tomatoes will take about 70-80 days after transplanting to maturity and can be harvested when the fruits reach full maturity. You will know they are ripe when they turn yellow-orange in color and have a slightly soft texture.
To harvest, simply pick the pineapple tomato from the vine and check for any signs of imperfections or damage such as cracking or discoloration.
Once harvested, pineapple tomatoes should be stored at room temperature and will keep for up to a week…if they last that long.
Common Pests and Diseases
Aphids, hornworms, and root-knot nematodes are the most common pests your tomatoes may encounter in the garden.
Aphids can be rinsed off with a strong spray of water, and hornworms can be picked off by hand. Hornworms can be tricky to find, and they easily blend into the foliage of the tomato plant, but they glow under a blacklight, so checking for these pests at night is a good idea.
Root-knot nematodes are not as easy to control and can cause stunted growth, yellowing foliage, and poor fruit production. If you suspect your pineapple tomatoes are being affected by nematodes, the best course of action is to rotate crops or treat them with a natural nematicide.
The main disease your tomato plants may encounter is blight. Proper spacing and air circulation can help reduce the risk of blight, and it is important to remove any affected foliage or tomatoes from the plant immediately.
How tall does Pineapple tomato plants get?
Pineapple tomatoes can grow as tall as 6-7 feet and should be staked or caged for support.
Do pineapple tomatoes need pruning?
Yes, pineapple tomato plants should be pruned to encourage growth and reduce the risk of disease.
How long does it take for a pineapple tomato to ripen?
It usually takes around 70-80 days after transplanting for pineapple tomatoes to ripen.
Do pineapple tomatoes actually taste like pineapples?
Not exactly. Pineapple tomatoes have a sweet and tart taste with notes of pineapple and tropical fruit but they aren’t as sweet as an actual pineapple.
Are pineapple tomatoes determinate or indeterminate?
Pineapple tomatoes are indeterminate, meaning they will continue to grow and produce until the last frost of the season.
Pineapple tomatoes may be small in size, but there is a big flavor packed into them. With their sweet and tart flavor, pineapple tomatoes make for a delicious addition to any plate, salad, or salsa. They require little maintenance and will reward you with an abundance of juicy, multi-colored fruits and make a great addition to any home garden!