Sweet and quick to ripen, Sungold tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum "Sungold") are a favorite in the summer garden. These little orange-yellow cherry tomatoes take just 60 days to start ripening, and they continue producing through the summer. Growing Sungold tomatoes well takes the right combination of sun, nutritious soil, well-timed fertilizer and consistent water. Sungold tomatoes, like other tomato varieties, are frost-sensitive perennials commonly grown as annuals in the summer garden. In U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 11, they can survive winters.
Soil Preparation, Plating Time and Spacing
Sungold tomatoes need full sun -- a minimum of six hours per day -- and well-draining loamy soil with lots of nutrients. Use seasoned compost to get the soil ready before planting. Use a 3-inch-deep layer and mix it 6 inches deep. A garden fork or tiller both work well for this job.
Space new transplants -- also called starts -- 36 inches apart either staggered or in rows. Plant once the soil reaches 60 degrees Fahrenheit and no further winter frost is predicted.
Supporting the Plants
This lanky indeterminate tomato variety gets 5 to 6 feet tall and will sprawl all over the ground without support. Set a 6-foot-tall tomato cage around each plant and sink it into the soil when the seedlings are still small. As the seedling grows, gently encourage the stalk to grow up through the cage. Tomato plants are fragile and will snap easily, so handle them carefully through the growing season.
Fertilizing Through the Growing Season
When the first little green tomatoes start to develop, fertilize with nitrogen fertilizer such as a 33-0-0 formula. Sprinkle 2 1/2 teaspoons on the soil at the base of each plant.
Apply a second dose of fertilizer -- use a more balanced 5-10-5 blend for this one -- two weeks after the first Sungold tomatoes take on their characteristic gold-orange color. Sprinkle 1/2 cup per plant on the soil around the base. Spread the fertilizer in a circle 4 to 8 inches away from the stalk. Follow up with one more round of fertilizing four weeks later using the same fertilizer and measurements.
Always water after fertilizing. This causes the fertilizer to start breaking down and feeding the roots under the soil.
Watering Without Overwatering
Growing juicy, sweet Sungold tomatoes takes a delicate balancing of regular watering without overwatering. Water slowly using a soaker setting on the hose until soil is damp at least 6 inches deep. Before you water, check the soil, letting it dry out 2 to 3 inches deep before you water again. In hot weather check the moisture daily.
Tomatoes like it hot and sunny, which causes the soil to dry out rapidly. Mulch helps keep the moisture consistent. Clean, seed-free straw or pine needles are light and effective. Layer the mulch 3 inches deep over the soil but leave 1 to 2 inches of space between the edge of the mulch and the tomato stalk.
- Photo Credit ErikaMitchell/iStock/Getty Images
The Best Tomato Varieties for Ohio
Ohio is the second leading commercial producer of tomatoes in the United States, behind California, and the tomato is the official state...
The Best Tomato Varieties for Flavor
Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) come in different shapes, sizes, colors and tastes, with many varieties available. Fruit flavor depends on the blend of...