If you’re looking for a tasty, tangy, sweet tomato, the Momotaro Tomato is the one you want. Also known as the Tough Boy, it’s Japan’s most popular cultivar. It’s fun to grow and a juicy addition to any of your favorite tomato recipes.
Momotaro is the name of a mythical Japanese hero born from a peach. He grew up to become a legendary troll hunter. It’s a fitting namesake for a sweet tomato with a robust and full-bodied flavor.
The Takii Seed company developed the Momotaro Tomato in the latter half of the 20th century to give the Japanese market a delicious fruit that would reinspire Japan’s love for large tomatoes.
The tomato had lost popularity because most growers would pick their large fruit too early, so their skin would stay intact when shipping. Unfortunately, this meant that the fruit was bitter and not too tasty.
On the other hand, the Momotaro has thick, crack-resistant skin and can be harvested and shipped to stores all over the country while maintaining its delicious flavor.
For this reason, within a few decades, the Momotaro took over and became the most popular tomato grown in Japan and is the founder of over 25 different varieties.
Key Features of the Momotaro Tomato
The Momotaro Tomato is indeterminate. This means it will continue to grow and flower throughout the growing season. It’s essential to remember to stake and prune indeterminate tomatoes to get the best fruit.
The fruit on the Momotaro is considered a medium-to-large size or standard tomato. It’s about two to three inches in diameter and weighs about eight ounces. It grows on a vine in a cluster of seven.
As mentioned, this Tough Boy is still a sweet one. It has a high sugar content but is succulent with a peppery taste. It’s also nice to remember that not only are tomatoes delicious, but they’re nutritious, with a high Vitamin C content.
The Momotaro Tomato is excellent for all recipes that require standard tomatoes. However, here are some that I recommend to really highlight the unique taste of this variety:
How to Grow the Momotaro Tomato
How and When to Plant?
Like all tomatoes, Momotaro Tomatoes have some tricks to get them going. One of the most important to keep your eye on is the temperature. You need to keep the soil warm. To do this, I recommend planting indoors about 6 to 8 weeks before the average last frost date, ensuring the indoor soil temperature is above 70° and below 80° Fahrenheit.
Plant them about a 1/4 inch under the soil in small containers. Pot them up to a bigger pot when you see the first true leaves. Then, plant in your garden when temperatures average around 60° Fahrenheit.
The Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes has all the information you need to grow the perfect tomato plant.
Also, like all tomatoes, the Momotaro Tomato loves nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. Before planting your Tough Boy in the garden, turn the ground over at least a foot below the surface to encourage root run and ensure the soil is loose and well-draining. Mix in sand or grit if the dirt is too thick. To get the best fruit, mix in lots of nutrient-rich compost and feed regularly.
Taking Care of Your Momotaro Tomato
Tomatoes are a popular plant amongst gardeners because their fun and relatively easy to care for. The important things to remember are they like warmth, lots of nutrients, lots of sunshine, a healthy water supply, stakes to keep them from touching the ground, and well-draining soil. With indeterminate tomatoes, like the Momotaro, you need to stay on top of pruning as well.
One of my favorite jobs with tomatoes is the pruning process. You do this to help open up the plant, allowing more sun and air to hit the fruits and foliage. This is essential for preventing diseases and mildew. Pruning also encourages all the nutrients to go to the fruits that you will eventually harvest.
Check out Pruning Indeterminate Tomatoes in 5 Easy Steps for an easy step-by-step process to make sure you get the best fruit and the strongest plant.
Seeing your plant fresh and clean after giving it a nice haircut is extremely satisfying. Plus, all those snipped pieces make for good compost.
Harvesting the Momotaro Tomato
The Momotaro Tomato is an extra-early variety. They take about 70 to 80 days from sowing to produce ripened fruit. They start green and become a deep vibrant red.
I love the steps in How to Harvest Tomatoes that help you determine when your fruit is ripe.
You can snip the tomato off the vine early to allow it to ripen slowly, or when it’s perfectly ripe, gently pull on the Momotaro and allow it to drop into the palm of your hand.
Diseases to Watch Out for
There is a reason the Momotaro is called the Tough Boy. It’s resistant to some of the more common tomato issues like Fusarium Wilt R2, Verticillium, Stemphylium Gray Spot Leaf, Root-Rot Nematodes, and Tomato Mosaic Virus. It’s also crack-resistant.
Other Ways to Grow Tomatoes
There are a bunch of different ways you can grow tomatoes. You can grow them in pots, indoors, or even upside down. No matter the size or location of your garden area, you should be able to grow the Momotaro Tomato.
Where to Buy the Momotaro Tomato Seeds
The troll-hunter tomato, while extremely popular in Japan, is fairly rare everywhere else. Fortunately, here is a convenient source for grabbing your Momotaro seeds:
The Mythical Momotaro
This humble tomato is the most popular in Japan for a reason. It’s delicious, nutritious, and tough. It has a high fruit yield and can defend itself against most common tomato diseases. Its flavor is a great accent or centerpiece to any dish, and its tangy succulence makes it a joy to bite into.
If you’re interested in learning more about tomatoes, I recommend checking out this thorough article that covers all aspects of Tomato Plants.