How to Plant and Grow ‘Costoluto Genovese’ Tomatoes

  • jack Officer
  • May 25, 2023

Solanum lycopersicum ‘Costoluto Genovese’

Rising ‘Costoluto Genovese’ tomatoes is one solution to expertise a style of Italy and not using a passport or airplane experience.

This heirloom tomato selection hails from Genoa, a Mediterranean port metropolis in northwestern Italy. Its taste is intense and extremely acidic, so it’s a pure alternative for genuine sauce recipes and canning.

It’s additionally scrumptious as a salad tomato or slicer.

A close up vertical image of a pile of freshly harvested 'Costoluto Genovese' tomatoes pictured in bright sunshine. To the top and bottom of the frame is green and white printed text.

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What actually units ‘Costoluto Genovese’ aside are its seems to be. The fruits are engaging, vibrant crimson, and have deeply pleated flesh that produces scalloped edges after they’re sliced.

For those who get pleasure from rising greens with an uncommon look, this one positively matches the invoice.

However don’t make up your thoughts about ‘Costoluto Genovese’ simply but.

I’ve a little bit of background and a bunch of rising tricks to share that can provide help to resolve if this heirloom tomato will swimsuit your property backyard.

Right here’s every part I’ll cowl up forward:

What Are ‘Costoluto Genovese’ Tomatoes?

Like all the tomatoes we develop in our gardens, ‘Costoluto Genovese’ is a cultivar of the Solanum lycopersicum species, which originated in South and Central America.

As is typical for tomatoes, it isn’t in any respect frost hardy, however will be grown as an annual in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 11 or as a young perennial in Zones 8 to 11.

A close up horizontal image of a whole and sliced 'Costoluto Genovese' tomato set on a white plate on a wooden table.

It’s an indeterminate selection, which suggests it produces fruit that ripens all through a chronic harvest season moderately than inside a two- or three-week window.

Most individuals categorize this number of tomato as a beefsteak, as a result of its rounded fruits that may weigh six to eight ounces and style good sliced for sandwiches and salads.

Nevertheless it’s additionally one of many few vining varieties that produces massive fruits whereas nonetheless being thought of a canning tomato.

In different phrases, this selection has a trifold attraction for recent consuming, cooking, and preserving.

Its meaty flesh and tart taste profile lend themselves to Italian delicacies, so it’s no shock to study this heirloom was bred in Genoa close to the flip of the nineteenth century.

Recognized to have traveled extensively in Italy in 1787, Thomas Jefferson grew the tomato in his gardens at Monticello, beginning in 1809.

It’s not a very widespread selection exterior of Italy, nevertheless it does have a number of followers amongst foodies, cooks, and preservationists.

For instance, the oldsters who planted the 1812 Backyard at Historic Fort Osage in 2009 in Sibley, Missouri, included a range they check with as “Thomas Jefferson’s 1809 ‘Costoluto Genovese’” of their plot, demonstrating the every day practices and way of life of a bygone period with a nod to the historic backyard of the third US President.

A close up horizontal image of a tomato sliced and stuffed with mozzarella and basil, set on a blue plate.

An open-pollinated heirloom, it’s one of many dad and mom of the favored hybrid ‘Genuwine,’ the opposite being ‘Brandywine.’

Its vines can attain six or seven toes excessive and require staking. The vegetation produce these half-pound fruits beginning about 75 days from transplant.

These are the distinguishing function of ‘Costoluto Genovese,’ with heavy lobes, flattened, pinched tops, and vibrant crimson skins.

Can’t you simply style them? Let’s get nearer to a doable harvest with some ideas for rising.


As a result of they’re not broadly out there as dwell begins, it’s necessary to plan forward if you happen to intend to develop ‘Costoluto Genovese’ in your house backyard.

You’ll almost definitely must sow the seeds your self.

To present the vegetation the required 75 days to succeed in maturity from transplant, sow the seeds indoors about six weeks earlier than the time you anticipate having the ability to transplant them into the backyard.

Shoot for beginning them 4 weeks forward of the typical final frost date in your space. That ought to give them sufficient time to sprout, develop a number of units of true leaves, and harden off forward of planting exterior.

Don’t use peculiar backyard soil for this venture. As a substitute, sow the seeds in a specifically formulated seed-starting combine.

Sowing them 1 / 4 of an inch deep, plant one seed per one-inch cell, or plant a number of seeds two inches aside in a shallow tray with drainage holes.

You should definitely nestle the cells or tray in a second tray with out drainage so the soil will keep moist with out spilling extra water in your workspace.

Cowl the tray with a transparent humidity dome or plastic wrap, and use a twig bottle of water to maintain the soil moist however not moist till the seeds germinate.

Preserve the temperature at 70 to 75°F till you see sprouts, which normally takes about seven to 14 days. Chances are you’ll want a warmth mat if your own home will not be that heat – I do know mine isn’t!

After the seeds germinate, transfer them as shortly as doable to an space uncovered to a robust supply of sunshine, be {that a} develop mild or a sunny windowsill.

Then preserve them moist and within the temperature vary of 60 to 70°F till it’s time for them to graduate to greater cells, or to be hardened off and transplanted outside.

You could find step-by-step directions for sowing indoors and transplanting in our information, “Six Straightforward Steps to Rising Tomatoes from Seed.”

Whereas this methodology doesn’t come up usually, additionally it is doable to start out ‘Costoluto Genovese’ vegetation from cuttings, significantly if you happen to dwell in a heat area the place tomatoes could also be grown as perennials.

For those who’re capable of find full-size vegetation to offer cuttings for rooting, and if in case you have time to successively plant extra begins of this selection in the midst of the rising season, preserve this feature in thoughts.

Principally, you would wish a six-inch tip chopping from a wholesome tomato plant for every new begin – a stem that hasn’t began setting fruit.

Snip off any flowers earlier than you attempt to root the chopping, and strip the leaves from the underside of the stem till you solely have two leaves left on the high.

Fill a four-inch container that has drainage holes with about three inches of dampened all-purpose potting soil.

I favor to make use of biodegradable pots so I can transplant the begins pot and all, however repurposed milk cartons or different pots you could have round are superb too, so long as they’re clear and have been sterilized with scorching soapy water or a diluted bleach answer.

Use a desk knife to make a gap to insert the stem into, stopping simply half an inch from the underside of the container.

Holding it upright, place the stem into the opening. Tamp the soil, then agency extra soil across the stem till all of the nodes that you just eliminated leaves from are coated.

Place the container on a saucer or plate to catch any water that leaks out, and place it in a protected spot with a temperature round 70 to 75°F.

A windowsill with oblique mild is greatest, or a spot close to a wall on the patio may match if the climate’s persistently heat sufficient.

Preserve the soil moist however not saturated, utilizing a clear spray bottle of water.

The potted cuttings want to remain out of the direct solar at first, however after per week you’ll wish to transfer them into spots with progressively stronger mild till by week two they’re rising in full solar.

At that time, verify for roots. You may transplant the rooted cuttings following the identical course of you’ll with ‘Costoluto Genovese’ grown from seed indoors.

How you can Develop

Rising this heirloom tomato with its heavy fruits takes extra-nutritious, well-draining soil, full solar, and common watering.

A close up horizontal image of 'Costoluto Genovese' tomatoes in a padded wooden box.

You’ll wish to amend the soil with loads of aged manure or different composted natural materials, and in addition verify the pH with a soil check.

You desire a pH between 6.0 and 6.8, and the sooner within the season you can begin amending soil that’s out of that vary, the higher.

In case your backyard patch is greater than 0.1 factors out of that pH vary, you might wish to begin out with a raised mattress you fill with appropriate soil, and focus on constructing a greater pH for the next 12 months.

You may plant ‘Costoluto Genovese’ in containers, nevertheless it wouldn’t be my first alternative. For one factor, this plant grows as tall as six or seven toes and produces half-pound fruits, which suggests it could actually topple over simply.

It is also a heavy feeder and wishes a number of water, and all that fertilizing and watering will be exhausting to maintain up with for container-grown tomatoes.

However if you happen to’re bought on this selection and don’t have an acceptable backyard web site or raised mattress, go for it! Simply ensure every plant will get its personal pot that holds at the very least seven gallons of soil formulated for container-grown greens.

Vining, indeterminate tomatoes like these additionally want substantial help from a trellis, tripod, or put up at the very least six toes tall.

For tomatoes this tall, I normally use an upended eight-by-four-foot cattle fence panel with two-by-four-inch openings, supported by wood posts. It’s massive sufficient to help two or three vegetation on both sides.

It could really feel odd on the time, however you could insert your supposed helps while you transplant the seedlings. For those who wait until later, you might disturb their roots making an attempt to put in help.

Don’t be too hasty about planting your tomatoes. Wait till all menace of frost has handed.

Transplant solely as soon as the air temperature is persistently above 55°F and the soil is at the very least 65°F.

For those who’re confronted with a brief rising season, you might must get a head begin with a springtime chilly body – our information has particulars.

As soon as your vegetation are established, finishing just a few chores will assist preserve them wholesome all through the remainder of the season.

Once they’re just a few inches tall, you’ll wish to layer two inches of mulch across the seedlings to preserve water and suppress weeds.

You should definitely go away a few inches across the stems of the vegetation unmulched. Straw or grass clippings from a garden that hasn’t been handled with herbicide or pesticides are good decisions, as is mushroom compost.

Talking of rain, if you happen to don’t get at the very least an inch per week through the prime rising season, you’ll want to complement.

Your objective is to offer a gradual provide of water aimed on the soil stage, not sprinkled above the vegetation. Think about using drip irrigation or soaker hoses, so that you don’t get the leaves moist. Lingering moisture can promote sure waterborne illnesses and invite moisture-loving pests.

When you discover that your vegetation are setting fruit, you’ll wish to fertilize them each few weeks.

Use a product formulated for greens or tomatoes, and observe the producer’s directions.

A close up of the packaging of Jobe's Organic Granular Fertilizer isolated on a white background.

Jobe’s Vegetable and Tomato Fertilizer

One possibility I like is the natural Jobe’s Vegetable and Tomato 2-5-3 (NPK), which is out there in four-pound luggage from Dwelling Depot.

All through the season, be careful for insect pests like aphids and hornworms.

Our information to rising tomatoes has a full rundown on potential pests. You should definitely take a look at it since so many pests will be deterred with good backyard practices, and so many vegetable backyard illnesses are transmitted by bugs.

A number of the dozens of potential tomato illnesses you might encounter embody physiological points like catfacing and people brought on by fungal pathogens akin to anthracnose and black mildew.

You may forestall most of those points by judiciously rotating your crops, spacing your vegetation so that they obtain ample air circulation, destroying diseased vegetation, and eradicating plant particles on the finish of the season.

Our information has additional recommendations on detecting and dealing with the most typical tomato illnesses.

Rising Suggestions

  • Plant in full solar.
  • Set up stakes or cages at planting time.
  • Water through a drip or soaker hose to maintain the leaves dry.
  • Add a two-inch layer of mulch when the vegetation are just a few inches tall.
  • Apply a fertilizer formulated for greens or tomatoes each few weeks as soon as the vegetation set fruit.

The place to Purchase

These quirky heirlooms will be exhausting to search out as dwell vegetation. If a neighborhood nursery or plant sale does supply them, they’ll normally promote out shortly.

Fortunately, you possibly can readily discover seeds from respected firms.

A close up square image of a pile of freshly harvested, ripe 'Costoluto Genovese' tomatoes.

‘Costoluto Genovese’

‘Costoluto Genovese’ seeds in packets of assorted sizes will be bought from Eden Brothers.

They’re additionally out there in 30-seed packets from Park Seed through Amazon.

Harvest and Storage

These tomatoes can take a few weeks longer to provide ripe fruits than some extra modern-day hybrids of a comparable measurement.

The harvest begins about 75 days from transplant, until excessive temperatures delay fruit set.

A close up horizontal image of a pile of freshly harvested, ripe red 'Costoluto Genovese' tomatoes.

You’ll have the ability to preserve selecting from that time till it will get so chilly the vegetation can now not produce, with a harvest window of 4 to eight weeks, relying on how early you had been capable of plant.

For those who’re having problem with inexperienced tomatoes that refuse to ripen on the vine, take a look at our information for options!

It’s a good suggestion to depend the times from transplanting and set a reminder in your cellphone or make a be aware in your gardening journal to start out monitoring the fruits for ripeness round that point.

Right here’s the place you’ll want to acknowledge the traits of large-fruit heirloom tomatoes. They are going to be juiciest and most flavorful if you happen to allow them to ripen fully on the vine.

For ‘Costoluto Genovese,’ you’ll await the brilliant crimson shade to completely develop and for the skins to yield barely while you gently press them together with your thumb.

At that time, you possibly can simply pluck them from the stems or minimize them away with clear scissors.

Watch out to not stack them for his or her journey to the kitchen or they could bruise. And skip refrigeration – It destroys the feel and robs them of taste.

Wait to scrub till proper earlier than you eat them or prepare dinner with them. And in the event that they’re getting into a salad after washing, make certain to softly dry the entire tomatoes with a clear dish towel, so that they gained’t make the dressing watery.

A close up horizontal image of a whole and sliced 'Costoluto Genovese' tomato on a white plate.

Like most heirloom varieties, they gained’t final greater than two or three days on the kitchen counter earlier than they begin to rot. You could have to choose them a little bit prematurely if you happen to want a few additional days of storage between harvest and consumption.

This gained’t produce the optimum taste, however they’ll nonetheless be juicy and engaging picked three or 4 days forward of full-color ripeness.

This brings me to the one destructive I can consider with these sauce tomatoes:

Not like industrial tomatoes which have been bred to resist transport and might sit for days ready to be chosen from grocery retailer bins, these fruits are thin-skinned and don’t journey or retailer nicely.

So you possibly can’t load up the automobile with a peck of them and drive three states away to share them, and you could devour them inside a few days of selecting.

Good factor they style so nice in sauce and multitudes of different dishes, hmm?

And you may readily protect any extra. In truth, some residence gardeners develop these tomatoes so that they’ll have large batches of sauce to get pleasure from all through the winter, with nary a considered slicing them for salad.

Whichever strategy you’d favor, you’ll discover some ideas within the subsequent couple of sections.


Stocking up? These sauce tomatoes are invaluable for the house preserver.

The pleats make them a bit harder to peel earlier than canning or freezing, however that genuine Italian style makes the chore nicely price it.

Or you possibly can skip it and freeze ‘Costoluto Genovese’ chunks with out peeling them first.

You could find extra particulars about freezing your tomato harvest in our information.

The slices with the scalloped edges are a enjoyable form for dehydrating too. You may discover dehydration fundamentals right here.

A close up of a bowl of freshly prepared salsa verde set on a blue surface.
Photograph by Meghan Yager.

Don’t overlook salsa and jam! Use any crunchy inexperienced tomatoes left on the finish of the season instead of tomatillos for this salsa verde recipe from our sister web site, Foodal.

The ripe fruits are scrumptious in Foodal’s scratch-made tomato jam, which will be popped into the freezer in canning jars or hermetic containers. It’s additionally appropriate for water-bath canning.

A close up horizontal image of a jar of fresh, homemade tomato jam set on a wooden surface.
Photograph by Meghan Yager.

Foodal incorporates a recipe for selfmade ketchup that will probably be additional tangy made with ‘Costoluto Genovese,’ too.

Recipes and Cooking Concepts

As soon as the harvest begins, all of your exhausting work begins to repay, and I hope you’ll totally benefit from the fruits of your labor!

A close up horizontal image of a single 'Costoluto Genovese' fruit set on a wooden surface with three colorful peppers in soft focus in the background.

Begin straightforward, serving flippantly salted slices alongside residence fries and scrambled eggs for a leisurely summer season breakfast, or slide them atop burgers or into BLTs.

It’s also possible to toss chunks into pasta or inexperienced salads, or use skinny slices as a pizza or flatbread topping.

Contemporary tomato sauce or gazpacho is sublimely piquant when made with these extra-flavorful, tart fruits.

Foodal’s recipe for the uncooked soup is one you possibly can personalize to your individual style and put together all through the harvest season.

A close up horizontal image of homemade oven roasted tomato sauce in a white bowl with fresh bread to the side.
Photograph by Fanny Slater.

Or use these heirlooms for selfmade tomato paste or any variety of cooked sauces. Foodal’s oven-roasted tomato sauce is a tasty primary choice to prepare dinner on repeat.

When you could have a recent harvest coming in over the interval of six to eight weeks, you’ll have loads of tomatoes to experiment with, so get pleasure from!

Fast Reference Rising Information

Plant Kind: Annual vegetable Tolerance: Warmth
Native To: Central and South America Water Wants: Excessive
Hardiness (USDA Zone): 3-11 (8-11 perennial) Upkeep: Reasonable
Season: Summer time Soil Kind: Organically wealthy loam
Publicity: Full solar Soil pH: 6.0-6.8
Time to Maturity: 75-80 days Soil Drainage: Nicely-draining
Spacing: 24-30 inches Companion Planting: Basil, beans, carrots, chives, garlic, marigolds, nasturtiums, onions, parsnips, oregano
Planting Depth: 1/4 inch (seeds), beneath 2nd set of leaves (transplants) Keep away from Planting With: Brassicas together with kale and broccoli, corn, potatoes
Top: 6-7 toes Household: Solanaceae
Unfold: 20-30 inches Genus: Solanum
Progress Fee: Quick Species: Lycopersicum
Frequent Pests and Illness: Aphids, armyworms, hornworms, slugs, snails, stink bugs, thrips; Anthracnose, black mildew, blight, blossom finish rot, catfacing, fusarium wilt, mosaic virus, powdery mildew, verticillium wilt Cultivar ‘Costoluto Genovese’

Gotta Love Lobed Heirloom Tomatoes

Even with a blindfold on, you’ll love the acidic, intense taste of those tomatoes. Their look is a bonus!

A close up horizontal image of a pile of freshly harvested, ripe red 'Costoluto Genovese' tomatoes in a wicker basket.

The charming scalloped edges are evident while you minimize ‘Costoluto Genovese’ for open-face sandwiches or a Caprese salad – or place them on a platter beside the grill with some buttercrunch lettuce, awaiting recent burgers.

What about you? Do you could have any rising, serving, or preserving tricks to share with our readers within the feedback part beneath? Please do, and be at liberty to ask questions on any side of ‘Consoluto Genovese’ care there.

And if you happen to’re contemplating planting probably the most flavorful tomatoes, you’ll discover heaps extra ideas in these heirloom guides. Give them a strive!

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