Italian Ox Heart
Italian Tomato Cuore Di Bue
The Italian Oxheart is an ‘old’ Italian tomato that possesses a heart shape. It’s an indeterminate variety of tomato plant. Well, okay, not all Italian Oxheart tomatoes are of Italian origin. But one of the most favored of all Oxheart tomatoes – the Cuore Di Bue heirloom – definitely is!
Tomatoes are easy to grow from seed sown indoors in warm conditions. Sow from late Feb is you have propagation equipment or late March to early April otherwise.
Sow in small pots or cells filled with seed compost, then either place in a propagator or cover each pot with a clear plastic bag and place on a bright windowsill. The young seedlings need to be kept at around 18°C (64°F). Transplant into 9cm (3½in) pots when two true leaves have formed. Plant out into a greenhouse or polytunnel in May and be ready to protect them from frost until June.
When the flowers of the first truss are beginning to open, transfer to 23cm (9in) pots or growing bags, or plant outside in a warm sunny spot, 45–60cm (18–24in) apart
Cordon (or indeterminate) tomatoes – tie the main stem to a tall, sturdy bamboo cane or wind it round a well-anchored but slack vertical string (coming down from an overhead support). Regularly remove sideshoots that sprout from between a leaf and the main stem. When plants reach the top of the support or have set seven fruit trusses indoors or four trusses outdoors, remove the growing point of the main stem at two leaves above the top truss.
For cordon (indeterminate) tomatoes, there is evidence that removing some leaves above the ripening truss (which allows the fruit to be warmer during the day but cooler at night) can encourage slightly earlier ripening, without negatively affecting cropping. Removing leaves below the ripening truss doesn’t improve ripening but can help to reduce the spread of diseases such as tomato leaf mould and tomato blight, where these are a problem.