The Litchi tomato is a very striking, unusual and prickely familiy member of the nightshade family. It has family ties with the tomato, nightshade and the aubergine. The litchi tomato originates from Central-America. It also known as wild tomato. It has a prolific amount of very prickly, hard thorns that can wound You when You're not carefull. It needs very much sunlight, warmth and support to develop fruits. The fruits grow in light green, thorny husks which open when the fruits need to ripen. The ripened fruits are dark red, but still stay relatively small. The inner flesh is yellow and full with tiny flat seeds. The fruits have a tart and refreshing flavour and the flavour reminds me of the flavour of sour cherries. Use the Litchi tomato as a fruits, in tarts, in desserts, with breakfast and in an exotical fruitsalad or in bowl. Non hardy perennial. Height: 240 - 250 cm.
Litchi Tomato seeds
Indoor sowing: February - April
Germination: 10 - 45 days
Germination temp. : 15 - 22 °C
Sowing depth: shallow - ½ cm
Transplanting: when the seedlings have 2 true pair of leaves
Plant distance: 90 - 95 cm
Plant position: very sunny and sheltered
Harvest period: August - November
Sow indoors from February till April in trays filled with some moist, good potting soil. Sow shallow and press the seeds gently in the soil and cover them with a thin layer of sieved potting soil. Put the trays in a propagator with lid and keep them warm. Germination can take a while, so be patient and don't let the soil dry out. Remove the lid when the seedlings emerge and put them away in a slightly cooler enviroment (18 - 20 °C). Transplant the seedlings to larger, seperate pots when they've 2 pairs of true leaves. Harden the young plants of by putting them 10 - 14 days outdoors during the day, from the beginning of May. Put the plants on a very sunny and sheltered spot from the middle of May, when there's no longer any danger of nightfrosts.
Give the plants a very sturdy support. Don't let the plants dry out. They start to flower in July and from August on you can expect the first litchi tomatoes to appear. Depending on the amount of warmth and sunlight can the harvest start about 1 month later. Remove the ripe fruits from the plants when the husk are brown and show the fully red fruits. Use sturdy gloves to handle the plants and with harvesting because of the very hard thorns. These plants are very strong and they can witstand most diseases and pests.