An unpronounceable mouthful of consonants hasn’t stopped ‘Wapsipinicon Peach’ being pronounced delicious in tomato taste tests. The slightly furry skin accounts for the peach reference, and the rest is a river in Iowa. We call it a wapsi and think it’s a beauty!
Text: Justin Russell
‘Wapsipinicon Peach’ is an indeterminate variety, meaning that it will grow as long as the season or the gardener allows it to. Indeterminates grow best with some kind of support. A single hardwood stake is the traditional choice, but it requires the removal of side shoots and branches growing below the lowest truss of fruit. In wet-summer climates this can produce disease-ridden plants so I prefer to grow these types of tomatoes on a trellis. This allows side shoots to be retained, leading to fewer pruning wounds and entry points for disease. A sheet of reinforcing mesh works well, as does wire between two posts. Simply attach the vine using stretchy plant ties.
Go easy on the nitrogen when preparing the soil. In overly rich ground tomato plants produce a lovely crop of foliage at the expense of fruit. Instead of fertiliser incorporate compost, or low-nutrient manures such as cow or sheep. A neutral to slightly acidic pH is preferred, so don’t overdo the lime either.
‘Wapsi’ fruit gets to about the size of a golf ball, and blushes to a beautiful creamy yellow when fully ripe. And, as those taste test panels find, the flavour is a knockout - rich and fruity with the slightest tang.
- ‘Wapsi’s’ furry skin offers some fruit fly defence, but a serious outbreak of the pest will still do serious damage to the fruit. Cover fruit trusses with exclusion bags or throw VegeNet over the entire plant. For added protection try baiting with EcoNaturalure or Wild May.
- Blossom end rot is caused by a failure of the plant to take up calcium. Sprinkle a handful of lime or woodash around the base of each plant, and keep the soil evenly moist to ensure the plant can absorb it.
- To supercharge your tomatoes, sprinkle a handful of potash around the base of each plant when they’re 20cm tall, and again when they’re about 50cm. Potassium strengthens the foliage against disease and helps set a bumper crop of flowers, and fruit.