|Official Plant Name||Solanum lycopersicum|
|Common Name(s)||Moneymaker Tomatoes|
|Toxicity||Toxic except for fruits|
|When To Sow (Indoors)||January, February, March, April, May|
|Flowering Months||June, July, August, September, October|
Up to 1.4M
June – September
Fertile loam is ideal
Moist but well drained
Neutral / Mildly Acidic
Whoever settled on the name ‘Moneymaker’ saved you the hassle of saying the full Latin name, Solanum lycopersicum, when referring to this bright, juicy tomato.
The variety was created in 1913 and has been very popular ever since, although this is more thanks to its reliability and ease of growing than its taste which, while good, arguably doesn’t compete with some other tomato varieties.
If you’re looking for an easy to grow tomato, however, you can’t go far wrong with Moneymaker. You’ll enjoy a hassle-free growing experience, as well as a more bountiful harvest than you might expect. In this guide, we’ll tell you what to do to get a Moneymaker or three growing in your garden. We’ll cover planting location, which fertiliser to use, how to prune, and much more.
What are Moneymaker tomatoes?
Moneymakers are cordon type tomatoes, meaning they require pruning to encourage optimum growth. It’s an annual, meaning the plant will die in winter and require replanting, but it’s quick and easy to grow from readily-available seeds, so this shouldn’t present too much of a setback.
There’s not much information available on the origins of this variety’s funky name, but it most likely refers to the plentiful harvest it will produce each year. For a farmer or grocer making their living from the sale of fresh produce, a rich harvest means more sales and, ultimately, more money.
In terms of appearance, flavour, and general characteristics, Moneymaker tomatoes aren’t too different from other varieties. They’re red, round, and tomato flavoured. If you’re looking for oval-shaped tomatoes, or ones in exciting colours like green, yellow, orange, and purple, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Why grow Moneymaker tomatoes?
They’re easy to grow, tasty, and you’ll get a lot of fruit from each plant! The seeds are cheap and readily available, there’s plenty of information about how to grow Moneymaker tomatoes online, and you’ll feel a nice warm glow of satisfaction watching your seeds grow into a mature and fruitful plant.
Growing something edible is a great way to feel more engaged in your gardening, too. Beautiful flowers and plants are great, but there’s nothing quite like harvesting something you’ve grown yourself, bringing it indoors, and performing some kitchen miracles.
Serving up a plate of food with ingredients you’ve grown yourself is deeply satisfying, and tomatoes are so versatile that they make a perfect candidate. Slice them up and pop them in a salad, use them for the base of a delicious spag bol, or even go for something more exotic like ratatouille or a nice gazpacho.
How to grow Moneymaker tomatoes
Now you’ve decided to grow Moneymaker tomatoes in your garden, let’s take a look at how to do it. As we’ve said, the process is fairly easy compared to some other fruits and veggies. It’s mainly a case of doing the right thing at the right time, and being vigilant with the weather.
How to plant your seeds
For best results, you’ll want to sow your Moneymaker seeds indoors and harden off the young plants before planting them out. You can plant seeds outdoors, but it’s not optimal.
In early March, sow your Moneymaker seeds in pots. Then, in mid-April, pot up the young plants and continue to grow indoors. Seedlings are ready for potting up when there are two leaves. Harden them off in early May, before planting outdoors in mid-May. This should ensure your plants are strong enough to hold their own against the elements, and minimises any risk of frost exposure.
Use free-draining seed sowing soil, with a thin layer of compost on top. You should see sprouts within one to two weeks.
Where to grow your plant
This variety of tomato will do best in a spot that gets a lot of sunlight, ideally six hours or more per day, with well-drained soil. Although the seeds are small, factor in a full-sized tomato plant when spacing them out. This means leaving about 90cm gap between plants in each direction.
You can also grow Moneymaker tomatoes in a greenhouse. If you’re doing this, you can plant out a little earlier – around mid-February – because the greenhouse will protect against the cooler outdoor conditions.
Supporting your tomatoes
Moneymakers grow to be quite large, so supporting them with a stake is a good way to encourage strong growth. Simply push a stake around 180cm high into the ground, with 25-30cm below the soil. Place this about 30cm behind each plant.
As the young plant grows, use string to gently tie the stem onto the stake. Avoid tight knots as they can suffocate the plant and restrict ongoing growth.
To provide nourishment to your fledgling tomatoes and help the soil to retain moisture, apply 3-5cm of mulch around the plants.
You should also apply some 10-10-10 fertiliser when the plants begin to fruit, then again 3 weeks and 6 weeks afterward. This ensures optimal nutrition and plump, juicy fruits. Leave about 15cm clear in all directions from the plant stem when fertilising, to avoid stifling growth.
Water your seedlings as soon as you’ve planted them, so that ~15cm of topsoil is moist. Water a couple of times a week when the top 3cm of soil feels dry. Tomatoes are fairly thirsty, and will require weekly watering throughout growing season.
Another way to encourage an optimal amount of fruit from your tomato plant is to cut off any shoots that start growing between the main stem and the smaller leaf stems. Also remove any vertical growth beyond 6 or 7 fruit-bearing trusses. Although it may seem counterintuitive to deliberately curtail growth, you’ll be helping the plant to allocate its resources and energy to developing the healthiest and tastiest fruits on its main stems.
Harvesting Moneymaker tomatoes
Your plant should be ready to harvest between July and September, depending on when you planted it out and the exact conditions where you live. You’ll be able to tell when they’re ready: The fruits will be big, juicy, and tempting. Harvesting is simply a case of picking the tomatoes and storing them indoors. Regular harvesting increases the likelihood of further fruiting during a season, too.
Troubleshooting common problems
There are a few pests who are keen to get at tomatoes, sharing our evaluation that they’re a tasty and desirable source of food. To make sure you get the lion’s share of your harvest, rather than any pesky intruder, here’s what to look for.
The little sap-suckers love to feed on plants of all shapes and sizes, with a particular proclivity to choose the ones we value most. It’s not unusual to see aphids feasting on Moneymaker tomatoes, and the first step is vigilance. If you notice the green visitors, try first to remove them by hand and discourage further visits. If this doesn’t work, you can try to introduce predator bugs like ladybirds, or to use pesticides. There are a range of pesticides available ranging from gentle to extreme: We recommend the former.
Moneymakers are a common victim of blight, which makes itself known through brown spots and rings on the plant’s leaves. Once infected, the only viable course of action to prevent further damage is to destroy the plant. This will stop blight spreading to surrounding plants and, while losing an entire plant is upsetting, it’s preferable to losing all of them.
Shake your Moneymaker
Whether you’re a freelance greengrocer looking to make a pretty penny from your Moneymaker harvest, or a casual gardener looking to grow something delicious for your kitchen, this variety of tomato promises to meet your needs. They’re tasty, easy to grow, and capable of producing multiple sets of fruit each season – what more could you ask for!
Whatever you decide to do with your tomato harvest, we’re sure it will be delicious. Tomatoes are so versatile that you have a lot of options to consider. There are the dishes we mentioned earlier, for example. Or you could make chutney, pickle, juice, or even wine! For the intrepid gardener looking to use their produce in exciting and unexpected ways, Moneymaker tomatoes offer a wealth of opportunity.
This guide has covered everything you need to get Moneymaker tomatoes growing in your garden or greenhouse. You should now be ready to order some seeds, grab a few stakes, and get your tomato harvest started. Happy harvesting!