Sunday, May 24, 2009

Terrific Tomatoes

Terrific, tantalizing, tasty tomatoes describe this juicy fresh fruit. But when thinking of planting tomatoes in the garden, people may describe them as terrifying, troubling, trying. Puh---leeze...Growing terrific tomatoes is not rocket science.
A tomato plant will thrive in a pot, in a small plot, or a field if it has lots of sunshine, water, and of course another necessity for living is well-drained soil. (People overlook the importance of a good growing medium, so I will always lecture on it whenever I get the chance...Don't dig up dirt from your yard and throw it in a pot to start or grow your tomatoes. Starting soil and garden soil in a bag is, excuse me, dirt cheap.)

Deciding on which tomato to grow is probably the most difficult step in the process. Do you want tons of little tomatoes for salads? Then choose the cherry or grape tomato. If you can't wait for the first tomato or you want to be the first on your block with a tomato, then plant Early Girl so that in about 45 days from transplanting to the garden, you will have one on your plate for lunch. (Do you like salt or sugar or nothing on your slices?)

Many of the old stand-bys like Rutgers, Beefsteak, Big Boy are the tastes you have grown up with. But there are so many more tomatoes available for you to experience. The newer tomatoes are resistant to disease, produce more fruit, and may be tastier. Try Tastee Lee and Fabulous.

I would also encourage you to shop at a garden center that actually labels the tomato plant with the variety name instead of a generic tag that says "Tomato." After the growing season make a note about each variety so you will know what you liked and didn't like by name. When you shop next year, select the varieties that performed well or tasted the best, etc. You can't do that if you only know that it was "Tomato."

Pay attention to the length of time it takes to produce a ripe tomato from your plants... Early Girl can be ready in July in our area, but some plants won't produce an edible fruit until September. Read the information on the tags to help you have a successful and satisfying experience in gardening.

So far my husband is planting Early Girl, Way Ahead, Super Boy and Husky Red. The large tomato in the photo is Husky Red. He raised it from a cell pack to this large 8" pot in a month in the greenhouse. The price for this size plant at one of the big box stores this weekend was $10.00!!!

If the acid in tomatoes bothers you, try planting yellow tomatoes.
Planning this spring for a harvest of terrific tomatoes this year is essential. Enjoy!!

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