The most popular garden vegetable crop, tomatoes come in a wide range of sizes, shapes and colour. Choose determinate varieties for early harvest or cool conditions. Compact varieties are also good choices for containers and planting in flower beds. Tomatoes are an incredibly versatile food. They are often considered as a vegetable, though ideally they are a citrus fruit. They are a rich source of Vitamin C and help in increasing your immunity. Not just this, tomatoes also provide several other vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus and copper, all of which are necessary for good health. The best part is that they can be eaten either raw, in salads, sandwiches or in vegetables.
Botanical name: Solanum lycopersicum
|Height||Height : determinate 3-4, indeterminate 7-15
|Bloom Time||Year round|
|Difficulty Level||Moderately difficult|
Planting And Care
- Water generously for the first few days
- Water well throughout growing season, about 2 inches per week during the summer
- Keep watering consistent! Mulch five weeks after transplanting to retain moisture
- To help tomatoes through periods of drought, find some flat rocks and place one next to each plant
- The rocks pull up water from under the ground and keep it from evaporating into the atmosphere
- Fertilize two weeks prior to first picking and again two weeks after first picking
- If using stakes, prune plants by pinching off suckers so that only a couple stems are growing per stake
- Practice crop rotation from year to year to prevent diseases that may have over wintered
- The tomato is a vigorously growing plant with attractive foliage resembling the potato, its cousin
- The plants have a decided odor caused by gland hairs on the stems and leaves, which give off a strong-scented oil and stain when broken
- The fruit is borne on spurs, which develop directly from the stem
- Tomatoes should not be planted outdoors until day and night temperatures are about 55 degrees
- Low temperatures (below 55 degrees) prevent fruit set
- Soil temperatures should be at least 55-60 F to transplant
- Otherwise plants may turn yellow, become stunted and slow to bear
- Seed should be started indoors 6-8 weeks before plants are set out, or use transplants, which are widely available
|Sunlight||Solarize your soil to control nematodes, weeds and other pests and disease pathogens.
Moisten the area and cover it with a sturdy plastic trap.
|Watering||Tomato plants need at least an inch of water per week; so water them well, especially during dry spells.|
|Soil||Choose well drained, deep and loamy soil.
Plan on providing fertile, organically enriched soil with a pH between 6.2 and 6.8 for best flavor.
Blossom-end rot is due to calcium deficiency. Lime the tomato soil at the rate of 5 pounds per 100 square feet.
|Temperature||Germination 60-85 F
For Growth 70-75 F
|Fertilizer||Fertilizer 1 week before planting. Avoid high N and K at blossom time. Fertilizer formulas such as 5-10-10 are good.
Bone meal or ground rock phosphate are also good.
- Tomatoes confer protection against high cholesterol, strokes, and heart disease
- Tomatoes basically have an anti-ageing affect on our body as they contain antioxidant lycopene which is easily absorbed by our body thereby leaving you with a healthy skin and hair
- Since tomatoes are a rich source of antioxidants such as vitamin C and Vitamin A, these vitamins help in preventing DNA damage from free radicals
- The vitamin K and calcium present in tomatoes help in building strong bones
- Due to the presence of Lycopene, they are a natural source of fighting against several cancers, including prostate, cervical, stomach, colon, rectal, prostate and ovarian cancer
- Tomatoes help in keeping blood sugar in balance
- Consuming tomatoes can improve your vision
- Ease a headache by drinking tomato juice blended with fresh basil
- Many standard cultivars are adapted for a variety of uses, including slicing, canning, and salads
- The large, meaty fruits of beefsteak tomatoes are especially popular for slicing
- Italian or paste tomatoes are favourites for cooking, canning, and juicing
- Sweet bite-size tomatoes in a range of colours are very popular for salads or as snack
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