Every year, I love to grow a large and interesting assortment of tomatoes. I purchase many of the seeds from reputable seed companies, but I also make a point of collecting seeds during my travels. I also like to use seeds that have been passed on to me from other gardeners and friends.
We've been harvesting many, many tomatoes over the past couple weeks - large, medium, and small. Some of the varieties include: 'Noire Crimee', 'Cherokee Purple', 'Uncle Mark Bagby', 'Gulf State', 'Pink Beauty', 'Valencia', 'Czech Bush', 'Pink Berkeley Tie Dye', 'Grandeur', 'Granadero', 'Verona', 'Sungold', 'Brandywine' and 'Nova'. Here are some photos of this year's crop - enjoy. And, please let me know how your tomatoes are doing this year in the comments section below the photo gallery.
Everything in the vegetable garden is growing so wonderfully this season, especially the tomatoes. I thought it was a good time to check on their progress.
Here in the Northeast, recent weather has been very, very warm – uncomfortable for many of us, but perfect for the tomato crops.
All the tomato plants are well-supported under bamboo teepee-like structures and laden with fruits.
We have already harvested many, many tomatoes, and there are still so many growing on the vines. I will be making lots of sauce very soon!
In June, the tomato plants on top of the black plastic, were still quite small. They were grown indoors from seed first.
By July, they had grown another foot.
And just a few weeks ago, the plants were about five to six feet tall – not quite as tall as their stakes.
Now, the plants are as tall as the bamboo stakes, which are about eight to nine feet tall – so lush and green.
There are several types of tomatoes available, including globe tomatoes used in processing, and for fresh eating. Beefsteak are large, often used for sandwiches. Oxheart tomatoes vary in size and are shaped like large strawberries. Plum tomatoes are usually oblong, and used in tomato sauces. Cherry tomatoes are small round, often sweet and eaten whole.
It’s a good idea to grow a range of varieties, including at least one or two disease-resistant types, since, of all veggies, tomatoes tend to be the most susceptible to disease. And be sure to grow the right types for your area.
This year, we planted about 100-tomato plants, with about 20-different varieties. Most tomatoes are red, but other colors are possible, including green, yellow, orange, pink, black, brown, white and purple.
I use a lot of different seeds every year. I purchase many from seed companies such as Johnny’s Selected Seeds, but I also collect seeds during my travels, and from other gardeners and friends.
Most tomato plants need between 50 and 90 days to mature. Planting can also be staggered to produce early, mid and late season tomato harvests.
Tomatoes should be planted in an area with full sun and well-drained soil. The best time to plant tomatoes is when night time temperatures are consistently above 50-degrees Fahrenheit and when the soil is at least 60-degrees Fahrenheit.
Many of you have asked how these tomato plants are watered through the black plastic – there are holes where each plant is located, so each plant can get all the water it needs.
And when it comes to watering, soak the tomato beds once a week, or every five days at the height of summer. Water directly on the soil, not on the leaves.
The key to maintaining a rich vegetable garden is to rotate the tomato bed between a few spots in the garden to diminish the risk of soil-borne diseases such as bacterial spot and early blight.
All tomatoes fall into one of two categories: indeterminate plants bear fruit continuously up until frost; determinate plants set one large crop and are finished once it ripens.
The tomato is scientifically known as Lycopersicon lycopersicum, which means “wolf peach”. They are native to the western side of South America. The first type of tomato grown is believed to have resembled the cherry tomato more than the larger varieties.
Tomatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene, vitamins C and K, calcium, potassium, and folate.
93-percent of American gardeners grow tomatoes in their yards, and according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, most Americans eat between 22 and 24 pounds of tomatoes per person, per year – this includes tomatoes in sauces.
Many large tomato varieties produce big luscious one to two pound fruits with luxurious flavor – some can even weigh up to four-pounds.
Worldwide tomato production is about 100 million tons. The top five tomato producers are China, the U.S., India, Turkey, and Italy.
During tomato season, I always have a tray of fresh, delicious tomatoes on my kitchen counter.
I hope your tomato plants have provided you with lots of juicy, mouth watering fruits this season!