Description for Tomato
- The most popular garden vegetable crop, tomatoes come in a wide range of sizes, shapes and colors.
- 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.
COMMON NAME FLOWER COLOURS BLOOM TIME HEIGHT DIFFICULTY Tomato
Botanical name: Solanum lycopersicum
– Year round Height : determinate 3-4 , indeterminate 7-15
Planting and care
- The tomato is a vigorously growing plant with attractive foliage resembling the potato, its cousin.
- The plants have a decided odour 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 SOIL WATER TEMPERATURE FERTILIZER Solarize your soil to control nematodes, weeds and other pests and disease pathogens.
Moisten the area and cover it with a sturdy plastic trap.
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 flavour.
Blossom-end rot is due to calcium deficiency. Lime the tomato soil at the rate of 5 pounds per 100 square feet.
Tomato plants need at least an inch of water per week; so water them well, especially during dry spells. Germination 60-85 F
For Growth 70-75 F
Fertilizer 1 week before planting. Avoid high N and K at blossom time.< Too much leaf growth may indicate too much N or too much water
Fertilizer formulas such as 5-10-10 are good.
Bone meal or ground rock phosphate are also good.
Caring for Tomato
- 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.
- Tomatoes require from 50 to more than 90 warm days to reach harvest depending upon variety.
- Leave your tomatoes on the vine as long as possible.
- If any fall off before they appear ripe, place them in a paper bag with the stem up and store them in a cool, dark place.
- Never place tomatoes on a sunny windowsill to ripen; they may rot before they are ripe!
- The perfect tomato for picking will be firm and very red in color, regardless of size, with perhaps some yellow remaining around the stem.
- A ripe tomato will be only slightly soft.
- If your tomato plant still has fruit when the first hard frost threatens, pull up the entire plant and hang it upside down in the basement or garage.
- Never refrigerate fresh tomatoes. Doing so spoils the flavor and texture that make up that garden tomato taste.
- To freeze, core fresh unblemished tomatoes and place them whole in freezer bags or containers. Seal, label, and freeze.
- The skins will slip off when they defrost.