Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of the most popular garden vegetables. We read somewhere that our fruits and vegetables travel several thousand miles on average before they reach our tables. This is even truer when it comes to this delicious fruit. From Mexico to Florida, the commercial growing of tomatoes is an enterprise that extends from one coast to the other and across international borders. This incredible amount of travel has made it necessary for commercial plant breeders and growers to develop varieties that stand up to the increased handling. The resulting product that we see in our supermarkets is a far cry from what we remember from years ago.

Usually grown from transplants in the northern part of the country, tomatoes are one of the most popular garden vegetables. Tomatoes can be classified as indeterminate or determinate. Indeterminate varieties will grow as a vine and keep producing until frost. Determinate varieties grow as a bush and will produce tomatoes all at the same time. Determinate varieties are excellent choices for the container gardener. Popular determinate varieties include “Big Boy” and “Roma.” Popular indeterminate varieties include “Early Girl,” “Sweet 100” and “Brandywine.”

So-called "Heirloom varieties" can be fun to experiment with due to the wide number of varieties available.

A relatively new development in tomato gardening, at least to the home gardener, are grafted tomatoes. These plants combine a hybrid, disease-resistant rootstock with and heirloom scion to produce a plant with the best of both worlds. There are lots of books written on the subject of tomatoes. One of the most complete books that we have found on the subject is "How to Grow Tasty Tomatoes" (kinda says it all, doesn’t it?) by Annette Welsford and Lucia Grimmer. These two ladies have written a book on tomatoes that is complete and easy to read. It has charts on the many varieties of tomatoes. It also covers growing of tomatoes from seeding to harvest. There are sections about soils and watering and even a discussion of planting by the phases of the moon. Although a bit scientific in some parts, the book never the less provides a wealth of information for the gardener.

Visit their website for more information on this great addition to any gardening library.