Nothing Says Summer Like a Tomato


Country MoonNothing says summer quite like a plump and juicy tomato. Although technically a fruit, most everyone refers to the tomato as their favorite vegetable. Even those folks who do not tend a garden, usually have one or two tomato plants because, truth be told, they are almost as fun to grow as they are to eat.

Since they are the ultimate backyard crop, no other fruit has received more attention from plant breeders and seed savers. The result of this can be both good and bad; although there are so many varieties to choose from, making a selection becomes harder and harder.

Before ever perusing the tomato aisle at your local greenhouse, you may want to decide if you want just some juicy fruits to eat or if you are looking for tomatoes to can and make salsa, spaghetti sauce, etc. There are two basic types of tomatoes, determinates and indeterminates.

The determinate type stops growing when the fruits reach a certain size. Often referred to as bush tomatoes, they produce fruit all at once, usually over a two to three-week period. This can be great if you simply want to can them all at once but not so great if you were planning on fresh fruit throughout the summer. They do well in containers or planted close together.

The indeterminate type keeps growing and producing fruit the entire season up until the first frost. Because they continue to grow, the plants become quite large and need support like trellises, stakes or cages. One word of caution if using cages, splurge a little and buy the sturdier, better built ones because the lighter weight and less expensive ones tend to bend with the weight of the plant, which renders them next to useless.

Red Tomatoes
Photo by Getty Images/travenian.

6/10/2018 12:43:45 PM

Lois, I agree that home grown tomatoes are the best. If there's one plant that will be in a backyard, it's a tomato..There are so many different varieties and even colors. But for me a tomato has to be red. Cherry tomatoes are all right but nothing compares to that big thick sandwich size slice of tomato that covers my summer burger hot off the grill. Tomatoes are almost indestructible. I had a hail storm go through a couple years ago and left nothing but a stump sticking up from the ground on one of my tomatoes. I had in mind to replant but as is my way, I procrastinated and new life sprung up from the stump and produced some of the best tomatoes of the season. It's a good plant for beginners to try and grow. ***** Have a great day in the garden. ***** Nebraska Dave

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