I love August because it heralds the main harvest season of freshly picked jewel-toned tomatoes. Their mouth-filling, tangy sweet flavor is one of the main reasons to grow a summer vegetable garden! While I grew up with mostly round red tomatoes, today I grow a whole host of colors and shapes, from a veritable rainbow of candy-sweet cherries, globe shaped slicers and elongated fat sausage-shaped Italian sauce tomatoes. I experiment with new varieties each season but always grow a few of the trusted standby varieties that I know thrive in my climate.
The tomato is a fun and easy plant to grow and can be enjoyed by both young and old. A little love and some common garden sense is all you need to be growing tomato. The uses you can have of your tomatoes are more or less endless as they are good in soups, in salads, in stews or in anything else you can think of. Browse the web for recipes, there has to be millions as there are millions of people growing tomatoes in their backyard. Even if they aren’t used as food, you can always squish them for comical effect. I’m telling you, growing tomatoes is fun! To get you started I will now share with you some tomato plant secrets.
Starting tomatoes from seed is easy if you just stick to the basics.
First of all, be sure you have everything you need for growing tomato. Ask at your local garden store if you are uncertain what you need and if you have all of it. Also be sure to consider how much tomato want or need, do you need an entire field or just a pot or container to be growing tomato. Maybe you will even need a greenhouse. It is all up to you and the climate which you live in.
While growing tomatoes, see to it that the soil is well drained. A raised container is an excellent way of providing this and it is really simple building one out of leftover bricks or planks. And remember to find a sunny spot for your plants. They will want warm weather and at least 8 hours of blazing sunshine each day to really thrive. If you live in a country where it gets cold during the night fixate an old window on top of your raised container and you will have constructed a rough greenhouse for your needs.
Your tomato plants will need some organic fertilizer and water. Organic fertilizer is actually natural for your soil and will gradually improve the health of your garden, including the tomatoes. Also, try growing next to a plantation-buddy. This will improve the state of both of the plants and keep diseases at bay. The common carrot is an excellent plantation-buddy for your plants.
Diseases are very rare but they do exist. If you have planted some plantation-buddies you are pretty much covered but are still no insurance against that it won’t happen. Disaster might still occur and disease could strike at tomato plants like nothing else. Using organic pesticide is to go the natural way and will not affect tomato plants in any bad way. It is also better for the environment and therefore for yourself and your children. Remember that what you do to nature will leave marks for years to come, so be careful.
Planting Your Tomatoes
There are so many different varieties of vegetable seeds and flower seeds for any gardening enthusiast to plant. Just one look through a nursery, garden center or one of the many free seed catalogs available and anyone can feel overwhelmed.
The garden accessories, flower bulbs, vegetable and flower seeds you select will depend on many factors such as practicality, garden space, time, needs and preferences. Of course one of the most practical of gardens will be the vegetable garden with tomatoes being a favorite to plant.
Some tips to planting tomatoes can include; start your tomato seedlings indoors; when risk of frost has passed put a stake into prepared soil, then next to stake dig hole a little deeper than height of pot and place plant in and cover with soil; use soft twine to tie plant stem loosely to stake as it grows check ties so they are not too tight, plant about one and a half feet apart; remove side shoots using thumb and finger to pinch off any side shoots between leaf and stem so all energy goes into fruits; water regularly with high potash fertilizer for best results.
The vegetable and flower seeds you plant will most likely reflect your preferences and needs. Gardening can serve as a lifetime passion filled with learning and enjoyment.
A tomato a day
Don’t refrigerate your fresh picked tomatoes – it dampens their sweet flavors and changes their texture. Plan to serve them at room temperature to really enjoy and appreciate their complex and rich bouquet – a true celebration of summer’s pleasures.
I like to eat some freshly sliced every day. I drizzle fruity extra-virgin olive oil over them, sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt, freshly ground pepper and top with fresh chopped herbs. Everyone knows that green basil is the soulmate of tomatoes, but for a beautiful effect, I love to use sprigs of both purple and green basil. Besides basil, I think chopped fresh dill leaf, feathery fresh fennel, lemon thyme, garlic chives or flat-leafed parsley are all herbs that go exceptionally well with luscious thick slices of meaty tomatoes. Try these different herbs over your tomatoes for a variety of terrific tastes! I usually finish my plate of herbed tomatoes with freshly crumbled feta cheese or curls of Parmesan or asiago.