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At Get Growing, we call a spade a spade, a shovel a shovel, and a tomato a fruit. Technically speaking, a tomato really is a fruit and furthermore, it’s the world’s most popular fruit. More tomatoes are produced worldwide than bananas, apples and oranges. That’s no surprise when you see how many things you can do with a tomato…they are one versatile vegetable…oops, sorry. One versatile fruit! Now you know all that fascinating stuff, you should also know how to grow the perfect tomato. Read on…
Choosing the best type to meet your requirements is the very first step on your journey to growing the perfect tomato. With countless varieties to choose from on, be a little selective and pick plants or seeds based on your preferred taste, shape, size and ripening time. Growing conditions at your place will also be a major factor, so get some expert advice at a reputable garden centre instead of simply buying off the shelf.
Real estate agents would grow very good tomatoes because they understand the importance of location, location, location. Tomatoes need to be planted in a spot sheltered from the wind, and where they’ll receive at least eight hours of sun every day. Add compost and well-rotted manure to free-draining soil before you plant and don’t just plant tomatoes…do some companion planting and let different flowers, herbs and vegetables team up to help your tomatoes reach a state of mouth-watering perfection. For example, marigolds deter aphids while basil can repel flying insects and boost growth and flavour in your tomatoes.
Once your tomatoes are planted in nutrient-rich soil, they should be supported so vines and fruit are kept off the ground. Use seedling stakes from Get Growing, and the result will be larger, cleaner tomatoes that are less likely to go rotten. Sink a pipe into the ground while you’re staking. Tomatoes have a set of roots at the surface that take in feed and lower roots that take in water. The pipe will get the water down to where its most needed. Once flowering commences, a weekly feed of potassium-based tomato food will also do wonders.
Irrigation is key. Too much, too little, or too badly directed can result in a tomato that’s far from perfect. Tomatoes don’t need marathon watering sessions as that simply dilutes the inside of the fruit. A little watering more often is the way to go, and will result in a more intense and concentrated flavour. While you’re watering, aim at the soil and not the leaves and stems…tomato plants hate getting wet, and this dislike for water can be reflected in the quality of the fruit and the flavour.
At the point when your tomatoes reach full size but are still green, remove any leaves from around the fruit to increase sun exposure and air flow; this will speed up ripening and reduce the risk of disease, which is still present even at this late stage.
Do these things and the result should be the perfect tomato. Pick it off the vine with pride and slice it up for your sandwich, toss it through your salad, or grill it on your barbie. Whatever you do with it, don’t call it a vegetable!