Growing tomatoes is often the impetus for starting a vegetable garden, and every tomato lover dreams of growing the ultimate tomato: firm but juicy, sweet but tangy, aromatic, and blemish free.
Unfortunately, there are few vegetables that are prone to more problems than tomatoes. The trick to growing great-tasting tomatoes is to choose the best varieties, start the plants off right, and control problems before they happen. Start here with some time-tested tomato growing tips to ensure your tomato bragging rights this year.
There’s a reason why tomatoes are the #1 home garden vegetable. The taste of a tomato right off the vine is incomparable to a typical grocery store type.
Tomatoes are warm-weather vegetables and sun worshippers!
- In northern regions, tomato plants will need at least 6 hours of sunlight daily; 8 to 10 hours are preferred.
- In southern regions, light afternoon shade (natural or applied, e.g., row covers) will help tomatoes to survive and thrive.
How do you grow tomatoes from seed?
How much water do tomato plants need?
How to harvest and store tomatoes
- As tomatoes begin to ripen, their colour changes from vibrant medium-green to a lighter shade, with faint pink or yellow blushing. These “breakers,” or mature green tomatoes, can be chopped into salsas, pickled, or pan-fried into a crispy appetizer. Yet tomato flavours become much more complex as the fruits ripen, so you have good reason to wait. The exact signs of ripeness vary with variety, but in general, perfectly ripe tomatoes show deep colour yet still feel firm when gently squeezed.
- Store picked tomatoes at room temperature indoors, or in a shady place outside. Never refrigerate tomatoes, because temperatures below 55° cause the precious flavour compounds to break down.