When considering small space gardening, there are many different gardening tips that can be utilized. Here we look at tips associated with growing the ever lovable tomato.
In an earlier posting on Growing Vegetables – What to Plant – Part 3we looked at the age old question of whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable. At that time we came to the conclusion that botanically speaking, it is a fruit. However, in common language and usage it is a vegetable. The tomato, in some variety, could very well be the most popular garden vegetable grown in traditional home gardens along with small space gardens, including container gardening and raised bed vegetable gardening.
As we also mentioned in that previous post, tomato plants can be classified as determinate or indeterminate. The amount of garden space we can dedicate to growing the tomato will help in our decision as to whether we use a determinate or an indeterminate plant. The determinate plant will have a predetermined growth point and maturity where the indeterminate will be more of a rambling vine and will produce fruit for a longer period of time.
Gardening tips for finding the right tomato:
- Consider heirloom tomatoes such as Brandywine. True heirloom tomatoes are those family favorites where seeds have been passed down from one generation to another generation.
- Consider family favorite varieties such as Big Boy, Beefsteak, and Celebrity.
- Choose varieties that are well suited to our local climate. Our local gardening supply store should have up to date information.
- Consider planting hybrid tomatoes which have been cross bred from two different tomatoes to arrive at a plant that combines the favorable aspects of both tomatoes. Today, most tomatoes are coined as hybrid. It is possible that many heirlooms marketed today are also hybrids.
- Experiment with new varieties. We may discover a new favorite.
- Also consider the fact that you are not limited to just a “RED” tomato. Tomatoes are available in a wide variety of colors and shapes. Even a “White Wonder” which has an almost white colored fruit.
- For some of the more exotic tomatoes, we may need to order seeds to starting our own plants or inquire whether or not our local gardening center can special order.
Gardening tips for growing the right tomato:
- Ensure full sunshine is available (at least 6 to 8 hours per day).
- While any kind of soil can be used, it is best to use some type of soil amendment.
- Keep plants uniformally and evenly watered.
- Plant when the ground is consistently above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Indeterminates will require some kind of support such as staking as the weight of the fruit begins to pull the plant down.
- Keep all fruit from resting directly on the soil to prevent rot and disease.
Gardening tips for harvesting and storing the right tomato:
- Harvest when fruit is fully ripe and is beginning to soften.
- Store harvested tomatoes in a warm, dark place.
- Avoid refrigerating freshly harvested tomatoes. Tomatoes commence losing their flavor below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Vine-ripened tomatoes have a life span of approximately 3 days.
Tomatoes are one of the mainstays of small space gardening and can provide an abundance of fruit just be following a few simple gardening tips.