Growing Vegetables
What to plant – Part 3



Small space gardening includes growing vegetables of all kinds. If the vegetable can be grown in a traditional garden, it can probably be grown in a small space garden, including a container garden. Why not give it a try with some of your favorite vegetables?

Below you will find some basic information relating to one of the more popular vegetables, the tomato.  The tomato comes in all shapes, sizes, and varieties and can have a maturity of early, mid or late season allowing for a full season of enjoyment:

Growing Vegetables can be exhilarating to say the least. In addition to the healthy aspects of exercise and fresh air, there are many decisions to be made including the following:

What type of soil should be used?

What is the length of the growing season?

What type of plants or seeds should you grow?

How much water needs to be provide and how often?

How much sun or shade needs to be provided?

The tomato – what is it?

  • Is the tomato a fruit or vegetable?
    • Often thought to be a vegetable, botanically the tomato is a fruit. However, the question did reach the Supreme Court of the United States on April 24, 1893. Under Section G – Provision of the Tariff Act of March 3, 1883 tariffs were placed on tomatoes since they were considered a vegetable by the government. In May 1893 the Supreme Court concluded that botanically the tomato is a fruit, but in common language and usage it is considered a vegetable.
  • Are there square tomatoes?
    • While it might be nice to have a tomato slice that fits the shape of the bread used for your sandwich, this type of shape has not yet been produced.

    • The “square tomato” isn’t really square at all but a firm skinned tomato developed in the early 1950’s by Gordie “Jack” Hanna. Hanna was working on developing a tomato that would not be destroyed by mechanical harvesters and would also survive shipping over long distances.

    • Most tomatoes now found in your local supermarket are considered to be a square tomato.


Growing Vegetables – Tomatoes

  • Tomatoes are a warm-season vegetable and should be planted after the danger of frost is evident.

  • While tomatoes can be planted in any kind of soil, the preferred soil condition is a deep, loamy soil that is well drained and fed with organic materials and nutrients.

  • Tomatoes are usually labeled early, mid-season or fall depending upon when the plant matures.

  • Tomatoes will also be labeled determinate or indeterminate. Determinate plants grow to a certain height and stop and will also flower and ripen within a relatively short period of time. Indeterminate plants continue to grow and mature over the entire growing season.

  • Tomatoes are planted from transplants. When choosing transplants, select plants that are straight and without flowers. Plants should have 4 to 6 leaves and should be roughly the thickness of a pencil.

  • Plants can be planted deeply leaving the top layer of leaves exposed or they may be planted in trenches with the stalk being placed horizontally in the trench and covered with soil to the top layer of leaves.

  • If plants are to be caged, they should be placed 30-36 inches apart. If staked, they can be placed 2 feet apart. If left unstaked, plants should be mulched to keep the ripened fruit from resting directly on the soil.

  • Keep the plants evenly watered. Too little water can result in blossom-end rot and too much water can cause the tomato to split.

  • Pay special attention to water and fertilizer needs if growing in container.

  • One tomato plant can yield 8 to 10 pounds of fruit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *