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How to Grow Tomatoes: Garden to Table Tips
Home-grown tomatoes have been an obsession of mine for over two decades, having grown more than 125 varieties in all shapes and sizes. And I’ve tasted more than 200 varieties with a diversity of flavor profiles. So I was excited to see some varieties that I’ve never grown before, such as ‘Defiant’ and ‘New Girl’, at my local Kmart. I also picked up ‘Celebrity’, ‘German Johnson’ tomatoes plus a few other favorites and will be heading out shortly to put my tomatoes in the ground.
A tomato’s flavor profile will vary depending on its characteristics. But I’ve discovered that the development of that
flavor profile depends on the quality of your soil, how it’s grown, and when you harvest the fruits.
I grow plants in full sun and a slightly acidic (soil pH 6.2 to 6.8), well-drained soil rich in organic matter. I also work compost or aged manure into the soil, along with a handful of rock dust and a bit of crushed oyster shell for flavor-enhancing trace minerals. Seaweed and kelp-based products applied as a foliar spray are also beneficial.
Mulching will improve flavor and overall yields, and staking or caging plants keeps fruit and foliage off the ground and in the air where light, heat and circulation are better. Water your tomatoes consistently and deeply early in the day and cut back on the amount of water once fruit is mature and begins to color.
For best flavor and texture, harvest tomatoes a few days before they are fully ripe, when fruits are semi-firm and have fully developed their color. And never store tomatoes in the refrigerator as chilling the fruits will reduce sweetness and overall flavor.
Skip the fridge and enjoy your harvest by adding fresh chopped tomatoes to pasta, tossed into salads, baked in scones, or added to stir-fries. And don’t forget fresh salsas, fresh tomato sauces, and my personal favorite – caprese salad with sea salt and olive oil drizzled over layers of sliced fresh tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and sliced fresh mozzarella cheese. Yumm! - Kris Wetherbee
Read Kris’ Recent Blogs & Guides
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° Dividing Perennials – Ways to Rejuvenate Prized Perennials
° Harvest Tips for Peak of Flavor & Garden Fresh Salsa
° Composting 101 – Making Black Gold for Your Garden
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° The Glamorous Garden Gear-Up – Garden Clogs & Apparel
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° Power up with Hot and Sweet Peppers – Garden to Table Cooking
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° How to Attract Birds to Your Garden
° Hazelnut Parsley Pesto – Garden to Table Cooking
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° Power up with Perennials
° Three Easy Steps to Plant Summer Flowering Bulbs
Kmart Garden Tool(s)
- Oakland, OR
I am so happy that I finally found my favorite tomato variety of all time -- Black Prince -- at my local K-Mart yesterday. This flavorful heirloom is worth growing and eating!
In response to Kris_Wetherbee
This is GREAT to hear, Kris! I will look for Black Prince at my local Kmart as well.
- Roseburg, OR
In response to Kris_Wetherbee
Black Prince sounds delicious. Today is my shopping day and I will be going to K-Mart. Hope they have Black Prince!
- Watsonville, CA
This is the most complete and concise article on tomatoes that I have ever read. Thanks!