Tasty Tomatoes In Tiny Gardens

Why Tomatoes?
Everyone loves fresh Tomatoes and they are the vegetable most often cited as the reason to grow your own vegetables.

There is an immense choice in front of you once you decide to have a few fresh tomatoes in your garden. Stokes’ catalogue lists about 65 varieties and despite my best efforts you can’t grow all of them each year. There are many of those varieties that you really don’t want to grow as they are for greenhouse or commercial production. That probably leaves you with only 30 really good home garden varieties to choose from. I’m growing 11 this year.

How Do I Choose
I didn’t choose 11. I don’t have room for 11. I chose 5 or 6 and then of course had some seed left over from many of the ones I chose last year and then I received a packet or two from the seed companies who want to highlight their new varieties. So now it’s 11.

Eating Fresh or Making Sauce
The most important thing to know when making your choices is the two major types of Tomatoes. Determinant and indeterminate, a couple of 5 cent horticultural words that tell you when you can pick your bounty. Indeterminate Tomatoes continue to grow and produce fruit as long as the growing conditions remain viable. Determinate Tomatoes grow a plant then sort of stop and set all of their fruit which will then all ripen at the same time. Great if you are making batches of Tomato sauce etc. but if just want to have a constant supply of fresh tomatoes, them you want the indeterminate types. After that it’s big / small, red/ yellow and similar choices. That’s how I wind up with 11 varieties!

How Do I Grow Them
Tomatoes seeded directly in to the garden may produce some fruit by late summer but we want them sooner and therefore we need to start them indoors 6 -8 weeks before they go outside. They will not tolerate any frost so in my zone that’s early June. Tomatoes are warm weather plants and will actually do better planted late, into warm soil, then sitting with their roots shivering in icy cold soil. There are as many ways to support growing Tomato vines as there are gardeners. Check my page on Tomato structures to see how I grow a lot of Tomatoes in a small space. Then wait for mid-summer and run out to the garden and follow the first recipe on my recipes page.

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