Enjoying tomatoes in the garden

Biting into the juicy fragrant flesh of a home-grown tomato is within your reach if you have a little space in your vegetable patch.

There are a great many tomato varieties, all boasting unique shapes, colors and flavors. Don’t just stick to bland single-colored tomato salads: plant several different species in the garden!

All tomatoes crave sun and rich soil, because tomatoes are demanding fruits. Offer them the spot in the garden that is most exposed, and enrich it before planting with a solid dose of compost.

Planting tomatoes in their beds

Whether you opted to grow your own seedlings from seed, or have purchased young plants in nursery pots, you’ll only be settling them in your garden mid-May, after the famous Ice Saints days which signal the end of the frosty nights.

Bury the bottom of the stem by an inch (a couple centimeters) to boost root growth, and stake them immediately. It is good to keep plants about 20 inches (50 cm) apart, and to space rows by 3 feet (1 meter).

Cover your beds with a thick layer of mulch. As they grow, you’ll have to thin the branches, and “pinch” them, that is, to remove side shoots and “suckers”, so that fruits may grow.

Tomato varieties

lots of different easy to grow tomatoes on a plank of woodAmong the most tasty and productive varieties, you’ll find:

  • ‘Ananas’, with sweet orange fruits;
  • ‘Rose de Berne’, with a good tolerance to downy mildew and
  • ‘Russian’, with large, fragrant fruits.

Don’t forget the cherry tomatoes, delicious natural appetizers and easy to grow as part of pot arrangements on the deck.

A classic cherry tomato variety is the ‘Red Cherry’, but other colors grow too, like the delicious ‘Black Cherry’ and ‘Green grape’.

Watering tomatoes

In summer, water your tomato plants abundantly (at least two or three quarts (liters) water per plant) once a week, twice in dry weather.

Be careful not to wet the leaves because it leads to diseases appearing. In case of downy mildew, pull out diseased leaves and if the weather forecast predicts solid rain, protect your plants under a tunnel or a frame. Stop watering when fruits start turning red, to concentrate their taste.

Laure Hamann

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