Everything you wanted to know about growing tomatoes in your garden – Orange County Register

Tomatoes are the most popular garden crop today, but not always. For nearly 300 years from the time explorers brought tomato seeds from Mexico crossed by the Aztecs to Spain, they were considered suspicious from Europe to colonial America. Tomatoes were used as a decorative curiosity for table placement and other decorative purposes, but were otherwise avoided as toxic.

The word tomato comes from the Nahuatl equivalent of tomatl. Nahuatl, still spoken in Central Mexico today, was the Aztec language. “Tom” means swelling or fat, “Attle” means water, clearly representing the plump appearance and juiciness of the fruit.

Relation: Participate in all tomato events at the garden party

The toxic reputation of tomatoes began in the upper classes of Europe due to the expensive pewter plates they ate. When the cut tomato slices come into contact with the pewter plate, the tomato acid dissolves the pewter lead and the pewter is absorbed by the tomatoes. Therefore, eating tomatoes on a pewter plate causes lead poisoning. However, no such explanation for the apparent toxicity of tomatoes was known at the time. In addition, the fact that tomatoes belong to the Solanaceae (Solanaceae) family, which includes several deadly plant species, has been added to the notoriety of tomatoes as a dangerous food.

Fresh tomatoes isolated on a wooden background. (Getty Images)

French botanists are responsible for the scientific name for tomatoes, Lycopersicon esculentum, literally “juicy wolf peach”. It was called Wolf Peach because it was thought to resemble the mysterious fruit of that name in the writings of the ancient Greek doctor Garen. It is claimed that its juicy peach-like fruit was probably toxic to wolves and enhanced the identity of tomatoes as toxic plants.

Thomas Jefferson’s cultivation of tomatoes in Monticello began to improve the reputation of tomatoes in the late 1700s, but there were still many people in the country claiming tomato toxicity until 1900.

Conversely, tomatoes were said to be an aphrodisiac. The relationship between tomatoes and love began with a Bible story. There, the formerly barren patriarch Rachel becomes pregnant after being given us today the dudyme (literally, the fruit of love) known as mandrake. This story has earned Mandragora’s reputation as a fertile fruit and linked them to the love of the couple. Not only are the fruits of mandrake very similar to certain tomato varieties, but mandrake and tomato also share kinship as a member of the Solanaceae family.

One of the earliest names given to tomatoes was pomme d’amour, which means “apple of love” in French, and attracted attention for its quality that provokes the expected desire. In Italian, the word tomato is pomodoro. Derived from Pomodoro, which means golden apple, it speaks to the fact that the first tomatoes that arrived in Europe were yellow.

Tomatoes are easy to grow as long as some cultural conditions are met. The plant should be exposed to direct sunlight for at least 6-8 hours daily. Tomatoes are vines, so planting them in cages or in front of the trellis that is tied up as they grow will give the best harvest. Otherwise, many of the fruits will grow on the ground and rot before they are fully ripe and ready to be picked.

Tomatoes can adapt to different types of soil, but prefer good drainage. Plant the tomatoes deeply so that the lower leaves are just above the soil line. The roots germinate from the buried stem, giving the plant a wider network of roots to absorb water and fertilizer. Give your plants room to grow. The recommended distance is 5 feet between plants.

When it comes to growing tomatoes, mulch is a must. Problems with many tomatoes can be attributed to irregular soil moisture, especially if the fruit is deformed, cracked, or infected with a fungus. Mulches can evenly moisten the soil, keep the roots cold and increase the interval between irrigations.

Tomato plants are both native and native. Native plants pollute themselves, so even if you have only one tomato plant, it should bear fruit. In addition, tomato plants are also self-pollinating. That is, the pollination of each flower, which has both male and female organs, is due to its own pollen, and mutual pollination between the flowers can occur, but it is not necessary for fruit production.

Sometimes tomatoes bloom without fruit. The advice usually given in such cases is to gently shake the flower stems. The vibrations generated by the average garden breeze are usually sufficient to move pollen from the stamens (male part) to the stigma (female part). In fact, shaking the stalks of blooming tomatoes will probably produce more fruit. When the flowers begin to bloom, some gardeners shake the tomato stems a couple of times a day.

Self-pollination or self-pollination of tomatoes can also be done with the help of bees, but this is not the usual method. Bees usually pollinate flowers by foraging nectar. Nectar, including nectar, is at the base of the petals, and the bee’s body must rub the pollen at the top of the filament that floats above the petals in order to reach the petals. Pollen grains attach to the bristles of the bee’s body and deposit on the female stigma in the center of the filament. Bees continue to look for pollen in the same or different flowers.

In the case of tomato flowers, which have a low source of honey, bees affect pollination by the vibrations that occur when they make noise around the flowers, rather than carrying pollen between male and female flowers. When the bees crow next to the tomato flowers, the vibrations rock the male pollen grains to the female stigma. In greenhouses where tomatoes are grown, bumblebees are far better pollen maters than honeybees. The former buzz is much stronger than the bees. In the production of greenhouse tomatoes, where bumblebees are not available, the use of fans increases pollination.

In recent years, heirloom tomatoes have captured the fantasies of more and more gardeners. The ancestral varieties are at least 50 years old, inherited by families and other groups, and born from seeds. In other words, preserving seeds from ancestral varieties produces plants with the same type of tomatoes the next spring when planted-unlike hybrids that do not come from seeds. To preserve the tomato seeds, spread them on a paper towel with a little pulp and let them dry for 2 weeks. When dry, place a paper towel in an envelope and store in a dark, cool and dry place. It should be stored in a closed container and survived for 3-5 years.

Progenitor tomatoes have several advantages over hybrids. Heirlooms have abundant flavors, come in a variety of colors (pink, yellow, orange, maroon, purple), with marble and stripes, and unusual shapes (until the 20th century, tomato varieties were rounded. It was all in shape except. Extension of growth period. However, heirloom is more susceptible to illness than hybrids.

Amy Goldman Fowler has been hailed as one of the most skilled and knowledgeable vegetable growers in the United States and has written a book on over 200 Airroom Tomato varieties. This is a must read for anyone who wants to grow tomatoes with a dreamy texture and flavor. The author mentions a heirloom that is sweet enough to be eaten with ice cream. Heirloom Tomatoes: From Garden to Table-Recipes, Portraits, and the World’s Most Beautiful Fruit History (Bloomsbury, 2008) has grown hundreds of tomato varieties on an acre of land in northern New York for many years. It is the culmination of.

By the way, if you put tomatoes in the refrigerator in a fully ripe state, the shelf life will be longer. However, if it is not fully ripe when refrigerated, the taste and texture will be impaired. During ripeness, the tomatoes should be placed with the stem side down at room temperature.

As part of the Garden Party series, the Southern California News Group will be announcing a webcast about “Everything Tomato” on Wednesday, May 19th at 11:00 am. To register for free, please visit the following URL: Please send questions about tomatoes to before the event.

This week’s tips: There are two opinions about whether tomatoes can be grown in the same place every year. The argument against this practice is that pathological soil fungi accumulate when tomatoes are continuously planted in the same soil. Still, I know of cases where tomatoes were planted in the same place for more than 10 years without any adverse effects. Last year, I received an email from Russell Cabana, who has grown tomatoes in the same area of ​​his garden on Huntington Beach for the past 12 years and is harvesting four annual crops of Early Girl, Celebrity, July 4, Sweetie 100. It was. .Kavanagh cultivates the soil, adds compost from the compost box every year, fertilizes and lightly crushes when planting 16-16-16 products. Finally, he deepens the water by hand. This is always a good idea for irrigation in general, as opposed to the unreliable and less uniform application of water with sprinkler systems.

Everything you wanted to know about growing tomatoes in your garden – Orange County Register Source link Everything you wanted to know about growing tomatoes in your garden – Orange County Register

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