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Tomatoes: Love's Sweet Apples

Tomatoes: Love's Sweet Apples

Tomatoes (Lycopersicum esculentum), which are native to South America's Andean area and were first cultivated there in the sixteenth century, have been cultivated there for a much longer period of time. The European civilizations were brought to them by the Spaniards. Tomatoes, which are members of the nightshade family, were believed to be harmful to Europeans until the end of the sixteenth century. The French, who later sampled them, started referring to them as "pommes d'amour," or "love apples." Tomatoes were considered to have aphrodisiac properties by the ancient Greeks. It wasn't until the early 1900s that tomatoes became popular in the United States.

The fruit's health advantages have been shown through scientific studies. Lycopene has been revealed to be found in tomatoes in recent years by scientists. In tests, the incidence of cardiovascular disease and numerous malignancies, including prostate and colon cancers, has been greatly reduced by this antioxidant. In addition to being high in phytochemicals, minerals, and dietary fiber, tomatoes are also low in fat and salt. They're a good source of iron and potassium, as well as important vitamins A, B, and C. In fact, a medium-sized tomato delivers 20% of the necessary daily amount of vitamin A and 40% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C.

How to Become a Grower

Tomatoes may be grown from seed and it is really straightforward to do so. Tomatoes come in more than a hundred varieties. Tomatoes come in a wide range of colors, including green, yellow, purple, and even striped, unlike what most people assume. It's impossible to experience all of the variations unless you cultivate your own. If you don't have the time, buy tomato plants from garden centers. Growers are making more and more types accessible to consumers.

Tomato seeds should be started six to eight weeks before transplanting into a seedling flat filled with a high-quality seedling mixture. If you're going to buy potting soil, make sure it's sterilized and has a high proportion of sphagnum peat moss and perlite from the garden center. Avoid using garden soil because it hardens and prevents seedlings from taking root properly and because it may contain insects, illness, weed seeds, or pesticide residue. Avoid using garden soil.

Seeds should be sown over the soil-filled flat and then gently pressed into the soil. In order to keep the seeds from drying out, cover them with a thin coating of vermiculite. Spray the soil with a fine mist spray, such as from the kitchen sink sprayer or a mister bottle, to wet it. Soil that is too dry will kill sprouting seeds or seedlings, even if it's only for a few minutes. Keep the seeds properly wet to ensure that the mixture never dries out. Use a transparent plastic bag or plastic wrap to protect the flat or pot. As soon as the seedlings start to appear, remove the plastic.

Include the date you planted it and the kind of tomato you used in each container. Place the flat on a hot surface, the top of a refrigerator, or a heat register for quick germination. Seedlings should be moved from the heat source to a position with plenty of light as soon as they germinate. A south-facing window with no blinds or curtains is perfect for growing these plants, since they need a lot of light to function correctly. Grow lights may help your plants grow faster. For best results, keep the lights on for 14 hours a day and place them 6 inches (15 cm) away from the plants.

Seedlings should be moved to bigger, separate pots when they get their first "real" leaves. Once a week after transplanting, use a plant-starter fertilizer such as 10-52-10 at a 14-pH level to fertilize the new plants. As an organic gardener, I exclusively use fish fertilizer on my transplants instead of commercial fertilizer. Once they're outside, they're fed every week until they're strong enough to handle it. To assist the plant taking root, harden it off and then plant it deep into the ground.

Compost or decomposed manure must be used in large amounts while growing tomatoes since they are heavy eaters. To prevent wilt disease and blossom-end rot, use mulch and water when the weather is dry. It is believed that water stress or a calcium deficit are to blame for blossom-end rot. Blossom-end rot may be avoided by watering your plants on a regular and uniform schedule. Tomatoes should never be watered from the top. Using a hose, water tomatoes from the bottom up.

Chives, parsley, marigolds, nasturtium, and carrots are all good companions for tomatoes in the garden. It's best to keep tomato plants and other members of the Brassica family away since they don't like each other. Red spider mites may be a problem for tomatoes, so use garlic between the plants to keep them safe. Rose black spot may be prevented by growing tomatoes. Make a spray for roses with a mixture of 4 or 5 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch by juicing tomato leaves in your juicer. When it's not convenient to grow tomatoes as a companion, strain and spray roses. Keep any unused spray in the refrigerator and label it with your name.

There are many ways to include tomatoes in your cooking: salads, soups, sauces, stews, baked meals such as sandwiches and fillings, grilled, broiled, pasta dishes, and salsa. They go nicely with a variety of foods, including meat, fish, poultry, pasta, and rice. At room temperature, store tomatoes. A brown paper bag and an apple at room temperature for many days can ripen green tomatoes. You may use canned tomatoes or tomato juice as a replacement for fresh tomatoes if they aren't available.

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