Despite what everybody says, a tomato is really a fruit. In 1893, for trade purposes, the government decided to call this fruit a vegetable. One medium tomato supplies almost half of the vitamin C you need daily, as well as 20% of the vitamin A, plus fiber and essential minerals.
Which Tomato to Grow
I say grow a little of each from beefsteak to cherry tomatoes.
Red round tomatoes include the beefsteak and a whole host of other varieties. Yellow round are sweeter and less acidic than their red cousins. Red or yellow plum tomatoes, sometimes called roma, are very tasty and makes great sauces.
Red or yellow cherry tomatoes and pear tomatoes are extra sweet and very pretty in salads, as a garnish, or quickly sautéed in a nonstick skillet with fresh herbs for an easy side dish. Tomatoes are a great addition to a kid’s garden.
Green tomatoes are just an unripened tomato. Remember the movie Fried Green Tomatoes? Of course instead of frying, just coat slices with a little nonstick spray, dip in cornmeal, spritz again with a little spray and bake in the oven at 350 until lightly golden. Don’t forget green tomatoes are great pickled and added to a sandwich.
Tomato varieties are divided into two broad groups: determinate and indeterminate.
Determinate tomatoes are early season tomatoes, meaning they grow to a certain size, set their fruit and stop growing. The plants are usually short and bushy and don’t require staking.
Indeterminate tomatoes grow and bear fruit indefinitely until the frost kills them. Their vines should be staked and supported to prevent fruit from rotting.
What Does Heirloom Mean?
Heirloom seeds and vegetables are popping up all over the place. The term “heirloom vegetable” covers many things. It can mean that the plant is no different from those found in their native setting or in the wild. More likely though, it means that they are from seeds that have been collected by farmers over many years from crops showing desirable traits.
Unlike hybrid seeds, heirloom seeds produce plants that are identical to their parent plants. Often these seeds are passed from framer to framer for many generations.
One benefit of choosing heirloom seeds is environmental, choosing these seeds helps protect genetic diversity, thereby supporting a more diverse wildlife system. Because the seeds have often been naturally selected for their good qualities, such as pest or disease resistance, there is a lesser need to use chemical treatments to obtain healthy plants.
Here at Civano Nursery we grow many heirloom varieties, and are proudly carry Native Seed Search and Botanical Interest heirloom varieties.