Hurry up you still have time to bring homegrown tomatoes to your garden, your patio and your tummy, straight from your own edible garden! Typically you want to plant tomatoes in March but you have until the end of May, ( fudge a day or two) and get them to fruit in July and August. The reason is for most varieties the tomato fruit will not set until the nighttime temperature is above 55 degrees for at least two nights in a row. Tomato flowers need to be pollinated within 50 hours or so, or else they abort and drop off. It takes that long for the pollen to germinate and travel down in the tomato plant to germinate and produce. It takes longer in the colder temperatures and so the clock runs out on the pollen if the temperature is too low.
The most important step for success is to choose disease-resistant varieties that adapted to your area!
Choose plants that stand 6 – 12 inches high. After you buy the plant, place it outside in a sheltered area to slowly acclimate to your outdoor conditions. Move them to a sunny location two to three days before planting. Loosen soil with a shovel Place the tomato plants outside in a sheltered location for a few days to slowly acclimate them to outdoor conditions. Move them to a sunny location two or three days prior to planting. Dig a hole deep enough to accommodate the root system, usually about 6 inches deep. Plant tomatoes so the bottom leaves sit 1 inch from the soil. Water the tomato plants as needed to keep soil consistently moist, but not soggy. Periods of drought or excessive watering can cause problems such as blossom-end rot, cracked skins or limited yields. Apply the fertilizer when the fruit begins to set and every four to six weeks afterward.
Tomato blossoms can drop and fail to set fruit when temperatures remain above 85 degrees for more than a few days, causing a significant problem for gardeners in hot areas. Grow tomatoes in containers and move them to a shady location during very hot weather. Here’s a new breed to try – it is a Purple/Black tomato that just may do your health more good as it is packed with a type of anti-oxidant known as anthocyanins – Developed by Technological Seeds DM, an Israeli-based company, the “Black Galaxy” variety of tomato gets its color from a pigment found in blueberries, which was not present in its genome before
It gets darker and darker as it ripens!
“Indigo Rose” tomato was recently announced from a program at Oregon State University. Perhaps the OSU tomato , is “really, really purple” but it can at times it appear black.
Indigo Rose (Photo: Tiffany Woods via KVAL)
“Other so-called purple and black tomatoes have the green flesh gene, which prevents normal chlorophyll breakdown. A brown pigment called pheophytin accumulates and has a brownish color that makes a muddy purple when combined with carotenoids.”