Tomatoes thrive in full sun and require a solid 8 hours of light a day to produce well.
Tomatoes require a steady level of moisture to grow well. Uneven watering between dry and wet can cause ripening fruit to crack. Uneven moisture can also lead to blossom drop and blossom end rot. To keep moisture steady, it is important to mulch tomato plants for moisture retention.
Having too much water can also be a problem as soaking-wet soil can cause the roots of the tomato plant to rot.
Tomatoes are heavy feeders and require a lot of nutrients. Dressing your soil well with compost is a must. However, due to moisture requirements, the soil must drain well too.
Tomatoes are semitropical plants and do not tolerate cold soil or frost. In colder climates, it is recommended to start tomatoes inside before planting in the garden after the danger of frost passes.
Pests / Diseases
- Tomato Hornworm
- Blossom end rot
- cattle panels
- single stem
- bush in cage
(Work in progress. I want to show a plant going through the various lifecycle to give people an idea of what the plant will look like during the various stages of maturity.)
While the stereotypical tomato is red in color, different varieties of tomato plants can have fruit that ripens into a combination of green, yellow, orange, purple, and even brown colors. The different colors of tomato does have an impact on the flavor of tomatoes due to the chemical components that create this coloration.
Both the plant and the fruit can have subtle or bold variegation in color depending on the variety of tomatoes that you plant. Variegation is largely cosmetic and does not serve as an indicator of flavor.
Determinate vs indeterminate
Tomato varieties are generally categorized as either “determinate” or “indeterminate.” Determinate tomato plants are bred to stop growing around 3′-4′ tall while indeterminate tomato plants do not have a defined limit and can grow from 6′-20′ tall in some cases. Determinate tomatoes also grow and ripen their fruit around the same time where indeterminate varieties produce fruit continuously throughout the season.
Size of fruit
Tomato varieties come in all sorts of fruit sizes from small, berry-like tomatoes up to massive double-fist sized tomatoes. Here are the most common categories of fruit sizes.
Cherry Tomatoes – Cherry tomatoes are very small, about 2 to 3oz or less. Because of how small they are, they ripen quickly and are perfect for eating raw as a snack, baking into quiches or breads, using in salads, or pickling.
Paste and Plum Tomatoes – Slightly bigger than cherry tomatoes, these are generally less juicy and more meaty. They are perfect for using in tomato sauce and tomato paste and are also good to dry for long-term storage.
Medium-Sized Tomatoes – Medium-sized tomatoes make for a good all-purpose tomato. You can dice or chop them, use them in salads, slice them to make tomato sandwiches, and do just about anything else that can be done with a tomato.
Beefsteak Tomatoes – Beefsteak tomatoes are large varieties of tomatoes which usually grow on determinate plants and can produce fruits up to 5 lbs.
This is a list of varieties that I have personally grown and what I have learned while growing them. I am not an expert gardener and you’ll have different experiences in different environments, so your mileage may vary.