Sunlight Requirements (where to plant related to sun)
- Full Sun
- Full Sun or Partially Shade
Soil Type (type of soil plant needs)
- Soil with Good Drainage
- Soil with Drainage but Wet
Climate Type (how tollerant is to frost?)
- No Frost Tolerant
Fragrant Plant (do flowers have an aroma?)
- No Fragrant Flowers
Difficulty Level (how hard is to cultivate this plant?)
Flower Color (what color flowers produces)
Blooming Season (which months blooms)
Showing Season (which months can we sow seeds)
Planting Season (which months can we plant or transplant)
How to grow Tomatoes
The tomato, is a red juicy fruit (or vegetable), ideal for salads and the main ingredient of the famous village (“xoriatiki”) salad. The uses of tomato are so many in recipes that can easily be called the king of vegetables (or fruits?).
Other names for tomatoes
Latin name: Solanum lycopersicum
Greek name: Ντομάτα (single) Ντομάτες (plural) or Τομάτα (single), Τομάτες (plural)
Tomato is a plant of the Solanaceae family, native to Central and South America, from Mexico to Peru. Is usually grown as an annual plant. It typically reaches 1-3 m tall, but lacks a sturdy trunk and relies on other plants or help from humans for support. The leaves are 10-25 cm long and are compound, consisting of 5-9 smaller leaves each up to 8 cm long with a prickly roundel. Both the trunk of the plant and the leaves have hairs. The flowers are 1-2 cm in diameter, yellow with five pointed lobes and grow in clusters of 3-12. The plant is sometimes called a tomato plant.
There are greenhouse tomatoes (climbing) and outdoor tomatoes (semi-climbing and self-climbing). Climbing and semi-climbing tomatoes need support which is either with string (greenhouse from horizontal wire) or on reeds when grown outdoors. Self-branching tomatoes do not need support because they are self-blinding at the top and do not grow upwards.
The fruit, also called tomato, is spherical or oblong, edible, and when ripe is bright red in color because it contains the pigment lycopene. Before it ripens, the tomato is green in color. In wild plants the fruit is 1-2 cm in diameter, but in most tame plants it is considerably larger, from 5-10 cm.
The word tomato is derived from the Nahuatl language word tomatl.
The weight of the tomato fruit is from 250 -350 grams (large-fruited), while there are also small-fruited hybrids (cherry or Santorini tomatoes which can be harvested by the bunch (and not individually) and have a weight of 50 – 100 grams.
Santorini tomatoes are a special variety of tomatoes. They are small and look like cherry tomatoes. Due to volcanic soil in this Greek island, Santorini tomatoes are very tasty. They have low needs on water and are very hardy. The original Santorini tomatoes, look like small pumpkins in shape.
But you can grow Santorini tomatoes all over the world. Where ever tomatoes grow. They are perfect for soils with low in nutritients.
Starting tomato from seeds
You can start your tomato plants by sowing the seeds directly into the soil, or you can sow them first in a nursery and then transplant the seedlings to their final location.
Seeds – Nursery
Four to six weeks before the last winter colds, you can start your tomato seeds. Place 6 to 7 seeds in each cup of the nursery. Place the seeds at a depth of 1 to 1.5 cm and water regularly. We recommend keeping the nursery in a relatively warm place (25 to 35 degrees Celsius). This will help the seeds to germinate earlier. Also make sure the nursery gets several hours of sunlight a day.
As the seedlings grow you should only keep the 3 strongest ones in each cup. The rest can be uprooted, being careful not to hurt the others, or you can press them down so they sink into the soil.
When the seedlings reach a height of 15 cm, it is safe to transplant them to their final location in the garden.
Distance between tomato plants
Tomatoes grow aggressively both horizontally and vertically. Plant spacing should be at least 0.6 to 1 meter. You should also make sure that the tomato plants have supports so that they do not fall from the weight of their fruits. The support can be anything from a simple reed on which you tie the tomato plant, to entire structures.
Tomato diseases due to nutrients deficiency in the soil
For tomato diseases caused by a lack of nutrients in the soil (Calcium, Nitrogen, Potassium, Manganese, Magnesium, Iron, Boron), please check the post: Symptoms of Nutrient Deficiency in Tomatoes. Trophobias.
Best soil for tomato plants
Tomato plants like well-fertilized, well-drained soil. You should make sure the soil has plenty of fertilizer (e.g. compost, manure).
Tomato plants need calcium to grow properly. If the soil does not contain enough calcium, then you can throw white construction sand around the tomato plants.
The ideal soil pH is: 6.0 to 6.8.
Tomato harvesting starts 60 to 70 days after sowing, depending on the variety.
Nutritional value of tomatoes
An average tomato (148 grams) is a perfect source of vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as a good source of potassium and vitamin K, and has only 35 calories.
Tomatoes are a top source of lycopene. Lycopene protects against heart disease and can reduce the risk of various cancers such as: prostate, ovarian, cervical, oral, pharyngeal, esophageal, stomach, colon and rectal, lung and pancreatic.
According to the University of Manchester, eating lycopene-rich tomatoes increases protection against sunburn by 33%.
Note: Cooking tomatoes maximizes the release of lycopene from tomatoes. This is because heat releases lycopene from the cell walls.
Resources – Related Links
See also the blog post: Growing Tomatoes (Tomatoes) – How to Grow Tomatoes