Reap rewards of tomatoes
TOMATOES are the world's most widely grown crop – and there are thousands of varieties to choose from.
The fruit once had a reputation for being lethal in Northern Europe and America, even though other nations had enjoyed tomatoes for years, and it wasn't until the 1820s, when US colonel Robert Johnson ate a basketful in public with no ill-effects that they became widely grown in those regions.
Tomatoes are widely used in many dishes, consumed raw, included in sauces and drinks and rich in vitamin C.
Tomatoes are vulnerable to pests and diseases so growers must be vigilant.
Tomatoes are acidic, making them especially easy to preserve in home canning whole, in pieces, as tomato sauce or paste.
The fruit is also preserved by drying, often in the sun, and sold either in bags or in jars with oil.
Tomatoes are one of the most popular fruits to grow at home. Here are a few tips on how to do it successfully:
- Choosing the right variety is important. You must decide which characteristics of a tomato are important to you and which variety is most likely to thrive in your climate and area.
- Unless you are experienced at growing seeds, it's often best to buy seedlings from a nursery. Seedlings are usually uniform in size and usually suffer very little from transplant shock when properly planted out.
- Tomato plants should be spaced about 50-90cm apart in a row. The space between rows should be about 1.5m to 2m.