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Variety, tending, harvesting and storing tomato

Updated on December 12, 2016

A variety of tomato

Tomatoes come in different sizes shapes colors and flavor. There always a tomato for a particular cooking job.
Tomatoes come in different sizes shapes colors and flavor. There always a tomato for a particular cooking job. | Source

We got tonight - Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers live 1985


Tomatoes come in a wide range of sizes, shapes and colors. For any job there is a suitable tomato. We have a variety of tomatoes such as Cherokee, Cherry Red and the very popular Sun Gold variety among others. They are also graded by how long they stay in the garden. Thus the 60, 80 and 100 dayiers are more common. Taking the time to improve the soil fertility is a very important step that will pay dividends down the road. When planting your seedlings ensure that the roots of neighboring seedlings don't tangle. This is the reason why when you plant two seedlings in a single cell the weaker looking one is eventually nipped out at the soil level. Don't give up with the green tomato. Try as much as possible to ripen it. The dark green tomato does not normally ripen but the more whitish one will ripen if you employ some techniques.

Sun gold tomato

Sun gold tomato is very popular and sweet.
Sun gold tomato is very popular and sweet. | Source

Mini-farming: A starting guide for practical farming at your very own home

Tomato variety

Tomatoes come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, color and flavor. It is of importance to be able to chose the right tomato for the right job. For pastes you want to go for one of the plum types. For the plum types the ratio of the juice is low. You have a fleshier tomato, perfect for sauces. Amish Paste, Heinz Super and San Marzona are examples f tomato varieties. For tomatoes for basic needs like a sandwich you need to go with a big tomato like Beef Steak. This big round tomatoes are juicier. Mortage Lifter, Debut, Cherokee, Brandley, Celebrity and Better Bush are still other varieties of tomato. Tiny tomatoes like Sweet One Hundred is nature's candy. Julie Yellow Pier is also very sweet. Other small snacky tomatoes include Black Cherry, Huskey, Cherry Red or Sun Gold. So whether you are looking for something that is sweet, tiny, robust or meaty, there is a tomato out there to meet your needs. The most favorable are the huge that don't crack too much and are not too long. When they are too long you might have 100 days of waiting in the garden. Its more days to catch diseases or bugs. Mix some 60 days, 100 days and some 80s so again you are harvesting all the way through. Early Girl is 80 days, is quick, is not huge but tasty and is easy. Mix this up with a medium quickness cheriot, Sun Gold which is that nice golden cherry tomato which is quite sweet. For some of the longer ones Brandywine is ideal. It is a 100 dayier. Rainbow has many different colors inside one tomato. It is a big one. Black Sea Man is a Russian tomato. It has flavor and is really big. Beefmaster Hybrid is big and has good resistance to several diseases affecting tomatoes. It produces fine produce.

Planting tomato seedlings

Two seedlings will be in a single cell but eventually the weaker looking one will be nipped off at the soil line. This ensures roots of the seedlings don't entangle.
Two seedlings will be in a single cell but eventually the weaker looking one will be nipped off at the soil line. This ensures roots of the seedlings don't entangle. | Source

Preparing the site

Three weeks before planting, go in and prepare your planting site. Dig a hole eight inches deep, maybe 8-12 inches deep and about a foot wide. Then come back in and refill the hole with two parts of compost, really good compost. You don't have to use compost but some type of good organic matter, maybe manure or some sort of organic matter will also do. Two parts of that with one part of soil. Then in order to give the tomatoes a little bit of start, put in a little bit of lime. About a third of a cup of this so as to add some calcium. Two table spoons of a good complete fertilizer and then mix up that really good. And then we have about 2 or 3 weeks for the compost to continue decomposing further, for the soil to begin to take up some of the lime and fertilizer and then the hole is ready to plant the tomato when time comes. Stick some kind of mark so that you are able to identify where your tomato site is. Get a garbage bag material and put it over the tomato hole so as to warm the soil up. You can remove the paper or dig a hole through it to plant your tomato plant. This method is for a sizable site.

For a much smaller garden you need to dig about a foot into the soil so as to loosen it really well so that your plant's roots will be able to push in really easily and just form really nice, strong and steady plants. Pull out the weeds and shake up the soil so that you leave as much soil as possible in the garden bed. If there are warms in the garden bed, these help in breaking the heavier soil lumps. Add some compost. Compost is a good organic material. It helps loosen up the soil as well. It adds nutrients that helps your garden explode with growth and be really productive. Just pour it over the soil and mix it up with the top soil making sure you loosen the soil up. Try not to stand on the soil as much as possible so you don't make it too compact for plant roots to penetrate it easily.

Transplanting the tomato seedlings

When the seedlings' roots fill the cell its time to transplant them into either the garden or a bigger pot.
When the seedlings' roots fill the cell its time to transplant them into either the garden or a bigger pot. | Source

Don Williams - You're my best friend

Tomato seedlings and transplanting to the garden

A tray with deep cells, that similar to an egg tray but with larger cells, will be filled with fresh compost. Plant in two tomato seeds in each cell. Water it properly and place in a nice warm place. The warmer it is the faster they germinate. They will normally be up in a week. At least one seed per cell will germinate, it is hoped. When the seedlings are about 2 inches tall, it's time to thin. Choose the strongest, healthiest looking seedling in the cell and remove the other by nipping it off at the soil line. Repeat the same process in each cell. The reason you need only one seedling per cell is because we don't want their roots to tangle. Once the seedlings have two sets of leaves, its time to start feeding them every week with soluble fertilizer. About a month after sowing, gently remove the seedlings when their roots fill the cells. It is now time to repot. Each seedling gets its own container. Place a thin layer of soil in the bottom of the pot and place the seedling in the pot before filling in with soil. It's okay to bury the stem of the tomato plant. The plant will grow more roots along the buried stem. Water the planting mix and wait for another few weeks of growth. Transplant these seedlings into the garden. Biodegradable pots can be transplanted right into the garden along with the seedling. If your seedlings are more than a foot tall it's best to plant them in a trench so you can bury the lower part of the stem. Begin by pinching off the lower branches and leaves. You want to avoid burying any of the forage to prevent rot. Begin by digging a trench 8 inches deep and 6 inches wide. Lay the plant on its side in the trench. Gently bend the stem so that the top porting is above the soil line. Fill In the trench firming the soil around the stem so it's upright. Water properly and add a support like a tomato cage. Keep the plant watered and fertilized and you will be harvesting ripe tomatoes in about 2 months. Remember to remove growth that develops between the stem and the leaves. Every single week remove them. To do it correctly turn the side growth right and then left to break it off without damaging the stem or adjacent leaf. Remove the lower leaf when it turns yellow. This helps in ventilation and you get less white flies hopefully. This will be done every week or two. Make sure you are removing only the side growth in between the leaf and the stem and you are not breaking off a leaf thinking it's a side growth. Also remember that bush tomatoes are not taken through this process. Every week or so help the tomato tie itself round the supporting string. Water just the base of the tomato plant leaving the leaves dry to avoid disease spread.

Tomato harvesting

Don't give up on the green tomato. It will eventually pay good dividends if you are also able to ripen these.
Don't give up on the green tomato. It will eventually pay good dividends if you are also able to ripen these. | Source

Tracy Chapman - Give me one reason (Live 11/13) TatanBrown TatanBrown

Harvesting and storing the tomato

The dark green tomato that is hard like an apple will not ripen, but the ones that feel soft on touch have already started the ripening process and this can be helped. The red tomato is already rip meaning all you need do is pick and store in a cool dry place ready for consumption or sale for that matter. Pick the yellow ones and stack them in a brown paper bag which will then have its top closed or you can put them in a cardboard box. Don't store them in any extreme. So don't put the box in too much light or no light at all. So one good place is in the garage somewhere up on a table or something, but as you stack them, make sure you don't stack them on top of each other because you don't want to bruise them as they ripen. And then as you are ripening them make sure you watch for moldy ones or rotting ones because if they start to rot you don't want that rot all over the rest of the tomatoes. Cover the box with a towel and put the box in the garage. Make sure you pull out all stems from the tomatoes as they ripen to avoid these stems bruising their neighboring tomatoes.

Another method of ripening tomatoes is by uprooting the whole plant and hanging it in the garage. The tomatoes still pull nutrients from the plant since they are still on the vine. They are going to remove the remaining nutrients from the vine and put them in themselves. The garage gets warm in the day. The heat helps accelerate the ripening process of the tomato fruit.

Tomatoes ripening

There are many different methods of ripening tomatoes.
There are many different methods of ripening tomatoes. | Source

And how do you ripen the green tomatoes

You should never give up on the green tomatoes. It pays to give them a chance. The hard dark green ones often rot. Choose the whiter ones because they are most likely to ripen. Take the tomato and wrap it in a newspaper and store in a box. Place them in one at a time. Put the box in a cool dark place e.g. 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want them to ripen real faster warm the temperature up. Another way to accelerate the ripening process is by placing an apple or two into the box now containing the green tomatoes wrapped in newspapers. Ethylene gas from the apples accelerate the ripening process. The tomatoes are producing their own ethylene gas which causes them to ripen but the apples are accelerating the process. Place the box in a basement and check at them ones a week and if any looks like they are rotting take them out.


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