Tips

Summer means tomatoes

Tomato-Roma

If there’s a vegetable that’s completely associated with summer, it’s the tomato. And spring is tomato planting time.

Modern tomatoes are distant descendants of the wild plants that grew in the Andes Mountains in South America. The Aztecs in Mexico were the first to domesticate and begin breeding better varieties of tomatoes. It was after the Spanish conquest that tomatoes were first taken to Europe. Here they grew so well in the warm Mediterranean countries that tomatoes became an integral part of Italian and Spanish cuisine. There is even an annual tomato battle in Spain that is called La Tomatina.

Tomatoes are the world’s most popular vegetables and Wikipedia claims that close to 150 million tonnes of tomatoes were grown worldwide in 2010. That’s bound to be just what’s produced by the commercial growers; these figures don’t count all those tomatoes that are grown in backyards.

With their tropical origins it’s easy to appreciate why tomatoes are grown in the warmer months. They can’t stand cold so are usually planted in spring to grow through summer. Even in frosty climates tomatoes can be started from seed indoors a few weeks before the last frost. Later, when the soil is warm, tomato seeds can be sown direct into garden beds.

Grow tomatoes in soil that’s been enriched with plenty of organic compost or manure and some fertiliser. Dynamic Lifter Plus Fruit Food is ideal because it combines composted manure with added nutrients. Choose a sunny spot that hasn’t been used to grow tomatoes or tomato relatives (capsicum, eggplant, potatoes) in recent years. Use Yates Tomato Dust to control the common pest and diseases that can cause problems for the plants.

Varieties

There are thousands of different tomato varieties but most home gardeners are interested in three basic groups: salad tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and cooking tomatoes. And Yates seed range has a selection for each type.

This spring, too, as part of Yates 125th birthday celebrations, Yates branding appears on two tomato seedlings: Pot Roma and Big Beef.


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