Fruit or vegetable? This debate regarding whether this very red, very tasty vegetable has existed for a while now. Although botanically classified as a fruit, the tomato plant is still very much used more as a vegetable. The tomato plant is very versatile in its usage when it comes to food. It is widely used in salads, soups, gravies and even dips. The tangy yet juicy flavour that it adds to the dishes gives a delicious elevation to any dish. The tomato plant is actually a berry coming from the nightshade family of Solanum Lycopersicum and is native to the South American region.
Thinking of nurturing your own tomato garden? Well, it’s not as difficult as you might reckon it is. Grow tomato in your home hassle-free. Be careful about the various tomato pests and diseases that can affect tomato plants.
Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Ever wondered what gave the tomato plant its vibrant red colour? That would be a substance that is known as lycopene. Not only does it provide this plant with its famous colour, but it also gives us some health benefits. It has antioxidant properties and also supposedly acts as a protective barrier against UV rays. Antioxidants provide protection against free radicals and protect our immune system. Because of the high levels of lycopene, it boosts our immune system. Lycopene also helps in keeping your heart’s health in check by lowering bad cholesterol levels. It is also said to be good for our eyes. Tomatoes are also a rich source of vitamins having C, A and K which is good for our vision, skin health, bones and maintaining our blood pressure levels. Tomatoes have 95% of fluid content which is very beneficial in keeping our digestive levels in check.
How To Use In Foods
Tomatoes are so versatile that you can use them in a variety of ways. Tomato soups are some very well-known dishes specially paired with croutons. They are also a great option if you want to add something tangy to your salads. Tomato sauces are also used as a base on pizzas. Salsa, a popular dip, consists of tomatoes as its main ingredient. They are often used in different curries too. In most Indian curries, this ingredient gives it that tanginess. It can be used as both the main ingredient of a dish or something to elevate the flavour. Depending on the tomato varieties you go with, it’ll give you the required flavour and texture.
Just like any other vegetable and fruit, there are many tomato varieties. From tomato seed varieties to tomato hybrid varieties, you’ll find anything you wish for in the market. Here are some of the best tomato varieties decoded for you.
This variety is round and medium in size with an acidic and juicy flavour. The Harvest can be yielded in 50 to 55 days and can be grown in the monsoon season. Its average weight is anywhere between 65 to 75 gms.
The size of this variety is anywhere from medium to large. The fruit is born in bunches rather than a single fruit. It can be harvested in 120 to 130 days with an average weight of 75 to 85 gms.
This variety has square round fruits and has thick skin. It has a great shelf life. Its harvest can be expected in around 70 days.
It has broad leaves with a round shape that has a glossy red colour. This particular variety is good for long-distance transportation and can weigh between 80 to 90 gms.
This variety is oval and square in shape. It has a glossy red colour with an average weight between 80 to 90 gms.
This variety is round in shape and can yield its harvest between 65 to 70 days from transplantation. Its average weight is between 70 to 80 gms.
The fruit size is medium with glossy red colour. The harvest can be yielded between 70 to 75 days. The average weight of this fruit is between 90 to 100gms.
These are the best tomato seeds for rainy season. They have a round fruit with a deep red colour and weigh between 80 to 90 gms.
This variety has a smooth red colour with a prolific bearing. Its average weight is between 80 to 90 gms.
How To Plant Your Own Tomato Plant
Growing tomato plants is definitely possible if you have been having doubts about it. Right from planting tomato seeds, to taking care of the small tomato plant to harvesting it, we have compiled the steps for you. Here’s a small guide to growing a tomato plant at home right from scratch.
1] The Best Season For Tomatoes
Tomatoes prefer a warm climate and so the tomato growing season falls mostly in the summer. Usually in India, they are planted anywhere between March to April. For growing tomatoes at home, the same time frame should be followed for a good harvest.
2] Selecting The Seeds
Whether it is the cherry tomato plant you decide on or the Plum Tomato, there are several types of tomato plants to pick from. So based on how you plan to harvest them, you can take your pick.
3] Choosing The Right Container And Soil Preparation
For growing tomatoes in pots, first, you need to choose one that is the best fit. Don’t use a pot with any material that can dry out quickly like clay. Instead, go for plastic or something similar. Ensure the container also has enough drain holes. The tomato pots
should be at least 3 to 4 inches deep. For the right soil, loamy or sandy loam should be the best one. Avoid heavy clay types of soil. Make sure to prepare the best soil mix for seeds. The pH of the soil should be between 6.0 to 6.8.
4] Watering Your Plant
The seeds should be watered regularly but till the tomato seedlings start to germinate they will require very little water. Just ensure the soil is moist. Then, water deeply once the seeds start to germinate. When the fruit ripens, you can ease in on the watering.
5] Tomato Plant Care
When caring for your tomato plantation make sure that you sow your seeds for at least 6 to 8 weeks before you begin transplanting them. From amongst the many tomato growing tips, remember this – transplant your tomato plant when it reaches 5 to 6 inches. Water the soil once every two days. The plant requires at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight every day so choose a spot accordingly. Fertilizer for tomato plants mainly includes manure and compost but you could also add organic matter.
6] Harvesting Your Plant
After you're done with planting tomatoes in the garden, it’s now time to harvest. Harvesting is an important step for plants so be careful. The plant takes around 65 to 70 days from the tomato planting season to ripen. You can distinguish between the ripe and unripe easily. The ripe fruit will be softer than the unripe fruits. To harvest them, grab the fruit and gently tug without damaging its stem.
Growing tomatoes from seed might be possible at home but nurturing it requires lots of care. However, sowing and reaping the benefits of your own hard work is the sweetest.
About Urja Seeds
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1] What is the best temperature for a tomato plant to grow in?
A1] The best temperature for the tomato plant is between 21 to 24 degrees Celsius.
2] Which plants should one avoid growing next to tomatoes?
A2] Fennels, eggplants, potatoes, walnuts, cabbages are some plants you should avoid growing next to tomatoes.