Hands down, my favorite vegetable to grow every summer is the tomato. Of course, it’s technically a fruit, but either way it’s tasty, easy to grow, provides an abundance at harvest time and, for me at least, is the essence of summer.
If you haven’t yet tried your hand at growing tomatoes in the garden, then what are you waiting for. Here are 5 reasons to grow tomato plants no matter where you are:
Easy peasy – If you haven’t yet tackled veggie growing, tomatoes may seem a daunting place to start. But they’re actually really easy to grow. Tomatoes are well-suited to containers too. As long as your plants have enough space to grow, plenty of sunlight, regular watering, and good soil, they’ll grow strong and steady.
So many varieties – I’m not the only one who loves tomatoes, which means you can find a seemingly endless number of tomato varieties to try in your garden. In addition to some of the common types, there are also lots of heirloom tomatoes available on the market. Try my favorites:
- I love cherry tomatoes because they taste great and you can just pop them like candy as a snack. Black Cherry is a unique and flavorful variety.
- The Brandywine heirloom tomato is delicious and great for slicing – choose the black or pink types; they’re both yummy.
- The heirloom Cherokee Purple not only has attractive fruit but they’re tasty too.
- Sometimes, you just want something different and Green Zebra is definitely that. I adore the tart flavor of this green tomato variety.
- A classic, big red tomato, Better Boy is hard to beat, so if you are new to tomatoes and trying just one, this is it.
The taste of summer – My grandfather always grew tomatoes, and we would spend sunny afternoons in the garden picking and eating them. To me, tomatoes are simply the taste of summer. My favorite recipe is simple: cut a tomato into thick slices and sprinkle with sugar. Delicious.
That smell in the garden – It’s not just the taste of tomatoes that represents summer to me, it’s also the smell. And I’m not talking about the fruits. If you’re a tomato grower, you know what I mean. The smell of the plant itself, especially under the hot sun, is unique and so summery.
Abundant harvest – Besides being easy to grow, tomato plants give a great harvest. If you choose varieties wisely, including some earlier varieties, you can a few weeks of fresh tomatoes every single day. Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years for getting more on each plant:
- Pinch off the tips of plants in early summer so more energy goes into flowering. Also pinch off any suckers, the little stems growing between two bigger stems. These won’t flower, so get rid of them.
- As the plant grows, pull off the bottom leaves. These can pick up disease from the soil and excess moisture.
- Plant seedlings deep in the soil so that most of the stem is buried. This may seem damaging, but actually it helps the plant grow more roots, which will help it grow bigger and produce more fruit in the long run.