Thursday, May 14, 2009

I say Tomato, you say Tomato

One of my best friends, Jill, is part owner of a vegetable farm and nursery here in the Bay Area. She even raises chickens! They grow lots of things for local restaurants and farmers markets. I've tasted what they grow. O.M.G. Yum!

Their website, Baia Nicchia, has some great tips, especially if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I've copied the below info on tomatoes off their site because, well, I learned something new so I thought maybe you could too.

32 things that might be true about tomatoes and tomato growing

1. Never, ever refrigerate tomatoes

2. Small-fruited tomatoes perform better in cool weather

3. Small-fruited tomatoes perform better in containers

4. Check the soil beneath tomatoes every morning

5. For container grown plants, water daily when soil is dry
at surface in the morning.

6. Grow plants in the ground when possible

7. For plants in the ground, water consistently as plants get established, and then water deeply, only when the soil is dry 3 inches below the surface, or when the plants begin to wilt

8. Once fruits begin to ripen, water less, if you can do so without killing your plants

9. Over watering at the soil surface promotes disease and algal growth (associated flies & pests)

10. Over watering leads to mealy, watery tomatoes. It is impossible not to “over water” tomato plants in containers

11. Pick large tomatoes before they are completely ripe, and let them ripen in a bowl with other tomatoes or fruits – they will ripen more evenly, and you can see when they get perfectly ripe

12. Never, ever refrigerate tomatoes

13. Tomatoes can ripened more slowly between 55 and 65 degrees (and spread out)

14. Tomatoes can be ripened rapidly between 75 and 85 degrees (with other tomatoes)

15. You can’t save money growing tomatoes in containers

16. You might be able to save money growing plants in the ground

17. Never, ever refrigerate tomatoes

18. Don’t wash tomatoes after you pick them. Wash them right before you use them

19. There are no “red” tomato pigments. Red tomatoes have pink, orange and other pigments

20. Throw out diseased plants immediately. UC Davis has a good website for recognizing tomato diseases

21. It is normal for older tomato plants to have drying, “burnt” leaves. The young shoots should look vigorous

22. You can decapitate your tomato plants. It is often advised when growing in containers

23. Trimming the leaves near the soil surface can reduce disease risk

24. The most common tomato diseases are fungal, and prolonged damp/wet periods promote them

25. Lousy soil will give you lousy tomatoes

26. Fox Farm “Ocean and Forest” potting soil is the best we have found

27. Over-fertilizing with nitrogen reduces harvest

28. Never, ever refrigerate tomatoes (obviously this is a sticking point with them)

29. Local field-grown tomatoes are in the market mainly from August to October.

30. If you want to know when locally grown tomatoes with the best flavor are available, shop at the farmers’ market

31. Tomatoes are tropical plants

32. Good sources for seeds – Seed Saver’s Exchange, Seeds of Change, Tomato Grower’s Supply


Lyn said...

Good tips...but should I refrigerate my tomatoes? :)

Kate said...

Why not refrigerate tomatoes? I missed the explanation on that one, though I did see the point mentioned numerous times. Enough to make me want to ask. ;)