Tomato Growing Questions

Ok, tomato fun facts aside, you may have some additional tomato growing questions.  Here are a few of the most common questions, with links to more detailed answers.

Before we go on to the growing questions, though, here’s a question that has plagued people for years:  ia a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?  

Botanically, tomatoes are fruits; however, as far as use, tomatoes are classed as vegetables.  How come?  At one point, the US government was levying a tax on imported vegetables, and tomatoes became an issue — fruit or vegetable?  The final decree was “If it’s most often eaten as a part of a meal (salad or mail course), it’s a vegetable.  If it’s most often eaten as a dessert, its a fruit.”

Tomato Growing Questions

Are tomatoes easy to grow?  For the most part, YES! Most tomato varieties will grow and produce delicous fruits for you. If you have a short growing season or lots of cloudy days, however, you should stick with the early and possibly mid season fruits (stay away from the huge beefsteaks — they won’t have time to ripen). If you have a longer growing season with plenty of sunshine, you can grow almost any variety.

So how do I grow tomatoes?   First check out the tomato growing requirements, to see if the area you plan to grow tomatoes fits the bill!  Also take a look at what kind of tomato fertilizer you should use.

What kind of insects or diseases do I need to know about?  Here is the lowdown on insects and diseases that could come to visit your tomatoes — and possible solutions!!

Can I grow tomatoes is a greenhouse?   Sure! The key to deciding the varieties that would be best are 1) the size of your greenhouse and 2) the warmth and sunlight your greenhouse receives. Your best bets are determinate tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and heart-shaped tomatoes (but any kind are possible).

When should I plant tomatoes?  It really depends on your climate! For example, in South Florida, the Fall, Winter and Spring are our prime tomato-growing times. Here’s a general rule of thumb; start your seeds indoors at 4 to 6 weeks before your last expected frost.

It’s Fall, frost is coming, and my plants still have unripe tomatoes! Can I ripen these tomatoes indoors?  You’ll probably be able to ripen some to even most of your tomatoes that are still on the vine; here are some tips. If you have the space, you can pull up the entire tomato plant(s) and hang them upside-down in a cool dark place. As the tomatoes ripen, pull them off the vine and enjoy! If you don’t have that kind of space, pluck the tomatoes that are farthest along, and wrap them loosely in some newspaper. Store the tomatoes in a cool dark place, in a single layer. Check the tomatoes periodically, and use those that are ripe.

Got more questions? Check out the tomato growing terms page!


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