The tomato is actually a fruit, but most people think of it as a vegetable. This misnomer could be because tomatoes are so easy to grow in the vegetable garden or because they are a favorite salad recipe item. In this article, we'll talk about growing tomatoes, tomato types, selecting and serving tomatoes, and the health benefits of tomatoes.
Tomatoes are tender perennials that are grown as annuals. They have weak stems and lobed and toothed leaves that have a distinctive odor. The yellow flowers grow in clusters. Most tomatoes have vining growth habits and need a fair amount of space. Some tomatoes are described as bush varieties that will save space, but they'll still sprawl if you let them. You may still have to stake or cage the bush types. Depending on the variety, tomatoes vary by the size and shape of the fruit (cherry, plum, pear, etc.), by their color (red, pink, yellow, orange), and by their use (slicing, canning, juicing).
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Tomatoes growing on the vine. See more
pictures of tomatoes & tomato recipes.
On the indeterminate tomato (vine tomato), the end buds do not set fruit; the plant continues to grow until it's killed by frost. Indeterminate tomatoes will get quite large, so these varieties should be staked or caged. Staked and caged tomatoes provide cleaner fruit and less loss from rot, pests, or problems that occur in warm, humid areas. In addition, they require less room for each plant.
Common Name: Tomato
Scientific Name: Lycopersicon lycopersicum
Hardiness: Tender (will die at first frost)
In the next section, we'll show you how to grow tomatoes.
Want more information about tomatoes? Try:
- Tomato Recipes: Cook with this delicious plant.
- How to Remove Tomato Stains: Have a spill? Learn how to get tomato stains out of everything.
- Vegetable Gardens: Grow a full harvest of great vegetables this year.
- Gardening: We answer your questions about all things that come from the garden.