Monday, 28 April 2014

How To Grow Organic Tomatoes - One Of The Top 10 Super-Foods


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Tomatoes - especially when cooked - have cancer-fighting lycopene (an anti oxidant which gives tomatoes their gorgeous, rich red colour), that helps remove free radicals from the body. Plus they are packed with vitamins A and C.

Recent studies have shown that eating five to seven serves of tomato-based meals a week may reduce the risk of heart attack by half and reduce the risk of prostate cancer .

Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) is a soft stemmed, spreading plant which can reach 1.8metres (6foot) in height when staked. The deeply lobed leaves are quite pungent. It has yellow flowers, which are followed by soft, delicious fruit.

The fruit is usually red or yellow, with some heirloom varieties coming in greens, black, purple and stripes. The size and shape of the fruit will depend on the variety you are growing.

Tomatoes need a long, warm to hot growing season. If you live in a cooler climate you will need to start your seedlings under glass so that the fruit will have time to develop before frosts return.

Plant in well drained, fertile soil, high in organic matter. The position you choose will need to receive at least six hours of direct sunlight. Rotate your tomato crops in the garden to help control nematodes organically, as they are found in nearly all areas.

If you are planting varieties that need staking, position your stakes before planting out your seedlings about 60cm (24inches) apart. You can plant your seedlings as deep as the first true leaves - this helps strengthen the young plant and allows more root development.

*My personal tip - To stake your plants without damaging its tender stems, wrap cotton ties or strips of pantyhose around the tomato stake first, then loop it around the stem and tie it loosely with a knot or bow to the stake.*

Choose strong varieties that grow well in your area, as tomatoes are prone to several pests and diseases. Grow disease-resistant hybrids and reliable heirlooms. Did you know that most heirloom varieties will usually perform better the second season from seeds you have saved yourself?

Keep the soil moist, but not wet. Mulch around your tomato plants once the soil has warmed to keep weeds at a minimum and to keep soil temperature and water levels more even.

Feed with organic fertilizer every fortnight or so until the fruit sets, then again after each flush of fruit. Use a balanced organic fertilizer or alternate with a liquid fish emulsion in water - the steady release of nutrients makes for the consistent, vigorous growth that is needed to keep your plants healthy and productive.

Harvest tomatoes when they're just starting to ripen, to prevent birds from pecking at them and to avoid invading insects that follow them from destroying your fruit.

Any plants that still have green tomatoes on the bush as winter approaches can be pulled up by the roots and stored in the shed. They will keep ripening over the next few months as their stems keep feeding them for some time.

Hi, I am an avid organic gardener and am known by my friends as the recycling queen. I live on a small country property in South Australia.
It is my mission to encourage as many people as possible to start organic gardening ( I know you'll become addicted). This will improve both our individual lives and the well being of our personal and global environments.

Anyone can grow their own healthy food with Organic Gardening. Click here to get started now! Happy Organic Gardening, Healthy Living...Julie Williams


Hope you found this article helpful.  Growing own tomatoes is a lot of fun and a taste of those red juicy fruits is incredible.  

Have you tried to grow your own tomatoes yet?  If you have, how did you go and did you have any problems on the way?

We would love to hear your thoughts! :-) 

Allan & Heli

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