ENJOY — garden style living
I love gardening—from my head TO-MA-TOES!
Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable to grow in a home garden–and for good reason. This is where your tongue gets the most bang for your gardening effort. The dramatic difference in taste between homegrown and store-bought tomatoes is often what drew us food gardeners into this hobby in the first place, isn’t it?
If you haven’t gotten into growing your own tomatoes yet, don’t despair. There is a super easy way to begin: get a tomato plant that does well in a container. There are several varieties that do well even in a 10-inch pot or hanging basket–Tiny Tim (which I’m growing this year), Tumbling Tom, and Sweet ‘n’ Neat to name just a few. If you have room for a larger container, then your options increase.
Buy the seedling and plant it in your own container with an organic potting soil or get a patio tomato plant that is already in a sufficiently sized planter. Put it in your sunniest spot and keep it watered. Don’t forget: the smaller the pot, the more often you will have to water it. Even so, one little plant is better than none!
If that idea doesn’t work for you, then look for a local farm, farmers market, orCSA. Make sure that their early tomatoes are coming from their own farm, not from a hothouse or a farm further away. Buying LOCAL is important if you want that homegrown tomato taste. Conventionally grown supermarket tomatoes are bred to look pretty, travel far, and store long—not to taste good!
Once you get your tomatoes, store them at room temperature and out of the sunlight until you’re ready to wash and eat them. Whatever you do, don’t put fresh ripe tomatoes in the refrigerator! It will ruin their taste and texture. Use the fridge for storing cut tomatoes and tomatoes that are past their prime and getting soft. Whether they’re homegrown, market fresh, or store-bought, your tomatoes will taste better if you keep them out of the fridge and eat them when they’re fully ripe but not overripe.