Small Tomatoes Offer Big Taste
From seed to table, tomatoes are always the favorites in our gardens, whether they are "Big Boys," "Early Girls," "Beefsteak," "Romas," "Zebras," "Black Prince" or the popular heirloom "Mortgage Lifter."
But if you are looking for a vine filled with some of the sweetest tomatoes that pack a big punch, check out the variety of tiny tomatoes. They are easy to grow and multiply quickly.
"Sweet 100s" produce a crop of fruit that is an all-time favorite. The plant is vigorous, productive and reliable, as those of us who have grown them have learned. The taste is sweet, with a tad of acid. This is an early season variety and considered to be top-notch.
"Sun Cherry" is a staking variety, which yields up to 20 small red fruits per truss on a plant. This early season plant is considered by most to be the sweetest of all cherry tomatoes.
"Sun Gold" is a staking variety of small cherry tomatoes and performs well regardless of weather conditions. This tomato is popular because it appreciates cool early seasonal growth and good sweet flavor. The plants grow only to about 16 inches high. This means that you can grow them in small pots, and you won't need canes to support them.
Check out "Sweet Millions," one of my favorites. It offers a vigorous productive fruit very similar to the "Sun Cherry" and tastes sweet. The early season "Tommy Toe" staking variety offers vigor and produces bright red tomatoes that have an excellent sugar-acid balance. It also has the reputation of bearing for an extended period.
If you prefer a tiny yellow tomato, try "Yellow Pear." This is an older variety that originated in the 1900s. The yellow pear-shaped fruit is not as sweet as the red varieties, but is quite attractive.
Paste tomatoes have been in the spotlight lately. These fruits have almost no seeds and are very dry so they boil down to paste quickly. "Napoli Bush" offers a compact plant with some root and stem disease resistance. The small, bright red, pear-shaped solid fruit has a very concentrated set.
The "Opalke" is an heirloom variety that sets fairly good fruits on a short vine. It offers good eating. "San Marzano" is a standard paste tomato which is deep red, small oval dry fruit appearing in clusters on the vine.
I find that filling a small pot with compost and pushing a seed into the center, just below the soil, works well. Then I place the pot on a windowsill and give it some water while checking it every day to make sure it remains moist.
In about one week you should see a sprout. When the sprout outgrows the pot, simply move it to a bigger one and feed it with plant food, water it -regularly and wait for flowers to appear. Flowers indicate the fruit is on its way.
The flowers disappear and the baby fruit grows in their place. After a few weeks the fruit will ripen. Once the threat of frost has passed, you can keep them in a container or transfer the plants into the ground.
Growing a variety of tomato plants is fun and easy to accomplish. Just watch for any disease and catch it early before it ruins the crop.
If you happen to spot a ladybug on any of your tomato plants, leave it enjoy the housing. Ladybugs are friends. They eat the greenfly that want a bite of the tomatoes.
n Cut back ornamental grasses to two feet.
n Remove the fallen leaves from rose bushes and get rid of them to reduce disease problems.
n Deadhead pansies for more growth.
n Prune camellias when blooms fade. Prune just above the thick, rough area on the stem.
n Apply fertilizers in the slow release form to houseplants.
n Plant early vegetables including sugar snaps, onion seeds, peas, head lettuce and carrots.
n Start eggplant, melon, tomato, okra, squash and cucumber plants in a cold frame.
n Purchase quality seed from well know garden centers, making sure to purchase varieties that grow well in the area.
n Check out your yard equipment so everything is clean and ready to work.
Contact Anita Stone at email@example.com.
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