Big, Beautiful, Tasty Tomatoes -July 2019

by: Aidan Feeney

Tomatoes are the gods of the summer garden. No other crop demands so much dedication, sacrifice and preparation from the grower, and no other crop offers a comparable reward.

To the uninitiated, who have never experienced anything but flavorless commodity tomatoes, salvation can be found in a single bite of a back-yard tomato.

The main advantage that home-growers have over largescale producers is that they have the ability to allow their tomatoes to fully ripen on the vine. They can also select varieties that are bred for flavor and texture, rather than just yield and shelf-life.

An increasingly common distinction between home-grown and commercial tomatoes is that home-grown tomatoes are grown in soil and many commercial tomato operations are hydroponic. There are intangible interactions between the plant and the earth that create flavors that cannot be imitated from nutrients out of a bottle.

Growing tomatoes successfully is all about preparation. Putting plants in the ground is the easiest part of the entire process. A successful harvest is hinged upon thoughtful selection of varieties, having a plan for trellising and pruning, providing adequate fertility for the plant and proper spacing.

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