Illustration of SPH - Dell - Nourish - Garden - Tomato


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Tomatoes are juicy, hydrating fruits that lend a savory, lightly acidic flavor with a hint of sweetness from natural sugars. Their textures are similar to that of a plum but with softer inner flesh. Tomatoes originate from South America near the Andes Mountains and were brought to Central America by migrating Indians. Italians were the first-recorded Europeans to eat the tomato, which is why it is a key ingredient in many traditional recipes. Tomatoes are eaten on their own or as garnishes when they are fresh during summer months or cooked and pureed into sauces and soups

Nutritional Value

Fun fact: Tomatoes are a member of the nightshade family and used to be widely regarded as poisonous.

  • Vitamin K important for blood clotting
  • Folate important for preventing neural tube defects and may help prevent cancer
  • Vitamin C important for the immune system, healthy skin, and wound healing
  • Potassium helps lower blood pressure and helps muscles contract
  • Beta-carotene precursor to vitamin A, an antioxidant which is good for eyesight and skin

How to Shop

Choose a bright red, smooth-skinned tomato with the stem still attached. It will feel heavy for its size and your finger should not leave an indentation when picking it up.

How to Grow

When: Easiest to plant as transplants; can start from seed indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. Tomatoes are warm-weather crops that grow best starting April/May.

Where: A site with full sun and light afternoon shade if the heat is intense. They need well-draining, slightly acidic soil (6.2-6.8 pH).

How: Start with 2-3 lbs of complete fertilizer per every 100 sq. feet of garden area. Transplants should be 2 ft. apart if staked and 3-4 ft. apart unstaked. Water generously for the first couple days, then 2 inches/week in the morning during the growing season. Mulch 5 weeks after transplanting. Side dress with fertilizer every 2 weeks once the fruits have a 1-inch diameter.

Harvest: When the tomato is a vibrant red color and firm to touch; there should be some yellow around the stem.

How to Store

Do not refrigerate tomatoes. They can be left at room temperature until they feel squishy or you can freeze them whole.