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TOMATO: Harvesting and Varieties

Harvesting Tomatoes

During the summer, tomato vines should provide a steady supply of fresh fruit for family use. Later, when the crop reaches its peak, you will probably want to preserve much of it for future use.

Tomatoes and tomato juice can be preserved in a number of ways and frozen or canned. Whichever way you choose, you can plant varieties of tomatoes bred especially for your purpose.

After most of the tomatoes have been gathered, and before the first killing frost, you will find a large number of green tomatoes on the vines.

This crop should be gathered and stored. Smaller tomatoes can be used for making relishes and a number of other dishes. Larger tomatoes may be wrapped individually in newspaper and placed about three layers deep in open boxes or crates to store in any warm place. The tomatoes will ripen without the aid of light.

There are dozens of varieties to choose from—and many more not available to the home gardener. Your choice of varieties will depend on what you want from your plants and what varieties grow best in your region.

In a locality with a relatively early fall frost and short growing season, select a variety developed for early maturation. Such short-season varieties include Cold Set, Ford-hook Hybrid, Highlander Spring Giant, and Sub-Arctic.

Varieties of tomatoes

There are tomato varieties available for slicing, special ones developed for canning and freezing, others that make good ketchup and sauce. Special varieties such as cherry tomatoes or climbing tomatoes are also available. Varieties with an especially high content of vitamins C (Doublerich) and A (Caro-Red) have been developed.

Many choices are simply a matter of taste, and if you're just beginning to grow tomatoes, you may want to order seed from several varieties to decide which is your favorite. Then, too, if you have enough room you can plant a number of varieties for different uses, and also early-, middle- and late-maturing varieties so you can enjoy tomatoes throughout the summer.

In general, avoid varieties developed for commercial use; these have thicker skins, are good shippers or all ripen at once—characteristics desirable for the commercial grower but out of place in the home garden.

Old varieties are available and new garden hybrids are being developed constantly. Many of the newer varieties are resistant to tomato diseases—an important factor if these diseases are a problem in your area. Consult your county agent for recommended varieties locally.

Spring Gardening
Copyright© 2016 Gene DeFazzio
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