Are Tomatoes a Fruit or vegetable who cares - fresh tomatoes from our garden are wonderful

  • Are tomatoes a fruit? That is a question that has been asked for centuries.

It depends if you are asking a botanist or a cook. The botanist will tell you technically a tomato is a fruit. A fruit is from the ovary part of the flower and it contains seeds. That's the definition of a green pea, a squash, okra, peppers, cucumbers and many other so-called 'vegetables'. Botanically, they all are fruits.

A vegetable comes from other parts of the plant. Like potatoes and carrots are part of the roots. Spinach and lettuce are the leaves of the plant. Bamboo shoots and rhubarb are stems. These are vegetables.

Cooks classify fruits and vegetables according to how they use them. Rhubarb is used as a dessert, so cooks consider it a fruit. Tomatoes are used with other vegetables in salads, and pasta etc. So to a cook, the tomato is a vegetable. Even though botanically speaking, tomatoes are a fruit. Whew!

Are-tomatoes-a-fruitA fruit or a vegetable?

are tomatoes a fruit?

Whatever tomatoes are - they are delicious and nutritious!

Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in just a few foods. They also contain carotenoids, vitamins A, C and E.

  • In an effort to makes tomatoes last longer for shipping and on the grocery self, the good flavor has been bred out of tomatoes.

When I was studying horticulture in college, they were trying to breed square tomatoes, so more of them would pack into a shipping box. What a novel idea, but I'm glad they didn't succeed.

let's grow some tomatoes

Home-grown tomatoes are delicious, compared to supermarket tomatoes. So are tomatoes a fruit, it doesn't matter.

Tomatoes are the most popular home grown 'vegetable'. There is nothing like the treat of fresh garden tomatoes on the dinner table.

They are a wonderful gift from God and not hard to grow.

what do growing tomatoes require?

  • Tomatoes prefer a well-drained soil, but they will grow in most any type of soil.

  • They like 6 hours of sun per day.

  • They don't take much care, just good watering and a bit of fertilizer when they are fruiting.

The small cherry tomato types will harvest in 50 to 55 days after planting a seedling. The larger tomatoes take 55 to 85 days to harvest.

Most tomatoes will continue to produce all summer up until frost.

Are tomatoes a fruit?

Yes, tomatoes are a fruit and botanically there are two types of tomatoes.

Vegetables-tomato-varietiesWe have a choice of many tomato varieties.

HEIRLOOM TOMATOES are open-pollinated tomatoes. This means you can save the seed. Plant the seed the next year and it will come true year after year.

  • You may save your own tomato seeds from a ripe fruit. Spread out the fleshy insides of the tomato containing the seeds, on a paper towel to dry.

  • When the seeds are thoroughly dry, place the seeds in a zip-lock bag or small jar with a lid.

  • Store the seeds in a cool dry place. In the freezer the seeds will last well. It's a good thing to know, if the seeds become unavailable for some reason.

HYBRID TOMATOES are produced by crossing different varieties. There are many delicious hybrid tomatoes.

They will not come true from the seeds you save from a fruit. The seedlings could have all kinds of variations, much like our parents had children that were all different. No two are alike.

Are heirloom tomatoes a vegetable? Heirloom and hybrid tomatoes botanically are both fruits.

what tomatoes are good for our garden?

Plant labels or seed packets give you good information for choosing tomatoes.

WE MAY SEE - F, V, N or TMV

  • These initials are for tomato diseases that may attack your tomatoes and cause their demise.

F - is for fusarium wilt that can attack tomatoes in the middle of the summer.

V - is for verticillium wilt that may attack tomatoes in the cool spring weather. Verticillium can spread to other plants such as; potatoes, eggplants, strawberries and black raspberries.

  • These are soil borne diseases that can survive in the soil for years. Purchase your plants from reputable dealers that fumigate or otherwise sterilize their soil to kill the soil pathogens.

  • It's not worth the chance of potentially introducing these diseases into your garden.

  • Both of these wilt diseases, stop up the water transport system coming from the roots. The plant will yellow and eventually die.

N - is for nematodes, little worms that attack the tomato roots. Galls form on the roots where they are attacked. The plant is weakened and wilts. Nematodes can also live in the soil for years.

  • Plant marigold flowers next to your tomatoes to repel the nematodes.

TMV - is for tobacco mosaic virus that causes mottling and yellowing of the leaves, less production, smaller tomatoes or brown fruit.

So much for the bad stuff. Let's grow some vegetables. Or are tomatoes a fruit? Ha Ha

determinate and indeterminate tomatoes

DETERMINATE tomato varieties stop growing and tend to produce all their fruit at one time, over 4 to 6 weeks. This is good, if we want to do some canning. We will get more fruit at once. Determinate tomatoes generally are a bushy plant that is not staked or caged.

INDETERMINATE tomatoes keep growing and producing fruit the entire season. They provide a supply of tomatoes for the table until frost. These plants need to be staked or caged.

Tomato varieties

The heirloom, open-pollinated varieties are marked with an asterisk. Are these tomatoes a fruit? We will call them vegetables.

CHERRY TYPES; Super Sweet, Black Cherry*, Sweet Million, Sun Gold*, Yellow Pear*, Red Pear*

SLICING TOMATOES; Brandywine*, Early Girl, Better Boy, Big Boy, Beefsteak, Rutgers*, Celebrity

VARIOUS; Cherokee Purple*, Lemon Boy, Mr. Stripey*, Pineapple*, German Pink, Black Krim*

CONTAINER TOMATOES; Tiny Tim, Small Fry, Pixie, Toy Boy, Patio, Salad Top, Tumbling Tom, Early Salad

CANNING tomatoes have more flesh, fewer seeds and less juice. That makes them easier to handle during the canning process; San Marzano*, Roma*, Amish Paste*, Bison*, Better Boy, Clint Eastwood’s Rowdy Red, Big Mama, Jersey Giant*, Beefsteak

planting tomatoes

We can start our own tomato seeds about 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost.

Vegetables-tomato-seedlingsWe can grow our tomato seedlings.

Incorporate plenty of organic matter into the soil before planting.

Plant your seedlings or ones from the garden store into your garden after the last spring frost.

  • Plant them 3 to 4 feet apart, if you are not going to stake them. If you are going to stake or cage them, plant them 1 1/2 to 3 feet apart.

  • Plant the seedlings deep into the soil. Bury the stem all the way up to just below the first set of leaves. The extra stem under the soil will grow roots. More roots will make a stronger plant.

tomato care

We may stake our plants with a 6 foot 1x1 inch stake driven into the soil, a foot away from the stem. Drive the stakes at the same time you plant your tomatoes. Staking after the tomato plant is growing, may damage the roots.

If we have just a few plants, tomato cages are a good option. They are so easy. Purchase them at any garden store, Home Depot, Lowes, etc. Place one tomato cage around each plant.

  • Stakes or tomato cages keep the fruit up off the ground and prevent rot, discoloration or pest damage.

We can also plant tomatoes in containers or hanging baskets. The tomatoes will hang over the sides of the basket and are quite attractive and easy to pick.

  • Water your tomato plants regularly. Tomatoes have deep roots, so water deeply.

When the keto friendly fruit start forming, be sure and water regularly. The fruit will start to set when the nights are 55 degrees or warmer.

  • Pull the weeds. The tomatoes appreciate some mulch to maintain even soil moisture and prevent the fruit from cracking. Mulch also helps to prevent weed growth.

  • After the fruit sets, apply a mild fertilizer every 2 weeks. Place the fertilizer a few inches away from the stem to prevent burning it.

Do not fertilize a dry plant. After fertilizing the tomato, water the fertilizer in.

Remember too much nitrogen (the first of the 3 numbers on the fertilizer container) will grow a lot of leaves, but not much fruit.

Pinch off the suckers that grow in the joints where the branches attach to the main stem.

When do we harvest the tomatoes?

Pick the tomatoes when they are red and juicy. They should pull off the vines easily, if they are ripe.

  • Keep the ripe tomatoes picked. If they are left on the plant, it will stop producing.

When the fall frosts are on their way, pinch off the terminal growths and any flowers. The tomatoes on the plant will ripen faster.

We may pick the green tomatoes for a tasty fried treat. Or wrap them in newspaper and store them in a cool place at 58 degrees. When we want them to ripen, bring them into a 70 degree temperature.

  • When the growing season is finished, pull the tomato vines and destroy them or otherwise remove them from the property to control any pests or diseases.

  • Plant the tomatoes in a different place each year. Pests and diseases can overwinter in the soil. If they don't find any tomatoes to munch on, it breaks their cycle.

are tomatoes are a fruit? we don't wonder, we just enjoy them!



more garden gifts

  • Five steps on how to make a garden we are proud to show off. Prepare the soil, plant, water, fertilize and prune gardens of vegetables, flowers and landscape.

    How to Make a Garden

    Five steps on how to make a garden we are proud to show off. Prepare the soil, plant, water, fertilize and prune gardens of vegetables, flowers and landscape.

  • What are easy vegetables to grow? Experience the joy of growing vegetables with the 7 easy to grow vegetables with planting requirements, care and harvest tips.

    Easy Vegetables to Grow

    What are easy vegetables to grow? Experience the joy of growing vegetables with the 7 easy to grow vegetables with planting requirements, care and harvest tips.

  • President George H W Bush made broccoli famous. How to grow broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables of the cabbage family, keto friendly and healthy vegetables.

    How to Grow Broccoli and other healthy, cruciferous vegetables

    President George H W Bush made broccoli famous. How to grow broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables of the cabbage family, keto friendly and healthy vegetables.

  • Why should we start a garden? There are many wonderful benefits of gardening. We refresh our mind, get fresh air, sunshine, exercise and enjoy the God gifts of nature.

    The Many Benefits of Gardening

    Why should we start a garden? There are many wonderful benefits of gardening. We refresh our mind, get fresh air, sunshine, exercise and enjoy the God gifts of nature.

  • There are many vegetables that grow in shade or partial shade. You can grow a garden without full sun, 2-6 hours of sun will grow healthy, nutritious vegetables.

    Vegetables that Grow in Shade

    There are many vegetables that grow in shade or partial shade. You can grow a garden without full sun, 2-6 hours of sun will grow healthy, nutritious vegetables.