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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, tomatoes are a fruit and botanically there are two types of tomatoes.
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.
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.
Plant labels or seed packets give you good information for choosing tomatoes.
WE MAY SEE - F, V, N or TMV
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.
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.
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 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.
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
We can start our own tomato seeds about 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pick the tomatoes when they are red and juicy. They should pull off the vines easily, if they are ripe.
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.