How To Grow The Tastiest Tomatoes

How To Grow The Tastiest Tomatoes

How To Grow The Tastiest Tomatoes

No matter how many gardeners you talk to, they will all have their own preferences as to which variety of tomato is the best to grow. I have heard so many stories that if I had any it would make my hair curl. 🙂 So in answer to the question how to grow the tastiest tomatoes let’s  break it down to basics.

The Secret To Growing Tasty Tomatoes

The Secret To Growing Tasty Tomatoes

As with all crops the first thing is to get the growing medium right. If you’re growing outside add plenty of well rotted manure or compost to your soil and if your growing in pots use good quality potting compost. Mix into this a handful of garden lime and a good sprinkling of Epsom salts.

I have always had my best results with greenhouse grown tomatoes. I’m convinced that this is because I have more control of the temperature and humidity in the greenhouse. Especially with British summers being what they are, outdoor tomatoes go through too many extremes to do them any good.

Bearing in mind that tomatoes were first eaten by the Aztecs and therefore originate in central America, this gives you some idea of the climate that best suits tomatoes. I know there have been many hybrids since then but tomatoes are still a warm weather crop.

What Does Epsom Salt Do For Tomato Plants?

Epsom salts contain magnesium. If there is a deficiency of magnesium in the soil you have a much higher chance of getting blossom end rot, this is where the bottom of your tomato is misshaped and black or dark brown. Epsom salts also relieve stress in plants, stress can be caused by many things including:-

  • Replanting
  • Excessive heat / cold
  • Temperature fluctuation
  • Too much or too little water

How to Water Tomatoes

It sounds silly but how much or how little you water tomatoes affects the flavour greatly. Too little and the fruit will have a tough skin. Too much and you lose the flavour. Think about those tasteless perfect red specimens sold in your local supermarket hydroponically grown, look lovely taste insipid.

So how much is right? I have found that 2-3 times a week is right for outdoor tomatoes but not just a splash, they need a good soaking. Avoid getting the leaves wet as this will lead to diseases, yet another reason for growing in a unheated greenhouse if you can.

Greenhouse plants need watering more as the constant heat will use up more water. My guide is to stick a dry finger as far as possible in the soil, if it comes out clean with no soil stuck to it then it’s time to water.

What Does It Mean When Tomato Leaves Wilt?

The leaves of the tomato plant  will wilt if they have been over watered to the point that the plant can get no oxygen. Effectively it is drowning. Having said that it is quite normal for tomato plant leaves to wilt/curl if the plant is too hot. It does this to conserve moisture and when the temperature lowers the leaves will go back to normal, so again the finger in the soil trick will tell you more.

Which Are The Tastiest Tomatoes?

This depends on where you live, not very helpful I know but which variety taste the best in Southern England might have absolutely no taste at all if grown in Nova Scotia. As a general rule cherry tomatoes will be sweeter than beef tomatoes which are better for stuffing and plum tomatoes are better for cooking.

Sweetness in tomatoes is determined by the concentration of sugars and heat and sunlight greatly influence this. One important tip, never keep tomatoes in the refrigerator. The cold turns the sugars into carbohydrates which ruins the flavour.

Also pick tomatoes in the afternoon on hot, sunny days if possible, for maximum taste and flavour.

When To Pick Tomatoes

When to pick tomatoes

The perfect time to pick tomatoes is as soon as they start to colour (change from stone green to a light yellow colour). Not only will they ripen fully indoors in a dish but by removing fruit from the plant encourages more fruit to form / ripen. Another good tip, to ripen tomatoes late in the season add a banana to the bowl of tomatoes. Bananas give off ethylene which ripens fruit.

How To Grow The Tastiest Tomatoes – Companion Planting

How To Grow The Tastiest Tomatoes - Companion Planting

There are many plants that are worth growing near tomatoes to assist with their health but by far the most important one is basil. Basil will not only keep many harmful insects away from tomatoes, but growing basil as a companion with tomatoes actually improves the flavour of the fruit.

How Often To Feed Tomato Plants

Tomatoes in the Northern hemisphere have a relatively short growing period. So to get the best from them they need feeding weekly once the flowers form. I personally use home made comfrey tea to feed my tomato plants as I have had the most success with this wonder food.

You can of course use a commercially produced tomato feed but I prefer to grow organically. Never feed when the plants are dry, always water first then add feed a couple of hours later.

I also add a handful of Epsom salts every fortnight as this is water soluble so needs replenishing regularly.

What Differences Are There In The Flavour Of Tomatoes Based On Colour?

There are three basic flavours when it comes to tomatoes, Sweet, Acidic, and Savoury, and the flavour of the tomato is determined by the colour. Generally:-

  • Red Tomatoes have that intense, tomatoey, acidic flavour.
  • Yellow Tomatoes are higher in sugars and have a much sweeter taste.
  • Black Tomatoes Have a much more savoury, what the Japanese call “umami”.
  • Purple/Blue varieties have an earthy, smoky flavour.

How Does The Colour Of Tomatoes Affect Their Flavour_

What Do You Need To Grow The Tastiest Tomatoes?

So to recap, here is a list of the 8 most important factors on how you can grow the tastiest tomatoes ever. But I must warn you, if you love tomatoes – You are about to love them a whole lot more!

  1. The most suitable variety of tomato plant or seed for your area
    The best way to find this out is talk to local growers most of them will be only too pleased to give you some advice. Having said that try some different varieties anyway, you never know you might discover the tomato that suits your tastes.
  2. The most important ingredient is SUNLIGHT
    Unfortunately this is the one ingredient you can’t control. The more the sun shines and the warmer the weather is the better the tomatoes will be.
  3. Tomatoes don’t like too many temperature variations
    Which is another aspect which you can’t control and is the reason I grow mine in a unheated greenhouse. If the day is forecast hot  I open the door and vent in my greenhouse and don’t close them until late in the evening.
  4. Good soil
    With added organic matter and regular feeding and additional Epsom salts.
  5. Add stakes to support the stem
    Because as the flowers form the fruit will get too heavy for the plants. This may not affect the flavour but damaged plants won’t produce much if any fruit.
  6. Be consistent with your watering
    Not too much and not too little and never let the plants completely dry out. Remember the finger test.
  7. Companion plant with basil
    As mentioned earlier, basil is great for keeping many harmful insects away from tomato plants and is proven to improve flavour.
  8. Last but not least you need patience,
    And if the weather is not kind to you there’s always next year and remember just because a certain type tasted great this year doesn’t mean they will be as nice next year with different weather conditions.

So what variety of tomato have you tried? How did they do? Let me know in the comments below.

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