Five great reasons Y O U (yes, you!) should grow your own tomatoes this year 🍅
1. There is nothing quite like a vine ripened tomato, still warm from the sun. Whether you’re growing a large beefsteak style tomato, prolific cherry tomatoes or a vibrantly hued heritage varietal, a fresh tomato harvested after an afternoon basking in the sun is one of life’s simple pleasures.
2. Tomatoes bought from the store are often picked when unripe then artificially ripened. If you’re looking for a more in depth exploration of how and why this happens there is compelling interview on NPR here and you can also read Barry Estabrook’s book Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit. Additionally, store bought tomatoes may have traveled far and wide and probably have been refrigerated; all of which impacts quality and taste.
3. Tomatoes come in so very many sizes, colours and shapes. There are so many to discover and grow, including exquisite heirloom varieties. Tomato plants generally fall into two categories; determinate – those that grow to a fixed height and are suitable for smaller spaces and container gardening and indeterminate – those that grow like wild vines and require staking. From the near black Purple Cherokee tomato, to the Green Zebra slicing tomato there is every colour in between.
4. Homegrown and harvested tomatoes have a greater bioavailability of lycopene. Lycopene is an anti-oxidant that can improve heart health, eye health and help to fight certain cancers. It is well worth it to grow your own tomatoes, as the lycopene content in tomatoes that are grown by some commercial growers in hydroponic settings can be reduced.
5. Tomatoes can be easily preserved! There is a sweet spot in every tomato grower’s summer when the flood of gorgeous ripe tomatoes can overwhelm. This is a golden opportunity to preserve these incredible garden gems, by roasting them, canning them or turning them into sauce. Consider growing some oregano, basil, thyme, garlic and chives as well as tomatoes as they make wonderful recipe companions.