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green tomatoes

Tomato

Lycopersicon esculentum

Fruits and Vegetables

Sow shallowly in loose, peaty medium, 6 weeks before last expected frost, 70-85F/21-31C, drop immediately to 60-75F/15-24C when germinated. Needs dark to sprout. Sow 1-2 per 2" pot, thin to one healthy seedling. Keep at room temperature after germination, and provide 12-16 hours of bright light per day. Prick out when 2 sets of true leaves have developed; place in light and warm area. Stroke gently, daily, for sturdier plants, and do not overwater

Plant out when 8" or taller, at least 2 weeks after last frost, ideally when it is consistently warmer outside. Harden off over 10 days. Tomatoes must be protected from late frosts, or early ones in fall. Start outside under glass if cold temperatures a problem, or use cloches or 'water teepees' to keep seedlings warm, even start them early; the latter can speed up tomato production by some 6 weeks.

Plant deep, 2/3 to 3/4 their height, for better root systems and bigger yields, unless the soil is still cold in early spring. Can bury stems on an angle close to horizontal, closer to the warmer soil surface, bending stem upward, and staking it into position. Remove those leaves that would be buried

Set plants 3' apart, into full sun. Soil is preferably slightly acidic, rich in compost and calcium, well-draining. Don't fertilize with nitrogen; add potash and phosphorus if deficient. Mulch when warmer

Suckers root well: snap these off and bury 2/3", keep wet until rooted. Use for a second, late harvest or to overwinter a favorite plant by taking cuttings again in spring

Seeds may be saved and used for next year's harvest: even if picked prematurely, if ripened indoors to an even orange or red, can be used for seed


tomato seedlings under fluorescent lightsCherry tomatoesflowering tomato plant


Tamarillo, tree tomato (Cyphomandra betacea)

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