While tomatoes are popularly used as vegetables, they are in fact fruits that are classified under the category of berries.
They are quite commonly available, but it is definitely better to have homegrown ones because then you can ensure they are absolutely organic. But then comes a question: How do I start farming tomatoes?
When and How to grow
In India, the best time to grow tomatoes is during summer from March to June.
Begin by looking for a spot in your backyard or rooftop where the sun shines for more than 8 hours. It is absolutely necessary that they receive about 10 to 11 hours of sunlight.
Once you ensure that the soil is rich in calcium and other vital components then, start sowing tomato seeds. While sowing them, make sure that they are sown at a minimum distance of 2 feet from each other. This will prevent the plants from overcrowding and let them grow freely and completely without restraining their physical growth.
After about 6-7 days later the seeds will start to germinate. All you need to do is take care of them by watering them regularly in order to harvest some of the juiciest tomatoes.
How to take care of them
During summers, the days can be extremely hot making the soil lose its moisture. On such days watering them twice a day would be a great idea. When the days are relatively less hot, watering them once early in the morning will ensure the soil remains wet.
Watering the plants early in the morning rather than watering them in the afternoon is a good practice to follow as the rate at which water evaporates during the noon is relatively higher than during early mornings.
Along with the moist soil it also has to be rich in calcium. Adding organic fertilizers such as cow dung and vermicompost to the soil will enhance its quality. You can also mix and add some egg shells into the soil as they are a good source of calcium. Get rid of bugs and insects by spraying neem based oil which has been diluted with water on the plants.
How does the plant reproduce
Sapling grows and the buds arrive at the tip of it which eventually blooms into a flower that is fertile. Tomatoes have monoecious flowers meaning, they have both the male and the female reproductive parts in them. The pollen grain reaches to pistil from stamen by dispersion through air or insects such as bees. Over a period of 60-80 days the flowers mature and turn into fruits.
After about 75 to 90 days from the day seeds are sown, the tomatoes would be all ripe and ready for their harvest.
Green Tomato - Indicates that about 10% of the fruit is ripe
Pink Tomato - Indicates that about 30% of the fruit is ripe
Light Red Tomato - Indicates that about 60% of the fruit is ripe
Dark Red Tomato - Indicates that about 90% of the fruit is ripe
Best time to Pluck them is once they are fully ripe early in the morning before the dew evaporates.
Owing to their tangy as well as sweet flavor, tomatoes are popularly incorporated in recipes ranging from a light breakfast to a hearty three course meal. Want to start the day with a healthy salad? Then having a bowl full of Caprese Salad is the perfect way to begin your day. Want to eat Mexican? Make yourself Burritos. Want to have Italian? Have pasta with your garden-fresh tomato sauce.
Benefits of tomato
"95% of tomatoes consist of water alone and the rest of it consists of Carbs, Protein, Fibre, Sugar, and Fats."
Apart from being rich in Vitamin A which helps in improving eye-sight, tomatoes are brilliant sources of:
All these vitamins and minerals promote healthy and glowing skin, prevent the chances of getting cancer along with maintaining a healthy heart.
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