Our her­itage tomato guide

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It’s all about flavour, pro­duc­tiv­ity and ver­sa­til­ity for the kitchen. That’s why toma­toes are one of the most popular veg­eta­bles grown in the home gar­den. No bought tomato com­pares to one fresh from the vine. Flavour, es­sen­tially a bal­ance be­tween acid­ity and sweet­ness, is determined by sev­eral in­ter­act­ing fac­tors and can vary depend­ing on the sea­son, va­ri­ety, ma­tu­rity and even the time of day when picked. Many grow­ers say it is good prac­tice to err on the side of un­der-wa­ter­ing. Over-wa­ter­ing and over-feed­ing are some of the main rea­sons for loss of flavour. Toma­toes love a warm, sunny shel­tered po­si­tion, and need at least eight weeks frost-free from plant­ing to ma­tu­rity. Most va­ri­eties ben­e­fit from some form of sup­port, such as stak­ing or trel­lis. You can have a long har­vest if you plant dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties. An early fruit­ing va­ri­ety such as Tommy Toe pro­duces fruit 60–70 days af­ter trans­plant­ing; an at­trac­tive mid-sea­son ex­am­ple is Green Ze­bra, which fruits af­ter 90 days; and later, one could look to some­thing like Mort­gage Lifter, which will be ready to har­vest af­ter 110 to 120 days.

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