‘KETCHUP’ ON FACTS
Not just great for the palate, here are some things you may not know about the common tomato. By Poon Li-Wei
Things you may not know about tomatoes.
Grow Your Own
Did you know that Malaysia exports tomatoes? We’ve got all the right conditions as these crimson-hued fruits (yes, they’re not vegetables!) require plenty of sun. Plus, they’re also pretty hardy and easy to grow if you’re thinking of starting your very own garden. Do note that it will take about 40 to 50 days for the plant to bear fruit and in tropical climates, cherry tomatoes do better as those of the heirloom variety are more susceptible to wilts and fungi. A fact perhaps not known to most, your plant will actually bear yellow flowers first, which will then turn into tomatoes! Check out our growing tips:
1 Location, location, location
The patch you’ll be growing your tomatoes in needs to get a lot of sun (at least five hours a day). Ensure that it is sheltered from strong winds as well.
2 A rich base
Tomatoes also require well-drained and slightly acidic soil that is chockfull of organic matter. Mix in some peat moss, compost or manure before planting your seeds for better growing conditions. The next time you add fertiliser will be when the fruit forms – too much nitrogen in the soil will actually encourage more foliage, not fruit.
3 Use a large pot
They’ll require a lot of room for their roots, so if you’re growing more than one plant, leave plenty of space between. They’re best grown in large terracotta pots. Depending on the variety you choose and the height they grow to, you may need to place a stake next to your plant as the weight of the tomatoes could cause the branches to snap.
4 Water well
At the very start, you may need to water your plants twice daily as young tomato plants require very moist soil to grow. But once the plant matures, the Ohio State University recommends a total of 2.5cm to 3.8cm of water a week for it to bear fruit.