Did you know?
Green tomatoes won’t ripen on the plant late in the season, but fruit can be picked and put in a drawer with a couple of mature apples or bananas. These give off ethylene gas, which speeds ripening.
Rich in lycopene, which is said to boost health in many ways, as well as vitamin C and beta-carotene.
How to grow
Tomatoes can be grown from seed in spring, though ready-grown plants are widely available and include grafted varieties that, although dearer, are heavier cropping and more resistant to disease. Although tomatoes must have plenty of sun, too much – especially under glass – can cause fruit disorders such as sunscald and greenback, leaf curl, scorch and poor fruit set. To avoid this, put up greenhouse shading and water the surrounding ground to raise humidity. Keep compost evenly moist to avoid problems such as blossom end rot (too dry) and fruit split (too little followed by too much). Ensure plants keep cropping well by adding liquid tomato fertiliser every week.
Pick ripe fruits regularly as over-mature fruit left on the plant softens, splits and may become infected with grey mould, which can spread to younger fruits.
How to store
Lots of ripe fruit is a great problem to have! Freeze whole, dry in the oven to keep in olive oil, use in chutneys or make into soup or sauces to freeze ready-made. Green tomatoes can also be used in baking and preserves. For more on preserving harvests, see p.129.
For blight resistance: ‘Crimson Crush’ Large, tasty fruit. ‘Mountain Magic’ Good crops of sweet fruit. ‘Losetto’ Perfect for pots and baskets.
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