PER­FECT PICK

The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

Taste­less toma­toes will soon be a thing of the past with new tech­nol­ogy and breed­ing to bring you fat plump trussed fruit, and oth­ers that you can plant for a per­fect crop.

The old field-grown va­ri­ety, Grosse Lisse Ly­cop­er­si­con es­cu­len­tum, is known to be picked green and gassed to give colour. Hence you get a to­mato that holds up well post-har­vest and can last long dis­tances to fin­ish up at the su­per­mar­ket.

I don’t know about you but I don’t like my toma­toes that crunch, es­pe­cially when you look at them and think “Can’t wait to sink my teeth into that” and find it is al­most the tex­ture of an ap­ple.

Toma­toes that are re­ferred to as “truss” re­fer mostly to the num­ber of fruit that ap­pear on truss (branch) of the plant. Su­per­mar­ket “truss” toma­toes is also the tech­nique of grow­ing toma­toes un­der cover in a sub­strate (soil) of well drained gran­u­lar soil that is reg­u­larly fed with a hy­dro­ponic mix. Truss toma­toes are soar­ing well past any other to­mato sales at su­per­mar­kets.

Take a look on Google Earth and see just how much of South­ern Spain is ded­i­cated to glasshouse truss toma­toes that are fed by hy­dro­pon­ics.

Home­grown al­ways has a flavour of its own. The fresh smell of to­mato leaves and the touch of the vines is all part of the ex­pe­ri­ence.

Grosse Lisse is the old Aus­tralian salad favourite and will grow to about 2.5m. Roma, the egg-shaped to­mato is a bit hardier and more of a shrub or bush to­mato and will grow well in a pot and doesn’t need as much stak­ing as oth­ers.

If you like the burst in your mouth of a cherry to­mato, try Sweet Grape Ly­cop­er­si­con es­cu­len­tum or the easy-to-grow cherry Tom Thumb, which is as peren­nial as grass and takes so lit­tle ef­fort to eat a hand­ful off the bush. Give toma­toes plenty of food. Cul­ti­vate the soil be­fore if you are ground grow­ing, or use a qual­ity pot­ting mix for a container, add blood and bone, sea­weed and fish fer­tiliser then and af­ter.

Don’t be stingy with the pot size if you want a court­yard plant as toma­toes like some space in the soil to grow well. Use a pot about 400mm in di­am­e­ter. Re­moval of some of the side shoots isn’t nec­es­sary and is sim­ply done for the rea­son that the weight of the fruit can dam­age the bush and to keep some air go­ing around the leaves.

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