Growing Tomatoes – Homegrown Are The Best

Posted under Fruits, Tomatoes, Vegetables | No Comment

I’m one of the many people who thought, “How different could a homegrown tomato be from the ones we can buy at the store?” Boy, was I surprised!

A few years back, Mom moved in with me and wanted to start a veggie garden similar to the ones we had growing up. However, because we lived in the Pacific Northwest back then, tomatoes weren’t high on the list because the climate isn’t always tomato-friendly. We had more cool weather fare, such as peas, lettuce and more, so I never really tasted a homegrown tomato until I was an adult.

However, Southern California has the sun, heat and long growing season that can bring out the best in the little red fruits (or vegetables depending on which you prefer) so we figured we’d add them into the garden mix that time around. In fact, the growing conditions were so good, the plants we picked up at the local Home Depot’s garden center ended up growing to almost 6′ tall, both the beefsteak-type (Mom’s favorite) and the cherry tomato plants (my personal preference.)

What’s funny is I even started liking the beefsteak variety after we starting growing tomatoes at home – seems they actually DO have a nice sweet flavor, unlike the tasteless, boring ones we’ve gotten over the years from stores. And all it took was a little bookcase we’d recycled, turned on its side, lined with hardware cloth on the bottom (to keep the gophers from munching out all the good stuff) and tossed in a few bags of vegetable soil mix from Home Depot. (That and sun and regular watering, of course.) The cherry tomatoes came out so sweet and big, they were like candies – both Mom and I would pluck them right off the plants and pop them in our mouths, savoring the sudden sugary squirt of juice as we’d bite into them. (Most days they never made it into the house or into salads…)

The next year turned out even better – seems growing tomatoes from ‘volunteers’ (seeds that were left over from the previous season’s escapee tomatoes) were even healthier, larger and for some reason almost perfectly consistently-sized, plus they had even more taste, if that’s possible.

If you’ve never tried growing tomatoes yourself, you really should. It’s a taste treat not to be missed. And with some of the new kits, you can grow them indoors now as well as outdoors, so you don’t have to wait for spring/summer any more to enjoy the great taste of freshly homegrown tomato.

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