Are tomatoes a fruit? That is a question that has been asked for centuries.
It depends if you are asking a botanist or a cook. The botanist will tell you technically a tomato is a fruit. A fruit is from the ovary part of the flower and it contains seeds. That's the definition of a green pea, a squash, okra, peppers, cucumbers and many other so-called 'vegetables'. Botanically, they all are fruits.
A vegetable comes from other parts of the plant. Like potatoes and carrots are part of the roots. Spinach and lettuce are the leaves of the plant. Bamboo shoots and rhubarb are stems. These are vegetables.
Cooks classify fruits and vegetables according to how they use them. Rhubarb is used as a dessert, so cooks consider it a fruit. Tomatoes are used with other vegetables in salads, and pasta etc. So to a cook, the tomato is a vegetable. Even though botanically speaking, tomatoes are a fruit. Whew!
Whatever tomatoes are - they are delicious and nutritious!
Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant found in just a few foods. They also contain carotenoids, vitamins A, C and E.
When I was studying horticulture in college, they were trying to breed square tomatoes, so more of them would pack into a shipping box. What a novel idea, but I'm glad they didn't succeed.
Are tomatoes a fruit or a square, red shipping box? They are a delicious red fruit full of all kinds of good stuff.
Home-grown tomatoes are delicious, compared to supermarket tomatoes. So are tomatoes a fruit, it doesn't matter.
Tomatoes are the most popular home grown 'vegetable'. There is nothing like the treat of fresh garden tomatoes on the dinner table.
The small cherry tomato types will harvest in 50 to 55 days after planting a seedling. The larger tomatoes take 55 to 85 days to harvest.
Most tomatoes will continue to produce all summer up until frost.
Are tomatoes a fruit? Yes, they are and there are two groups of tomatoes.
HEIRLOOM TOMATOES are open-pollinated tomatoes. This means you can save the seed. Plant the seed the next year and it will come true year after year.
HYBRID TOMATOES are produced by crossing different varieties. There are many delicious hybrid tomatoes.
They will not come true from the seeds you save from a fruit. The seedlings could have all kinds of variations, much like our parents had children that were all different. No two are alike.
Are tomatoes a fruit or a vegetable? Heirloom and hybrid tomatoes botanically are both fruits.
Plant labels or seed packets give you good information for choosing tomatoes.
DETERMINATE and INDETERMINATE
DETERMINATE tomato varieties stop growing and tend to produce all their fruit at one time, over 4 to 6 weeks. This is good, if you want to do some canning. You get more fruit at once. They generally are a bushy plant that is not staked or caged.
INDETERMINATE tomatoes keep growing and producing fruit the entire season. They provide a supply of tomatoes for the table until frost. These plants need to be staked or caged.
You may start your own tomato seeds about 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost.
Incorporate plenty of organic matter into the soil before planting.
Plant your seedlings or ones from the garden store into your garden after the last spring frost.
CARE - You may stake your plants with a 6 foot 1x1 inch stake driven into the soil, a foot away from the stem. Drive the stakes at the same time you plant your tomatoes. Staking after the tomato plant is growing, may damage the roots.
If you have just a few plants, tomato cages are a good option. They are so easy. Purchase them at any garden store, Home Depot, Lowes, etc. Place one tomato cage around each plant.
You may also plant tomatoes in containers or hanging baskets. The tomatoes will hang over the sides of the basket and are quite attractive and easy to pick.
When the keto friendly fruit start forming, be sure and water regularly. The fruit will start to set when the nights are 55 degrees or warmer.
Do not fertilize a dry plant. After you fertilize the tomato, water the fertilizer in.
Remember too much nitrogen (the first of the 3 numbers on the fertilizer container) will grow a lot of leaves, but not much fruit.
Pinch off the suckers that grow in the joints where the branches attach to the main stem.
HARVEST - Pick your tomato vegetables when they are red and juicy. (Or are tomatoes a fruit?) They should pull off the vines easily, if they are ripe.
When the fall frosts are on their way, pinch off the terminal growths and any flowers. The tomatoes on the plant will ripen faster.
You may pick the green tomatoes for a tasty fried treat. Or wrap them in newspaper and store them in a cool place at 58 degrees. When you want them to ripen, bring them into a 70 degree temperature.