Due to both the variety of types and the complex flavors of each one, tomatoes are the "wines" of vegetables. We have chosen from hundreds of varieties, picked fresh off the vine as well as prepared at the dinner table. Order tomato seeds or organically grown, garden-ready tomato plants which ship in time for planting based on your location.
START INDOORS in a warm, well-lighted area 6-8 weeks before planting outdoors. Sow seeds 1/4" deep into individual containers filled with seed starting formula. Keep moist.
How to Grow
Seedlings emerge in 7-10 days at 70-75°F. Transfer seedlings to individual containers when they are 2" tall. Before transplanting, move to a sheltered area outside for a week. Transplant hardened-off seedlings to the garden after all danger of frost. Set plants 18" apart in rows 3 apart. Give plants full sun and 1" of water each week. Water container plants when they are partially dry, but not wilted; they may need watering every day. If you are training the plants to trellises or stakes, prune the developing plants to keep one or two strong stems. Every week, remove the side shoots that develop from where each leaf meets the main stem. In general, tomatoes will stop producing fruit when temperatures drop below 50°F or rise above 90°F. In hot, dry weather, plants may drop their flowers or fruit, but when conditions improve, they generally recover fully. Tomatoes may be scalded by the sun in too-hot temperatures, when the fruit is not shaded from the direct sun. The fruit needs warmth--not light--to ripen, so you can cover the developing tomatoes with the leaves to shield them. Do not plant tomato family crops in the same spot 2 years in a row.
Pick tomatoes when they are as ripe as possible--they should be fully colored and firm. When you know there will be a frost, pick all the almost-ripe tomatoes you can, and ripen them in brown bags or spread on newspapers at room temperature. Many cultivars will store for months. Store only sound fruit, at 50-60°F. The foliage of tomatoes is toxic and should not be eaten. Tomato fruits are enjoyed in many cooked dishes as a flavoring. Use them to make soups, sauces, stews, ketchup, paste, juice, quiche, and pies. Add them to curries, casseroles, and chutney.
We also suggest these gardening products and ideas.