Grow Tomatoes with Great Flavor

Ripening Tomatoes by Midwest Gardening.jpg

There are some very simple things you can do to make sure you get good flavor from your tomatoes.  To get the best flavor there are care issues you need to pay attention to through the entire season, from planting to harvest.

Start with the simple and straight forward:

  • Select a planting site with lots of sun, sun and more sun
  • Give each plant plenty of space so they are not shading each other
  • Start with organically enriched soil
  • Find out which varieties do best in your region, this is very important for your tomato to be successful in producing well and with great flavor
  • Select a variety known for full flavor over some of the many other attributes.  Open pollinated heirlooms generally have the best flavor.
  • Select varieties that produce smaller fruits.  Large juicy fruits often dilute the flavor with so much water in the fruit.
  • Harvest when fruits have fully reached a rich red
  • Do not store harvested tomatoes in the refrigerator

In the Organics and Taste article I talked about how growing organically can impact the flavor of our fruits and vegetables so be sure to read that.  But further, how you care for your tomato plant through the entire growing season will affect the flavor.

  • Never over water, do not water frequently.  If it rains and soaks the soil deeply, do not water again until the soil dries out.  Typically a deep soaking once a week is plenty.
  • Determinate plants that stop growing and start producing fruits do not need trimming or pinching
  • Indeterminate plants that grow and produce fruit continuously can be pruned to encourage flowering.  See more details in Growing Tomatoes.
  • Reduce watering once the fruits have formed.  Too much water through this stage will over fill the fruits with water, diluting that flavor.
  • Reduce feeding tomatoes once the fruit has developed. 

In short, our tomato plants love to be pampered and encouraged with sun, food and water while they get ready to blossom and set fruit.  Once that begins, stress seems to produce a delicious flavorful tomato.

Sharon Dwyer