|09-24-2007, 11:32 AM||#1|
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: West Hollywood, CA
All about Tomatoes
Courtesy of manjith kainickara on flickr
The tomato is a plant in the Solanaceae or nightshade family, as are its close cousins tobacco, chili peppers, potato, and eggplant. The tomato is native to Central, South, and southern North America from Mexico to Peru. It is a perennial, often grown outdoors in temperate climates as an annual, typically reaching to 1–3 m (3 to 10 ft) in height, with a weak, woody stem that often vines over other plants.
The leaves are 10–25 cm long, pinnate, with 5–9 leaflets, each leaflet up to 8 cm long, with a serrated margin; both the stem and leaves are densely glandular-hairy. The flowers are 1–2 cm across, yellow, with five pointed lobes on the corolla; they are borne in a cyme of 3–12 together.
Home Cultivars with exceptional taste include:
'Andrew Rahart Jumbo Red' (red beefsteak)
'Black Cherry' (black/brown cherry)
'Box Car Willie' (red beefsteak)
'Brandywine' (red beefsteak, Sudduth strain)
'Cherokee Purple' (purple beefsteak)
'Crnkovic Yugoslavian' (red beefsteak)
'Earl’s Faux' (pink/red beefsteak)
'Elbe' (orange beefsteak)
'Great Divide' (red beefsteak)
'Lucky Cross' (bi-color red/orange)
'Marianna’s Peace' (red beefsteak)
'Mortgage Lifter' (red beefsteak, various strains)
'Sungold' (orange cherry, not open pollinated)
Courtesy of Plutor on flickr
Diseases and Pests
Tomato cultivars vary widely in their resistance to disease. Modern hybrids focus on improving disease resistance over the heirloom plants. Various forms of mildew and blight are common tomato afflictions, which is why tomato cultivars are often marked with a combination of letters which refer to specific disease resistance. The most common letters are: V - verticillium wilt, F - fusarium wilt strain I, FF - fusarium wilt strain I & II, N - nematodes, T - tobacco mosaic virus, and A - alternaria.
Another particularly dreaded disease is curly top, carried by the beet leafhopper, which interrupts the lifecycle, ruining a nightshade plant as a crop. As the name implies, it has the symptom of making the top leaves of the plant wrinkle up and grow abnormally.
Some common tomato pests are cutworms, tomato hornworms and tobacco hornworms, aphids, cabbage loopers, whiteflies, tomato fruitworms, flea beetles, red spider mite, slugs, and Colorado potato beetles.
Tips for growing
Last edited by lspichkin; 06-04-2008 at 10:02 AM.
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