Fruit and Vegetables

Tomatoes on the balcony

Tomatoes on the balcony


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As a plant typically, if not exclusively, Mediterranean, the tomato needs a mild and temperate climate. In fact in Italy the areas of greater production of this delicious vegetable are found in the South, where the favorable climatic conditions allow the cultivation of the tomato excluding almost entirely the use of tunnels or greenhouses. In places that are too cold, the tomato has little hope of growth and survival, especially in regions where the temperature is often approaching 0 ° C (in this case the vegetable simply dies). On the other hand, even excessively hot areas, with temperatures exceeding 35 ° C, can be harmful for the cultivation of the tomato as they cause burns and discoloration of the berries.Being therefore typically sensitive to cold and water scarcity, we recommend a sunny exposure in temperate and warm climates.Sowing or planting



Tomato is a ductile and vulnerable vegetable. It adapts to different types of situations but still requires commitment and care, whatever the variety you intend to sow.
The sowing period is spring or, in less temperate situations, late spring. The ideal is to sow in covered seedbeds or in small peat pots. As soon as possible, it is advisable to work an effective thinning so as to guarantee a good growth of the vegetable. When the plants obtained have about four or five leaves, it is possible to proceed with the transplantation into a larger container to stimulate and support the correct development of the roots, which, if hampered, can seriously compromise the growth of the vegetable. This step must be carried out with extreme caution because it is very delicate, being careful not to sever the roots. Once the ideal temperature is reached, then (in normal conditions) towards the end of April, the final burying can be carried out in the largest vessel on the balcony. At that time the plants should have reached 15-20 cm in height. Some of the varieties, especially the small ones, can be housed in very large containers but only about thirty centimeters deep.

Cultivation



Not all vegetables, to grow well, require the same type of soil. In the case of tomatoes, the most congenial soil for their growth and their correct development is that of medium texture, rich in elements such as humus and clay. A factor to keep in mind is that the tomato plant is greedy for water, therefore frequent and regular waterings, in the less hot hours of the day, will favor its progress and will avoid unpleasant cracks in the fruits. During the summer period two waterings a day may be necessary. It should be kept in mind that irrigation should not concentrate on the leaves, rather it is better to avoid them altogether, concentrating only on the soil in order to avoid dangerous sunburn.
The tomato is a long-cycle vegetable, and for this reason it can support a further fertilization based on nettle maceration.
Some varieties structure a not very tall bush and therefore do not require particular interventions with guardians or the like. Others, instead, grow in height and need support with bamboo canes, railings, racks or metal wires secured to the wall. During growth, the stem of these plants must be connected to the supports by means of a knot operated under a leaf.
It is good to keep in mind that the side shoots at the axil of the leaves must be eliminated during the ripening process along with all those leaves that are below the lower fruit stage.

Collection



The best phase of a cultivation process always turns out to be the harvest, since all the work done previously is finally repaid. In the case of tomatoes, harvesting begins about two months after transplanting and lasts for several weeks. The best way to taste them is freshly picked, well ripe and red. In the last period of the season, they can also be picked slightly unripe, waiting for them to ripen in wooden or wicker containers and then eat them cooked.



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