Most everybody likes tomatoes and they are the most eaten vegetable, besides the potato, in this country. Tomatoes are from Central, South and southern North America and the word “tomato” is from a word in the Nahuatl language tomatl. Lycopersicum is its specific name and this means “wolf-peach.” There are different opinions on how the tomato came to the United States but most believe the Spanish brought them over from Peru, where they grew wild until Mexico domesticated them.
When the Spanish colonized in America they were very fond of their tomatoes and wanted to share with everybody. They distributed the tomatoes throughout colonies in the Caribbean and on to the Philippines and from there they made their way over to Southeast Asia and then they spread all over the Asian continent.
We eat tomatoes by the tons every year and there are many different varieties of tomato plants today. They come in different sizes and colors, from the cherry and grape tomatoes to the big beautiful Beefsteak tomato. Their colors range from deep reddish orange, to pink, purple, yellow, orange, green and even white tomatoes. Some even come in stripes. Tomatoes are grown for a variety of reasons and a growing trend today is people growing Heirloom tomatoes, especially organic growers. Tomato plants today produce more fruit, are more disease resistant and are considered pretty tasty.
The debate of exactly what the tomato is still goes on. Is it a fruit or is it a vegetable? Fruits by definition are naturally sweet, like apples, oranges, and peaches. Tomatoes are not really sweet by nature and although some will say tomatoes have a sweet taste but they are not sugary.
So I would say that tomatoes are vegetables. Until the 1800’s, the tomato was classified as a fruit to avoid taxation but later the Supreme Court ruled the tomato was a vegetable and should be taxed accordingly.
If you’re thinking of growing your own tomatoes, you will have to protect your plants from insects. Just like people, bugs like tomatoes too. Aphids, flea beetles, leaf miners and spider mites, just to name a few love to infest tomato plants. Fruit worms cause foliage damage and if you don’t notice and stop these problems immediately, these pests will spread and destroy your whole garden.
There are a few tomato plants that are more pest resistant than others so you may want to check them out. Even if you’re growing a tomato plant indoors, you still need to keep your eyes open for pests.
Growing tomatoes is a rewarding experience and if you have never done it, you will be surprised at how easy it really is. It’s so easy and you don’t need anything fancy. Just a little time and effort and watch your tomato plant grow.
In no time you can be eating your very own fresh tomatoes and how cool is that?
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