This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
we talk about tomatoes.
Tomatoes are generally easy to grow. Experts
at the University of Illinois Extension suggest you start seeds indoors if the
ground is still cold. For best results with the least risk, they say, plant
when the soil is warm, soon after the frost-free date for your area.
prepared to cover early plantings during the night if there is still a risk of
freeze. Black plastic mulch can help keep them warm. Better to wait until the soil
is warm to use organic mulch.
transplanting, use starter fertilizer.
Small plants called dwarfs may be placed
a third of a meter apart in rows. If you grow staked plants, set the sticks in
the ground about half a meter apart. Some larger varieties of tomatoes may need
about a meter between plants and at least a meter and a half between rows. The
idea is to leave enough space for harvesting.
the soil to remove weeds. But do not work the soil too deeply or you could
damage the tomato plants.
Water the plants regularly during long dry periods.
Give them plenty of water. Plants in containers may need water daily or even
more than once a day.
gardeners train tomato plants to grow on cages or trellises. Whatever you
choose, make sure the supports are tall enough. Most modern tomato plants grow about
a meter tall. Others reach almost two meters.
at Purdue University Extension in Indiana say tomatoes started from seed take
forty-five to ninety days till harvest. The average air temperature should be about
twenty-four degrees Celsius. In that case, you can pick the tomatoes when they
are firm and fully colored. But if the weather is very hot, pick the tomatoes every
day or two. Let them soften and develop their full color indoors.
was a time when people thought tomatoes were poisonous. In fact, they are just
the opposite. Tomatoes are good for you. But are they a fruit or a vegetable?
Technically, a tomato is a fruit -- the fruit of the
tomato plant. As the experts at AskOxford.com explain: "True fruits are
developed from the ovary in the base of the flower, and contain the seeds of
the plant (though cultivated forms may be seedless)." But some fruits,
including tomatoes, may be called "vegetables" because they are used
in savory foods instead of sweet cooking. Got that?
And that's the VOA Special English Agriculture
Report, written by Jerilyn Watson. For more advice about growing vegetables, go
to voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Bob Doughty.