There are numerous varieties of tomatoes, but scientists narrow down and categorize them into seven major types. The plant Solanum lycopersicum is the mother of all tomatoes people use as vegetables. Most of them are red, though a few come in other shades like yellow, purple, and orange. Below are some types of tomatoes.
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Grape Tomatoes
- Beefsteak tomatoes
- Roma Tomatoes
- Heirloom Tomatoes
- Cherry Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes are small, cherry-sized, and so juicy that they easily pop if you bite or press. A cherry tomato weighs approximately 17 grams and contains three calories and some minerals and vitamins.
Their size makes them suitable to eat raw as a snack or for salads. They are also excellent for kebabs and skewers.
- Grape Tomatoes
A grape tomato is smaller than a cherry tomato, almost half the size. They are oblong and contain less water. A grape tomato’s weight is 8 grams and contains one calorie.
They are perfect for salads and eating as a snack but are too small to use in skewers. Grape tomatoes are better than cherry tomatoes unless you care for the juice.
- Beefsteak tomatoes
A beefsteak tomato is big, firm, and sturdy. Its firmness allows it to retain its shape even when cut into slices. A large beefsteak tomato weighing 182 grams and with a diameter of 3 inches contains 33 calories.
It also contains 28% of the Daily Value vitamin C requirement and 2 grams of fiber. It is an excellent antioxidant for boosting the immune system. They are perfect for making sauces and slicing for burgers and sandwiches.
- Roma Tomatoes
Roma tomatoes are more prominent than cherry and grape, but they are not large enough to retain shape while slicing. A 62-gram Roma tomato contains 1 gram of fiber and 11 calories. They are ideal for making sauces due to their sweetness and juice. They are also common in salads.
- Heirloom Tomatoes
They vary in size and color. Heirloom tomatoes are non-hybrid and do not require cross-pollination with other types. Their shades vary from yellow and deep green to purplish red. Their nutritional value is almost similar to the other types. It is rich in vitamins, which are necessary for improving vision.
They are famous for their taste which makes them excellent for canning, making sauces, and eating raw.
Video – TOP 5 Tomato Varieties To Grow At Home!
The following are more tomato varieties perfect for growing in any garden:
|Common name||Scientific name||Facts|
|Early girl tomato||Solanum lycopersicum ‘Early Girl.’||It blooms in spring, summer, and fall and produces medium-sized tomatoes.|
|Celebrity tomato||Solanum lycopersicum ‘Celebrity.’||It displays flowers in summer that produce big globe-shaped tomatoes perfect for slicing.|
|Sun gold tomato||Solanum lycopersicum ‘Sungold.’||It takes about 65 days to mature. Once it starts flowering, it will yield until it frosts.|
|Juliet tomato||Lycopersicon esculentum ‘Juliet.’||They take 60 to 70 days to produce after transplanting.|
|Better boy tomato||Solanum lycopersicum ‘Better Boy.’||It takes about 70 to 75 days to bear fruit after planting. The flowers appear in summer and fall.|
Tomato Plant Growth Timeline
When you plant a tomato plant, the growing stages will be similar irrespective of the variety. The time the plant takes to mature depends on the variety. Counting the days begins from when you put the seedling into the soil and not from seeds. There are three common growing seasons.
- Early season; takes 50 to 60 days to mature
- Mid-season; requires 60 to 80 days to mature
- Late season; varieties take more than 80 days to mature
Life Cycle of Tomatoes
The tomato plant life cycle involves the leaves, flowers, and mature fruits. Each of these has its unique growing habits. Tomatoes are annuals, meaning they go through a complete life cycle from seeds to fruit in a single growing season.
The following are the essential stages in the development timeline of a tomato plant.
Sow seeds directly into the soil during the high temperatures of mid-August to accelerate germination. These plants perform best in the cool fall weather. Maintain soil moisture at all times after sowing.
The seeds stay 5 to 10 days before germination. They are faster than most garden plants. The radical first appears to support the plant in soil. It also obtains moisture and nutrients to assist with the following stages.
The shoot grows from the seed and upwards, emerging from the soil. It starts to grow towards the sun. The plant then begins to work towards developing leaves.
- Formation of First True Leaves
At this time, the seedlings display a slow growth habit. It has fewer resources for food and depends on internal storage for metabolic reactions. The seedling has to strive to form leaves. The first true leaf appears, the plant starts photosynthesizing, and average growth resumes.
- Formation of Third True Leaf
The plant picks a rapid growth as every forming leaf increases the rate of photosynthesis. The third set of true leaves appears and resembles a more diminutive form of mature leaves.
- Development of the Root System
The root system starts developing once the young seedling grows enough leaves for photosynthesis. It develops extensive roots to support the growing weight of the plant and absorb more food and moisture from the soil. The radical forms a tap root, and more fibrous roots develop.
The tomato plant begins branching when it grows 12 to 18 inches tall and attains 10 to 13 leaves. Flower buds start to appear along the branches and their tips. The buds open to boast yellow blooms, meaning the plant is ready for pollination.
A tomato flower has male and female parts, meaning it is self-pollinating and does not need insect intervention. They pollinate with the help of wind and the external vibrations that cause the sticky pollen to dislodge from anthers. Fruits are set to develop immediately after fertilization.
- Fruit Development
Fruits start growing after pollination for the following 45 to 70 days and remain green until mature. The period it will take to mature depends on the variety, climate, and growing conditions. Prune new stems and branches to allow more nutrients for the growth of fruits.
The fruits will automatically start changing color to ripen once they attain their mature size. It goes through 3 stages; breaker, pinks, and reds.
How Can I Grow Tomatoes at Home?
Growing tomatoes at home is an easy process. All you need is to provide the plant with the right conditions, and you will enjoy fresh, ripe tomatoes. Here are the tips for growing tomatoes.
- Identify a strategic spot. Tomatoes do best in full sun; 6-8 hours of daily sunshine. Growing in containers allows you to move it around throughout the growing season.
- Consider the size, purpose, and climate. Choose a variety that will suit your purpose well. Cherry tomatoes are ideal for salads and weight loss, while fleshy types with fewer seeds are excellent for sauces.
- Plant seedlings into rich soil. Mix potting soil and planting mix properly to obtain well-aerated soil for your plant. Plant the seedling deep enough to leave about 3 or 4 inches out.
- Water when necessary. Dig your fingers under the soil to determine whether your plant needs water. The soil should feel a little damp but not soggy. As it grows, it will need physical support against strong wind.
- Enjoy your fruits. Prune the first yellow flower to allow the plant to grow taller before producing. It will produce more if it extends for a longer period.
How to Make Tomato Plants Grow Faster
If you want your tomato plants to grow faster, there are six simple ways to achieve that.
- Pick a fast-maturing tomato type. You can look at the number of days it will take by reading the plant description on the seed packet.
- Warm the soil by removing mulch in spring to expose the soil to the sun before planting.
- Harden the plant by gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions for about ten days before transplanting
- Protect them from chill and wind
- Wait for about a month after planting for the sun to warm the soil before mulching
- Support the plant upright. Sprawling foliage delays ripening by shading the fruits.
How Long Do Tomatoes Take to Grow?
The time taken for tomatoes to grow depends on the variety. The average time ranges from 60 to over 100 days. Some gardeners prefer to plant starter plants in spring when the weather is warmer to beat the long growing period.
Tomato Plant Maintenance
Maintaining your tomatoes determines the amount of yield you get. Water the plant up to 2 inches in a week. Deep water infrequently for a healthy root system. To enjoy juicy tomatoes throughout summer, feed your plants by fertilizing them every 4-6 weeks. Prune to produce high and healthy yields.
What Is the Secret to Growing Tomatoes?
Planting tomatoes requires expertise. Here are some secrets to growing the best tomatoes.
- Always plant in a new site to prevent them from catching diseases from the previous plants
- Provide plant support before growing. You may consider caging the site
- Plant it in deep fertile soil
- Feed the plant at planting
- Mulch to regulate soil temperature and control soil nutrients erosion
- Minimize foot traffic around the plant to avoid compacting the soil
- Prune the plant correctly as it grows
Which Month Is Best for Tomato Plants?
For greenhouse tomatoes, sow them between early February and mid-march and prepare to transplant from late April to early May. Tomatoes are warm-weather crops, so plant them outside after the last frost in spring when the weather starts warming up.
Cherry Tomato Plants
Cherry tomatoes will do best if you plant them in spring after all the dangers of frost pass. You can also grow the starter seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the possible end of frost in your area. Wait until the seedlings grow 3-6 inches tall and develop 2-3 pairs of true leaves.
Cherry tomatoes have a spreading growth habit; space them enough to allow spreading and air circulation. You need to support them with a cage or trellis during growing to stop sprawling foliage.