Toe-MAY-toe, toe-MAH-toe, tuh-MAY-der… just shut up and pass the ketchup

18 05 2013

Let me sing praises to the tomato, that most wonderful fruit.
I mean, that most delicious veggie.
I mean… Ms Tomato, I hate to sound indelicate, but are you a fruit or are you a vegetable?

Ms Tomato pauses, then answers in two simple words. “It depends.”
What exactly does that mean?
Apparently, the answer to whether a tomato is fruit or vegetable depends on whether you are in botany class or in law school.

The botanists out there know that a tomato is the sexual organ of the plant, the ovary containing the seeds – definition of a fruit.

Off topic– Thinking about the movie site Rotten Tomatoes…
What would Hannibal Lecter have to say?
“Ms Tomato, I would like to eat your ovaries with some fava beans and a nice Chianti… FFFFF”

How about a fresh tomato, Clarice…

As for the lawyers, they know that the supreme court decided the issue in 1883. The case of Nix v Hedden was over that taxation of tomatoes. Vegetables were taxed by the Tariff Act of 1883; fruit was not. The court unanimously decided that it didn’t matter what the dictionary said. Everybody thought tomatoes were vegetables anyway, so they should be taxed.

Now that we solved that, it’s time for planting!

Next big question: start them from seed or buy the plants? There are benefits to both. Buying the plants is fast and easy. Starting from seed, on the other hand, is a lot cheaper and gives you a better variety.

Starting seeds indoors? Give them light… lots of light. (SEE Grow lights in the Basement) Keep the plants from drying out, but don’t over-water. For indoor seedlings, it’s good to get wet, but too much of a good thing can be fatal.

(Growing tip- periodically have a fan lightly blow on the plants. It will dry out the soil a little and will strengthen the stems.)

Seeds should to be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before last frost, and transplanted after the last frost date. I ignore that advice and plant mine 12 weeks before last frost, setting them out when the forecast looks like frost is going to be rare.

You have to keep the plants from freezing. Think how long you would last if somebody froze your limbs every night. It almost destroyed Schwarzenegger’s movie career. Have you ever seen Batman and Robin? Arnold played Mr Freeze, one of his most cringe-worthy performances ever.

Image

This Ahnold killz plants. Hasta la vista baby!

Last week’s casualty of the big frost

Anyway, protect your tomatoes from Mister Freeze. One gallon water jugs work as a heat sink to keep the plants a little warmer at night. Place three around the plant. The sun will warm them up in the day. They will give off the warmth at night. Be sure to cover the tomatoes with garden fabric or mini hoop house when there is a threat of frost.

I hope PART 1 was as much fun for you as it was for me.
PART 2 is coming soon.


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