From 23rd to 29th May it is British Tomato Week 2022. No one grows tomatoes quite like the British, and this awareness week is the perfect opportunity to celebrate a wonderful fruit loved by much of the nation. Tomatoes are easy to grow and have always been a popular addition to meals, from sandwich fillings to salads and sauces to soup.
Tip Top Tomatoes
Tip top tomatoes have a range of health benefits. They are a good source of vitamins A, C and E. They also contain minerals, such as potassium, which has been linked to lowering blood pressure and calcium, which is vital for healthy bones and teeth.
The vitamins and antioxidants found in tomatoes are thought to fight the harmful effects of free radicals that cause cell damage – a precursor of conditions such as heart disease and cancer.
Grow Your Own
Tomatoes are easy to grow and are becoming an increasingly popular fruit to cultivate at home. A couple of tomato plants will produce hundreds of these little red wonders and should keep you in stock from mid-summer right through to early Autumn.
Since British Tomato Week is the perfect time to start sowing your seeds, here’s some interesting facts about this prolific plant to nurture your interest:
- Tomatoes originally came from Peru, where their Aztec name translated to plump thing with a navel
- The scientific name for tomato is Lycopersicon Lycopersicum – meaning ‘wolf peach’
- Tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene which is important for the health of the prostate gland in men
- They were first brought to Europe in the mid-1500s
- A tomato is a fruit. The confusion arose after the 1890s when the US supreme court named them a vegetable for taxation purposes. A fruit is the edible part of the plant containing seeds, a vegetable is stem, leaf or root
- There are over 10,000 varieties of tomato, these come in a variety of colours including pink, purple, black, yellow and white
Why not head to Van Hage in PE1 this British Tomato Week to get started in growing your own tomatoes? They have plenty of gardening goodies and tomato supplies in-store to begin your journey.
What you’ll need:
- 1 growing bag
- 2 x tomato plants per bag
- Sharp knife
- Tomato food
- Watering can
- Garden twine
- Bamboo canes
What to do:
- Using the sharp knife, cut several holes in the sides of the growing bags for drainage. Then cut two evenly spaces planting holes on the top
- Put the tomato plants in the bags and support them with bamboo canes
- Tie the stems to the cane with twine (not too tight) and then drain well
- Remove the shoots that appear between the leaf and the stem as the plant begins to grow. Once four clusters of fruit have grown, remove the main shoot from the top of the plant as well
- Harvest the fruit when it is ripe (approximately 12 weeks)
We’d love to see photos of your tomato plants in situ during British Tomato Week, or any dishes you make using this versatile fruit! Simply post any pictures to our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages.