There is no wonder that nearly  93% of those that garden in America grow tomatoes: homegrown vine ripened tomatoes are the BEST!!!  A homegrown tomato and a little salt is the best way I like to enjoy a tomato, or…maybe in a Bloody Mary.  Either way, they are simply delicious!

So what can you be doing to make sure that your tomato plants keep giving you plenty to enjoy throughout the Summer?  Here are some tips and guidelines that will help give you the best chance to enjoy this garden treasure all Summer long.

Water

With just about everything that we grow outside, our watering habits play such a huge role in the plants success.  So what do your tomatoes like?  Tomatoes like to be watered at the roots.  By watering the tomato plants at the roots, you will help reduce the risk of spreading disease to your tomato plants. 

In the heat of Summer, you may experience several consecutive days of above 90 degree weather.  Your tomatoes like heat, but this can stress your tomato plant (I get ya little guy, this lady needs a pool after too many 90 degree days).  So when you are in the heat of summer increase the frequency of water but not the quantity.  If your tomatoes get too much water they will likely crack.  A way to test this is to make sure that the soil around the base of your tomato plant is moist about 1 1/2-2″ deep. 

Harvest

Vine ripened tomatoes might be one of the most anticipated veggies (or fruits) tomato-tomoto.  So how long do you have to wait to enjoy?  As hard as it may be, try and let your tomatoes ripen on the vine as long as they can.  For some of the larger varieties, you may need to harvest before they are fully ripened as the weight of the tomato will stress the vine.  In this case, look for the burst of orangeish/reddish that first appears on the tomato and store the tomato in a brown bag or wrap it in newspaper if you need it to ripen quickly.  If you are not in a rush, just set it in a bowl on your counter and let chemistry do its thing!

*TIP make sure to store any of your tomatoes on the counter and NOT the refrigerator.  Placing your tomatoes in the fridge will change the texture and make them mealy.  No one likes mealy tomatoes! 

Enjoy

This is the best part, right?! Enjoying the sweetness of a homegrown tomato! Like I mentioned before, a little salt and that’s all I need with a garden fresh tomato. But I am going to share a few way that are pretty delicious as well!!

-Tomato and Mayo sandwich
Toast either sourdough or multi-grain bread. Spread both slices with mayo. Add thinly sliced tomatoes with some salt and yum! I like to enjoy it open face. So simple, but I am telling you this is delish!
– Tomato/Bagel/Laughing Cow
Toast a bagel, spread some Laughing Cow cheese on both sides of the bagel, add some spouts and sliced tomato and wow, so good!

*TIP dont’ think you are going to be able to enjoy all those tomatoes before they spoil and your neighbors have had enough?? You can core your tomatoes and just pop them in the freezer. Easy peasy! And the best part…the skin comes off easily when they thaw. Simmer these babies up into a tomato sauce and enjoy the taste of summer during the
L O N G cold winter months.

So there you go, some simple things that you can do to make the most out of your tomato plant and enjoy them all year long!