Growing Tomatoes in your Garden

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Here is something to warm your thoughts these cold winter days. If you are a vegetable gardener or want to get started for the first time, let's talk tomatoes, and better yet, let's talk tomato variety.

More than likely in the next few weeks, you will receive your first seed catalog in the mail -- not to mention seeing the seed racks being assembled in your favorite lawn and garden center.

There are several tomato varieties that can be classified into groups as to how they are to be used. For example, there are tomatoes used for eating fresh like Mortgage Lifter and Mountain Pride. There are tomatoes that are used in salads that hold their shape when sliced. There are tomato varieties for canning that won't go to mush. There are tomatoes that can be used for paste like spaghetti and catchup. There are even tomato varieties that can be planted on the deck or patio that can make it convenient to grow and harvest. Have I gotten you excited yet?

Not only are there tomato variety differences, but consider this. There are varieties that will produce all their ripe juicy tomatoes over a short period of time, say one or two months. These are called determinate varieties and paste tomato varieties make up most of this group. Then there are tomato varieties that will produce all summer long and die when frost pokes its ugly head into your garden. This tomato variety group is called indeterminate.

It's best to order your tomato seed varieties as soon as possible, not only for supply reasons, but you are going to start seeding for transplants around the last of February. Hopefully, I've sent a warm ray of hope into a more cold winter time atmosphere in your house.

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