Grow Organic Superfood

I'd like you to imagine for a moment that you have access to a food item which could improve you and your family's health, provide a real sense of achievement in your life, even increase your circle of friends.
This food is totally organic and free from preservatives. It's a classic ingredient in so many mouth watering dishes. It can come in a various colours sometimes green, yellow, orange or more commonly red. In fact, it has the capacity to add so much colour and life to all dishes created in your kitchen.

This food was thought to be an aphrodisiac by the French who referred to it as pommes d'amour, or love apples. However, in the 18th century, it was commonly believed to be poisonous and physicians warned against eating it.
For centuries, people have debated whether or not this food was a fruit or a vegetable. Botanically it is classified as a fruit as it has seeds. However, it is commonly used as a vegetable.

Can anyone guess what I'm talking about?

If you haven't already guessed the identity of the food item I am referring to, I can reveal that I am talking about the humble tomato.
In this article I'm going to tell you what inspired me to grow my own tomatoes and reveal a very simple method which will enable you to grow tomatoes at home and thereby access some of the many benefits that this fruit can offer.
My story begins back in the 1970s when my mother and father decided to have a go at growing their own vegetables. For several years they rented a small allotment in Harrow from the local council. I've many happy memories of the joy of harvesting our own potatoes, radishes, carrots and onions. There was something truly wonderful about pulling vegetables from the soil with your own hands. Planting a seed and seeing that seed grow into a something edible makes you feel that you're taking part in the cycle of life. It is a god-like experience.
As the years went by, like many people I found that I had very little time and no outside space to get involved with growing my own produce.
However, eventually I moved into a house. I finally had my own garden - a space where I could create a bit of magic. My thoughts returned again to my happy memories at the allotment. Although I still led a very busy life, by using the following simple process, I was able to grow my own tomatoes and sample the delights of warm red fruit picked straight from the bush.
During early April you'll need to visit your local garden centre, purchase a packet of tomato seeds and some seed containers.
Find a sunny and draft free spot near a window at home and plant one seed in each container. I've found that it's fine to use multi-purpose compost.
Remember to keep the soil moist but do not over-water.
Within a short space of time tiny shoots will appear. When the tiny plants have several leaves transfer them to small pots

Once the winter frosts have finished - usually by the end of May - you can transfer the transfer the pots outside to be hardened off. Put the plant in an area with good sunlight and ensure that the soil stays moist by watering once or twice a day.

Within 3-4 weeks small yellow flowers will appear. At this stage you will need to start feeding them every 10 days with a liquid fertiliser available from your garden centre.

Eventually, the really exciting part of this process begins. The little yellow flowers give way to the swelling of green immature fruits. As the weather warms the skin will begin to be tinged with a yellow and then orange colouring.

Remove any leaves which show signs of yellowing to avoid risk of infection. If the plants become too large to support themselves, you may need to tie them to a support cane.
Harvest the fruit as soon as it is ripe as this will encourage the production or more fruit. If you find that it's getting later in the season and you still have un-ripened green tomatoes, these can be ripened indoors. Simply pick and place in a draw with a ripe banana. I'm not sure why this works but this old trick seems to ensure that they ripen fairly quickly.

Nothing can beat the taste of home-grown tomatoes. The action of picking a fruit direct from the plant and taking a bite results in an amazing taste explosion. You can smell the foliage and this seems to add to the unique flavour and the texture of the fruit is much finer than that of supermarket tomatoes.
There are over 3,000 varieties of tomatoes, some of which have rather interesting names such as "Moneymaker", "Gardener's Delight" and "Tumbler". In my case, I usually choose the smaller bush type plants which can be grown in pots on my patio.

The health benefits of eating tomatoes are numerous. A ten-year study at the University of California comparing organic tomatoes with standard produce found that they had almost double the quantity of antioxidants called flavonoids which help to prevent high blood pressure and thus reduce the likelihood of heart disease and strokes.
Another study at Harvard found that men who consumed 10 servings of tomatoes a week can cut the risk of developing prostate cancer by a formidable 45 percent.

I always find that growing tomatoes is likely to make you popular with many people. Why? Well you can give away your surplace seedlings and tomatoes to your friends, neighbours and work colleagues.
Finally, how do I like to enjoy my tomatoes? Well I've made chutney, used them in salads or in various other recipes. However, by far my favourite use of them is to take some freshly baked French bread, lighly buttered and add any sort of full-flavoured cheese, then slice the freshly picked tomatoes on top. I recommend a nice glass of chilled Chablis to go with it.
Bon appetite!
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About Peter Paul

Welcome to I've spent my career helping people upgrade their homes and improve their lives. I learned first hand about home renovation from my father, who hand-built our family home.
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