Growing tomatoes — A delicious challenge


Closeup of a large beef tomato

“Tomatl”, “poison apple” and “love apple” are all early names for the beloved — and delicious — tomato (Solanum lypersicum).

While eaten by the Aztecs in 700 A.D., the British grew this wrangling plant for ornamental purposes. The tomato was considered poisonous because the lead plates used by aristocrats in Europe reacted with the high acid content of the fruit, giving them lead poisoning. The tomato was considered an aphrodisiac because of its similarity to a mandrake.

Ripe tomatoes might be black in color, purple, green, orange red or yellow, like the 'Virginia Sweets' variety pictured here.


Tomatoes are one of the best-loved crops of Minnesota gardeners. A fresh, vine-ripened tomato or handful of cherry tomatoes picked at their peak is a great addition to any meal.

But tomatoes can be somewhat baffling. Why aren’t they blooming? How come the fruit doesn’t seem to ripen? Why is the bottom of my tomato black? And what’s with all the yellowing leaves?

Extension Yard and Garden web pages have helpful content for tomato growers.

Gardeners can also use our diagnostic tool What’s wrong with my plant? to narrow down possible tomato issues (and their solutions).

And, if you are unable for any reason to successfully grow tomatoes, you can always purchase them from local growers! Find one near you in the Minnesota Grown Directory.

Red and ripening Roma tomatoes on the vine.

Plum or Roma tomato variety ‘Sugary’


Enjoy the fruits of summer!



The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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