Life of … a Tomato
Are Tomatoes a Vegetable or Fruit?
Even though it isn't sweet, the tomato is a fruit! That's because it has seeds inside just like apples or pears.
Whatever you call it, the tomato is delicious and great for your heart and eyes. Let's see where tomatoes come from and how you can grow your own.
Tomatoes are International Rock Stars
The tomato is one well-traveled fruit! Tomatoes are from South America.
Then they spread up to Mexico. That is where European explorers found them and took them home.
Soon the whole world was eating the tasty tomato. In Italy and France, they called the tomato "love apples."
Farmers Grow Lots of Tomatoes
Today, most tomatoes are grown on big farms.
Farmers use machines to help plant them and giant sprinklers to water them. After the tomatoes are picked, they're loaded onto trucks that take them to stores or farmers markets.
You can grow your own tomatoes, too.
How to Grow Your Own Tomatoes
They hate the cold. But you can grow them inside any time of year. You need:
- A 6-inch flower pot
- A bag of potting soil, otherwise known as dirt!
- Seeds for cherry tomato plants. They are the right size.
- A grown-up's permission
Get Your Flower Pot Ready
OK, here's the fun part. You are going to get your hands dirty!
- First, spread out an old towel, or go to a place that it is OK to make a little mess.
- Then, fill your pot with the dirt.
- Finally, poke a small hole in the dirt. Not too deep, just about a 1/4 of an inch. You can use a ruler to check.
Pick a Sunny Spot
Now, your flower pot is ready.
- Drop one or two seeds in the hole.
- Sprinkle a little dirt on top to cover the seed and gently pat the dirt down.
Next, pick a sunny place to put your flower pot. Tomatoes love the sun! They need to sit in the sun for 6 to 8 hours a day.
Water It, Wait for It
Now, find an old plate to put under your pot. This will keep water from leaking out and the grown-ups happy.
Then, go for it and water the dirt. Pour on just enough so it is a little wet, or damp. Your tomato seed does not want to go swimming!
Water your tomato plant a few times a week, when the dirt gets dry.
You'll See Spouts in About a Week
Once your tomato plant is a few inches tall, it needs some fertilizer. That is just another name for plant food. Have a grown-up help you.
As your tomato plant grows, you may need to add a stake. Your tomato plant may climb up and lean against it so it won't fall over.
Next, little yellow flowers will grow.
The Best Way to Eat Tomatoes is Fresh
Finally, tomatoes will grow from the little yellow flowers. They will turn from green to orange to red!
- Eat one like an apple.
- Add them to your salad.
- Make them into salsa with the help of a grown-up.
Tomatoes taste great and give your body healthy vitamins.