Tomatoes have inspired dedication and devotion in gardeners for years—some tomato farmers even end up with their own TV shows.
Tomato growers and lovers are often seeking bragging rights for the best and biggest tomato. In 1986, Gordon Graham of Edmund, Oklahoma, harvested a delicious beefsteak tomato that weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces, setting a world record that has not been duplicated since.
(On just a quarter-acre of land, you can produce fresh, organic food for a family of four—year-round. Rodale's The Backyard Homestead shows you how; get your copy today.)
Tomatoes are one of our favorite things to grow. As to the age-old question, fruit or vegetable? It depends on whom you ask. A tomato fits the botanist’s definition of a fruit: a seed-bearing structure that develops from a flower. But to a chef who thinks in culinary terms, it's a vegetable. (It's also worth noting that the Supreme Court ruled the tomato a vegetable.) Among the other crops that share this dual identity are squash, eggplant, peppers, and cucumbers.
Regardless of classification, if you're going to grow big, juicy tomatoes, it's important to do things right. Here's our best tips for growing your biggest and best tomato crop this year.