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When it comes to tall tomatoes with unlimited growth, many gardeners call them tomato trees. A real tomato tree at home is a fairly new and unusual culture. Few people know that although this plant is a relative of tomatoes, it is still different from them.
- What is a tomato or tomato tree
- How to plant a tomato tree
- Tomato tree care
What is a tomato or tomato tree
Very often, vegetable growers consider tall tomato varieties to be a tomato tree. However, just as tall varieties of tomatoes cannot be called trees, just as a real tomato tree or cyfomandra cannot be called a variety of tomatoes. It is a separate plant from the Solanaceae family. Although the confusion is also added by the seeds of the Tsifomandra tomatoes that have appeared on the market.
The homeland of the tomato tree is the countries of South and Central America. In the wild, the cyfomandra is found in Peru, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador. Grown in culture in many countries with warm climates. The lifespan is about 15 years. The trade name of the cyfomandra fruit is tamarillo or woody tomato.
Life form is a medium-sized tree or shrub with evergreen leaves. Plant sizes from 1.0 m to 3.0 meters. The leaves are large, the shape of the leaf plates is oval, pointed towards the top, the surface is shiny, with a small downy. The calyx of flowers consists of 5 light pink petals with a yellow center. The fruits are elongated berries.
Their size depends on the variety, most often they are from 2 to 8 cm in length. The color of the peel of ripe fruits is yellow, yellow-orange, red. There are tamarillo and purple. Fruits are collected in bunches of 5-7 pieces. The peel of the berries of a tomato tree is dense and bitter in taste. The pulp is pink, golden, creamy. Its taste is very pleasant, with a slight sourness, a bit like tomatoes and passion fruit.
The fruits can be used both for the preparation of sweet dishes, compotes and desserts, and for savory salads, sauces, goulashes, stews. Fresh tamarillo salads give a festive look and fresh taste. For savory dishes, it is advisable to take purple and red fruits, and for sweet ones - yellow or orange ones.
Before using for food, the fruits must be dipped in boiling water, skinned, cut in half and dark seeds removed. The pulp can then be eaten from the halves with a spoon or used for cooking. If you sprinkle the peeled tamarillo with sugar and chill it slightly, then this dish is great for a light breakfast.
New Zealand children, and New Zealand has been the leader in the cultivation and consumption of tamarillo for several decades, simply pluck the fruits, bite off the stalk, spit it out and squeeze the contents directly into their mouths, and discard the empty peel. Many people may have a question about what woody tomatoes are so remarkable for growing them at home?
It turns out that in indoor conditions, tomato trees bear fruit for seven to eight months, yielding several tens of kilograms of not only tasty, but also very useful fruits. In addition, they are so elegant that in the New Year, decorated with bright fruits, they can even replace a Christmas tree.
How to plant a tomato tree
Tsifomandra can be propagated by cuttings and seeds. Cuttings can only be harvested if an adult plant is already growing at home. Otherwise, you need to find the seeds of the cypher. You can get them in two ways. The first is to find and buy a bag of seeds from a specialty store. This can be done on the Internet.
Now seed producers offer several varieties of tomato tree for cultivation in tub culture:
- Rotamer - ideal for growing at home, the tree grows strong with a beautiful crown, bright red fruits, ideal for morning sandwiches, especially if you mix their pulp with soft cheese, bears fruit from December to April;
- Ruby Red - when fully ripe, the fruits of this variety acquire a pleasant taste, good for various dishes;
- Inka Gold - yellow fruits with apricot flavor, if you stew the pulp a little, then it is very tasty to pour ice cream balls with it;
- Solid Gold - elegant golden fruits with a sour taste.
If you failed to buy seeds, then you can find and buy the fruits in the store. When fully ripe, select seeds and use them for planting.
Soil and conditions for growing a tomato tree
The agrotechnology of growing a tomato tree is similar to the cultivation of any nightshade crops. Therefore, you can buy soil ready for these crops and mix two parts of soil with one part of coarse sand. You can make up a potting mix of equal parts of leafy earth, peat and sand. Small expanded clay is suitable for the drainage layer.
The pot needs a spacious one, but it should be slightly wider in width than in depth, since the roots grow in width, not in depth. You will definitely need a pallet. Grow a tomato tree in good sunlight, but it is advisable to avoid the midday direct sun. Additional light is needed in winter.
Tomato tree video:
How to plant seeds
Soak the seeds in water before planting and soak in it for about 12 hours. Then put them in a pink solution of potassium permanganate for 30 minutes. Sowing in small pots with a capacity of 0.4 - 0.5 liters. Since they sell seeds in bags of 3-5 pieces, in common boxes, like tomato seedlings, you can sow those seeds that you can choose yourself from ripe fruits with almost no limitation in quantity.
Moisten the soil well a day before sowing. Spread the seeds one at a time in holes 1.0 - 1.5 cm deep and cover with soil. Keep the pots in a lighted place at a temperature of + 24 + 25 degrees. Seed germination can begin on the fifth day. If seedlings did not appear within 10 - 12 days, then, most likely, the seeds have lost their germination.
In the first 7-8 weeks, seedlings grow rather slowly. At this time, they need moderate watering and good lighting. When the seedlings are a month old, they can be fed with complex mineral mixtures. From the third month, plants can be transplanted into a new, larger pot.
Tomato tree care
In the first year, the plant easily grows to 0.8 -1.0 meters. In summer, pots with it can be taken out into the open air. Plants need to be exposed in calm places, and to prevent accidental fall, attached to a support. On the street, the plant can stand until autumn. Do not wait for the first frosts to come, the tree, of course, can survive the temperature of -1 - 2 degrees, but its leaves will freeze.
Regular watering is recommended, but without overflow and stagnation of water, you can use bottom watering through the pan. The plant needs to be fed every two weeks. For this, ready-made mineral and organic mixtures are used. If the plant bloomed in the first year, then the flowers must be removed. Otherwise, they will take away too much strength from the tree.
The fruits do not ripen at the same time, so they need to be removed as they ripen, after the end of the season, cut off all the fruit-bearing branches. This stimulates the next fruiting. As soon as all the fruits are collected, the plant needs to arrange a dormant period for two to three months, reduce watering, stop feeding and lower the room temperature to + 16 + 18 degrees.