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How to Grow Green Tomatoes

Green Tomatoes image by Scott Williams from

Green tomatoes are best known from their fried form, yet many people don't consider why they are actually "green." Usually, tomatoes turn red when ripe, but some varieties stay green. When chefs use green tomatoes, they are either a green variety or a red variety that just isn't fully ripe yet. Grow green tomatoes for harvest with some simple supplies and a careful eye.

Purchase tomato transplants specific to your climate or region. Usually tomatoes mature during summer, but others are adapted to cooler climates. Find transplants at your local nursery, because this will be easier than growing from seeds.

Pick a planting site with that gets full sun in moderate to hot climates, or a planting site with moderate shade in extreme-heat climates.

Prepare the planting soil. When the soil outside becomes soft enough to till, mix about three layers of the compost into the site.

Dig holes that are as deep as the transplant container. For multiple plants, space about 2 feet apart.

Secure any stakes or tomato cages in the planting holes, if desired. These can help support your tomato plants in windy weather, or train the plants to grow in a certain direction.

Mix a teaspoon of the fertilizer and a tablespoon of the limestone into the soil at the bottom of the planting holes before planting.

Set the tomatoes carefully in the planting holes after removing them from the containers. Use twine to secure the tomato stems to the stakes or cages.

Water the tomato plants immediately after planting. Water them generously every day for five days. From this point on, saturate the soil once every couple of days (depending on your climate) to keep the soil consistently moist.

Fertilize the tomato plants when fruits start to show, following the package directions.

Observe the fruit once it starts to mature. For red varieties, harvest when the fruit is firm but still green. They probably will be smaller than regular red tomatoes. For green varieties, let the tomato mature until it is large, firm and heavy on the branch before harvesting.

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