Vine-ripened tomatoes are wonderful. Why can't they be grown indoors during the winter so there can be a continuous supply the year around?
They can to a limited degree. Only a few kinds are practical and then only if you have a sunny windowsill or can provide artificial light or have a greenhouse.
The ones grown outdoors during the summer are not suitable for growing indoors, even in a greenhouse, varieties are needed that yeild well, coupled with resistance to diseases that occur under greenhouse conditions.
Two of the best varieties for greenhouse growing are Tuckcross 520 F. and Michigan-Ohio Hybrid.
Rate of fertilization is most important in greenhouse gardening, especially with nitrogen. With too much, the plants become overly vegetated and bear poor-quality fruit, what there is of it. With too little nitrogen stunting occurs.
The big problem with growing tomatoes in late fall and early winter is inadequate light. Tomatoes need about 9 hours of sunlight daily to produce well.
From late October through January, with many dull, sunless, short days, there is insufficient light for flowering and fruiting. Sometimes this period extends to March 15.
The use of artificial light (fluorescent lamps are adequate) can solve this problem.
The best varieties for growing in the home are Small Fry and Sweet 100.
Small Fry bears great numbers of round, bright-red tomatoes about an inch in diameter of pleasant, mild flavor. Sweet 100, a new introduction, bears several long, multiple-branched clusters, each carrying an amazing number of bright-red little tomatoes. As the name indicates, they are deliciously sweet.
These varieties are listed in the catalog of Harris Seeds, Moreton Farm, Rochester., N.Y. 14624, which will be sent free upon request.
The more sun the plants receive, the earlier the crop will mature. The more sun the tomato fruit receives, the higher will be its vitamin C content.
To get the best flavor and color, harvest tomatoes after they are fully vine-ripened. The fruit will pass through various stages of coloration before becoming red-ripe.
Tomatoes grown on plants with dense foliage are redder because of the shade. The red pigment does not form when the temperature of the fruit goes above 86 degrees.