Fruit and Vegetables

Tomatoes on the terrace

Tomatoes on the terrace

Tomatoes belong to the Solanaceae family. It seems to be ascertained that the origin of the common tomato name is due to the fact that the first fruits known in Europe towards the second half of the sixteenth century, were of yellow color, therefore "golden apples". It is believed, however, that they are of American origin. In the cultivated form instead, the tomato would originate from the Perщ. Like the potato, the tomato initially aroused an interest as an exotic plant; the real crops as an edible plant of high diffusion began only in the early nineteenth century, in the warm areas of Sicily and the Neapolitan area. From a botanical point of view tomatoes, very tasty vegetables, are defined as fleshy “berries” and contain over 90% water, but they are a food of high biological value due to their richness in mineral salts, carbohydrates, ascorbic acid, vitamins and antioxidants. The tomato fruit has different shapes, so the different varieties have a second name (a cherry, and a cluster) depending on the shape of the vegetable. The tomato is also forced into special greenhouses, with particular techniques and a choice of suitable varieties, and appears on the markets as first fruits already in February. Cultivation is widespread in Italy both for the production of preserves and for fresh consumption. This vegetable has the enormous advantage of being able to be cultivated both in full ground and in pots or boxes on terraces and wide balconies, it does not require a particular maintenance and has a rather rapid flowering time. Tomato plants in Italy are grown on an industrial scale as annual plants, in fresh soils with an acid PH ranging between 5.5 and 7.5 in regions where the temperature is rather low; while where the temperature is warmer the PH remains quite stable at around 6.0.

How to grow them on the terrace

To obtain the flowering of tomatoes on the terrace, sowing takes place in the period from November to February. As soon as the first leaves are born, sticks are planted that act as guardians to the plants to help them climb around them. The simple and natural soil must be hoed immediately after planting the seeds and watering must be constant and frequent. The harvest is carried out gradually, as the fruits ripen in successive phases. Cultivating these vegetables on the terrace makes it possible to obtain natural and tasty products compared to those grown in greenhouses because, the sun's rays are the lifeblood especially in the areas of southern Italy. In order to obtain a good production, it is advisable to limit the flowering in the intermediate period of growth, removing some flowers and leaves near the ripening fruits with a slight shearing.

Tomatoes on the terrace: the varieties

The tomato varieties are purely those to be consumed fresh, whose fruits are mainly used raw in salads or as a side dish and cooked in various ways. In the south, especially in vegetable gardens and terraces, the variety of the so-called Serbian tomatoes is also cultivated, whose fruits are as small as those in bunches, or those in flasks; they are kept in clusters in a suitable, dry, not warm environment to be used during the winter. The different varieties grown differ in maturation: this can be early, medium or late; furthermore, they are distinguished according to the plant habit, that is climbing, nano and self-supporting. Tomato plants are susceptible to attacks by viruses and cryptogamic diseases, for which preventive care should be taken to purchase specialized chemical products in specialized stores. On the other hand, against animal parasites, there are also excellent pesticides with an energetic action and already pre-packaged and therefore ready for use.

The uses

The tomato pulp is curative for the gastrointestinal tract and is exploited by extracting all the liquid, after which it is cooked slowly until the mixture has become compact like a solid cream, thus obtaining a cream to be kept in a container and kept in a cool place . Even dried tomato leaves can be used, mainly to prepare a decoction against urinary tract inflammation. In fact, in half a liter of cold water it is sufficient to pour a handful of dried leaves making them boil for about ten minutes. After waiting for the liquid to become lukewarm, add a few tablespoons of honey and strain it with the help of a sieve, crushing the leaves well. The product should be consumed within a day and benefits any type of intestinal inflammation. Tomato is one of the foods that should appear every day in the diet of a healthy person: it is, in fact, a concentrate of beneficial substances, from vitamin A to citric acid, from potassium to those, from phosphorus to selenium. It therefore seems superfluous to list recipes: in fact, tomato is widely used in all Italian homes. However, the advice is that when preparing a salad the salt must be added at the last moment to avoid making the freshly cut slices dry and crackle. Finally, an important tip is to cover the tomato plants on the terrace by creating a roof with a plastic sheet to prevent any residue of winter frost from burning in the maximum flowering period, thus affecting production.