Written by Krisy Goodwin
Pomme d’amour or ‘Love Apple’ is what the French call a Tomato. The French believed that indulging in this luscious red ‘fruit’ (or is it ‘vegetable’??… more on that later) would make whoever was eating the pomme d’amour, excuse the pun ‘ripe’ for love, acting as an aphrodisiac.
Tomatoes were ordered on romantic dates by the French, as oysters are here.
Who knew that the humble, seemingly boring tomato had such a romantic history!
A short explanation of why tomatoes are both a fruit and a vegetable. The botanical classification for a fruit, is that it has at least one seed and grows from the flower of the plant, this would make a tomato a fruit. A botanist would classify vegetables as having edible parts e.g.: leaves stems and roots, you can’t eat any of these on a tomato.
A chef or you or I would classify the tomato as a vegetable based on how it tastes and what
it’s used for. Tomatoes are generally not used in desserts, but in savoury dishes thus to us it is called a vegetable.
Growing Love Apple’s in SE Queensland
Tomatoes in SE Queensland can be grown all year round, though will need some wind and sun
protection in the middle of summer.
Tomatoes like a well-prepared soil, so give them plenty of rotted animal manure. Sheep manure
is especially good as it contains phosphorus and potassium. A soil pH between 6.5 and 7.2 is
needed. If you haven’t got one already, you can pick up a soil tester at any good garden supply
store. Add lime if your pH is too high!
After digging the hole I like to add a handful of blood and bone and a dusting of gypsum to help
combat fungal problems like blossom end rot.
Over the years I have heard of all sorts of things to put in your prepared tomato hole from a whole
broken egg, or a piece of raw liver and Epsom salts to name a few. Give them a go! It can’t hurt!
I have tried two of these, but I’m never sure if it’s the new additions or my usual preparation that
makes for good tomatoes. Put in stakes to support your tomato before planting. Indeterminate
tomatoes like Heirlooms, will need tall strong supports. Determinates like your Roma tomatoes
don’t grow tall but will still need support.
When placing your tomato seedling/plant in the hole make sure you plant it as deep as it will go
as the fine hairs on the stem will send out more roots making for a strong, well supported plant.
Remove a few of the lower older leaves if you need to, back fill gently but firmly around the plant,
then water in well to eliminate air pockets around the roots. Support the plant with tomato rings or
ties as it grows.
Fertilise your tomatoes weekly with an organic liquid fertilizer and water regularly, not letting the
ground dry out or be too wet. Don’t wet the leaves and keep the lower leaves pruned so as not to
touch the ground, as this will quickly cause fungal disease. If you don’t want to share with the birds
and insects at this time of year net your plants giving lots of room for plant growth.
Companion plants for Tomatoes: Basil, parsley, borage, chives, marigolds, garlic, squash, alyssum,
onions, beans & mint.
Contact me for any garden questions you may have at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Companion plants for Tomatoes:
I love you from my head tomatoes.” – unknown