There isn’t much I can tell you about growing tomatoes than what you might already know—they’re the most common garden plant in the world. My grandma and mom have dozens of plants—in planters, in the soil, in hanging baskets—and even I’ve grown a plant or two, if only to ensure I have enough fresh tomatoes for my favourite sandwich, the BLT.
So I thought I’d share some fun facts I learned by doing research for my “T” word in the A to Z Blogging Challenge.
There are more than 7,500 tomato varieties in the world, and while most are red, some of the fruit is orange, green, pink, black, brown or purple. That’s right, I said fruit. Even though the tomato was once thought to be a vegetable, botanically speaking, it can’t be because it has seeds and grows from a flowering plant. Cool, right?
Of course, tomatoes are an important ingredient for pasta and pizza sauce, but did you know that a long time ago, when people first started growing tomatoes, they were afraid to eat them—their tomato plants looked the same as those from the deadly nightshade family. Remember how I said they were related? Tomato plant leaves are actually toxic to humans.
During the 19th century, it was common practice to throw rotten tomatoes at bad actors during stage performances. Ew! And, the world’s largest tomato tree was grown in an experimental greenhouse at Walt Disney World resort. It produced 32,000 tomatoes in the first 16 months it was planted. That’s a lot of tomatoes!
Tomatoes are one of the most common—and easiest—plants to grow if you have the right growing conditions. I guess that is why astronauts are experimenting with taking tomato seeds into space. If we ever put a greenhouse on the moon, the astronauts would be able to grow some of their own food!
Tomato seeds aren’t the only seeds to go up into space, though. Years ago, Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk took 250,000 canola seeds into space to see the effects of anti-gravity on growing efficiency.
You can learn more about it in It’s a Blast!, the third book in the Chase “Superman” Duffy comic series. Comment below or on my social media links for a chance to WIN a signed copy.
Gotta jet! The A to Z Challenge is almost over—but the toughest letters are coming up! See “U” tomorrow! <grin>
— Chase Superman Duffy