Take the Organic Tomato Quiz!

How much do you know about growing organic tomatos?

1. True or False? Tomatoes are fruits, not vegetables.

2. For longest shelf life and optimal quality, you should store your organic tomatoes
A. In the refrigerator at 35-40oF
B. On the kitchen counter at 55 to 70oF
C. On top of the refrigerator at 75-85oF

3. Determinate tomatoes
A. Produce all season long and are useful if you want a steady harvest of tomatoes.
B. Have fruit that tends to ripen all at once and are often used for canning.
C. Are male plants that produce very little fruit.

4. Which organic tomato growing system gives you the earliest harvests and the largest fruit size?
A. Trellising with string and/or wire
B. Tomato Cages
C. No support system, vines left to sprawl along the ground.

5. True or false. Smokers need to make sure to wash their hands before touching tomato plants in order to help them stay disease-free.
A. True
B. False

6. Which of the following is NOT the name of an heirloom tomato variety
A. Black Krim
B. Mortgage Lifter
C. Sun Gold
D. Pruden's Purple

7. When you grow tomatoes in your organic garden, the biggest problem that you are likely to encounter with them is:
A. their being devoured by insect pests
B. their being devoured by tomato-craving neighbors
C. their becoming infected by various diseases


1. True. According to the California Tomato Comission, the tomato is, botanically speaking, a monstrously sized berry. "Culinary vernacular" refers to it as a vegetable.

2. B. At temperatures below 55oF, tomatoes actually become damaged and lose quality.

3. B. Determinate tomatoes have a narrow time period during which their fruit ripens. Many processing tomatoes are determinate. Tomatoes that bear fruit all season long are known as indeterminate.

4. A. According to a study at Oklahoma State University, trellised tomatoes ripen earlier in the season, are larger and have fewer pest problems than their sprawling and/or cage-grown counterparts.

5. True. Tobacco in cigarettes may contain tobacco mosaic virus, a serious plant disease that also infects tomatoes.

6. C. Heirloom tomatoes are open-pollinated tomatoes that have been around for many years, whether they were commercially introduced (before 1940 or so) or passed down in families from generation to generation. Sun Gold is a relatively new variety of tomato and it is a hybrid. This means that seeds planted from its fruit won't grow up true to type.

7. C. Tomatoes are subject to many viral, bacterial and fungal diseases. Planting tomato varieties that are disease resistant in your organic garden will help you have healthy plants and get great harvests.

6 or 7 correct answers--Totally Tomato. You must be the biggest organic tomato expert in your neighborhood. Congratulations!

3-5 correct answers-- Tiny Tomato. You're off to a great organic tomato-growing start, but still haven't made your way to the top of the tomato heap!

0-2 correct answers-- Green Tomato. Well, at least they're good fried. . . Learn more by reading and growing and you'll be on your way up the Tomato Tower! Check our our Tomato Breeding article!

For More Information:

Learn more about organic tomato growing research

California Tomato Commission site contains tomato recipes and facts. It's slow to load, so dial-up users may want to disable the images.
See Also:
There's a Goosefoot in my Garden
It's Easy to Grow Great Garlic
How Does Your Garden Grow Part One: Getting to Know Your Soil
Bountiful Basil

Digg! digg it

Tammy Biondi has been growing organic produce for over 10 years. Besides running Blue Horizon Farm, Tammy teaches about sustainable farming at the Central Carolina Community College. She also is a successful freelance writer, focusing on agricultural topics. Contact her at tammy@bluehorizonfarm.com.