Tomatoes are easy to grow and are becoming a more and more popular crop. A couple of tomato plants will keep you in fresh tomatoes all summer long. Since now is the time to start sowing them, we have compiled our top 10 list of interesting facts about the tomato.
- Tomatoes originally came from Peru, where their Aztec name translated to plump thing with a navel.
- The scientific name for tomato is Lycopersicon lycopersicum meaning wolf peach.
- People used to be afraid to eat tomatoes, thinking them poisonous due to their relation to the belladonna or (deadly nightshade) plant.
- Tomatoes increase in weight as they ripen, even after harvesting
- Tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene which is important for the health of the prostate gland in men.
- They were first brought to Europe in the mid 1500s
- The first tomatoes in Europe were yellow varieties, the Italian for tomato is pomodoro and translates to golden apple.
- A tomato is a fruit. The confusion arose after the 1890s when the US supreme court named them a vegetable for taxation purposes. A fruit is the edible part of the plant containing seeds, a vegetable is stem, leaf or root.
- There is no mention of tomatoes in either the bible or in the complete works of shakespeare.
- 600,000 tomato seeds traveled to the International Space Station and back before being grown in school classrooms all over Canada as part of the ‘Tomatosphere III’ experiment.
- There are over 10,000 varieties of tomato, these come in a variety of colours including pink, purple, black, yellow and white.
A full list of seeds and growing equipment for tomato plants is available here at the tomato shop.