The National Gardening Association has found that, among vegetable gardeners, tomatoes are their favorite plant to grow. One in three Americans have a vegetable garden, and 9 out of 10 of those gardens have tomatoes in them. Tomatoes range in size from gigantic beefsteak tomatoes that can weigh up to a half-pound, to the smallest cherry tomato about the size of a marble. You can grow heavy-yielding hybrids or open-pollinated heirloom varieties in different colors, shades, and sizes. You can choose early varieties that set fruit when it's cool outside, mid-season varieties, and late-maturing varieties that will give you the biggest fruits but take 80 to 90 days to do it. Sometimes you'll need about 120 days to get a decent harvest, but hey, at least you get tomatoes! Tomatoes are so versatile and so good. You can cook them a million different ways or you can eat them, sun-warmed and delicious, straight off the vine. Some people grab a cherry tomato, a leaf of basil, and a slice of mozzarella cheese, and eat them like that. Welcome to the world of tomato gardening. There's nothing as sweet and good as a sun-warmed tomato fresh from the garden on a hot summer afternoon. It's no wonder that tomatoes are the most popular vegetable in America (though botanically, tomatoes are a fruit). Cordell's book walks you through the steps in raising tomatoes - through starting tomato seeds, planting (and tricks for planting tomatoes early), and staking and caging tomatoes. Readers learn how to fight off diseases and insect pests, decipher the mysterious letters on a tomato tag, how to harvest tomatoes, and how to dry, can, or freeze tomatoes for next year. With plenty of information for advanced gardeners, ready help for beginning gardeners, lots of expert knowledge, and a smidgeon of wit, If You're a Tomato will guide you in the ways of the vegetable garden with a minimum of fuss and feathers. And also with a minimum of weeding. Nobody likes weeding.
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