The Tomato

It’s that time of year when gardeners plan their gardens, purchase their seeds, and look forward to the season ahead. Consider taking advantage of the last few weeks of winter to do a little bit of reading and gather some new ideas.

One book that might suggest a few improvements to try in your garden is The Tomato by Paul Work. This public domain resource takes a scientific approach to the topic of growing quality tomatoes in abundance, from seed to harvest, sifting through the research that was available in the day to suggest the best practices.

Nearly every chapter of The Tomato contains information that is insightful. The summary of varieties is still useful today. There is a great deal to be gleaned about the various methods of staking tomatoes. You may also find the findings on mulch to be somewhat surprising. And plenty of information is cited that will allow you to do your own research.

But do not think that this is a heavy work suitable only for the serious tomato specialist. Although it is geared toward commercial production, The Tomato is immensely readable. The author’s brimming enthusiasm for his topic will make the book a pleasure for any gardener.

While you can (and should) develop your own approach to tomato-growing adapted to your own circumstances, most notably environment and production needs, The Tomato will help you think through your growing method to find an optimal balance between quality and quantity.