ANGLETON — Various tomatoes, some golden-colored and the size of cherries, others as big as tennis balls, were the subjects of interest for a group of people who walked by, tasting each selection and deciding which varieties tasted the best, part of “Tomato Celebration.”
Through Brazoria County AgriLife Horticulture and Brazoria County Master Gardeners, “Tomato Celebration” at the Brazoria Environmental Education Station (BEES Garden Center) had a class group taste and rate select tomato varieties grown by Brazoria County Master Gardeners.
With his seminar on tomato culture, Brazoria County Horticulture Extension Agent Stephen Brueggerhoff said he hopes those interested in gardening and growing their own fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, can walk away feeling more knowledgeable.
The talk is geared toward getting people to eat healthier, Brueggerhoff said.
“What we are trying to do is affect people at the home base,” he said. “We are trying to explore and improve folks’ eating habits through nutrition, but introducing that kind of concept through tomatoes.”
In his presentation, Brueggerhoff provided tips to a class of about 25 on growing the ripest, most plump tomatoes, such as making sure tomatoes get six hours of sunlight daily.
He also warned the class against tomato disorders, such as growth cracks, Brueggerhoff said. Growth cracks happens when tomato plants get too much water too fast.
People at the event were introduced to different tomatoes varieties such as Big Beef, Bush Beefsteak and Cherry Grande, Brueggerhoff said.
“I think it’s a plant that we are all familiar with,” he said. “Sometimes it’s as subtle as spaghetti sauce. I think it all starts with us when we are as children.”
Tomatoes are in a lot of the foods people consume so learning more about what makes tomatoes so healthy, like how they are a good source of vitamin A, is beneficial, Brueggerhoff said.
“It’s a very familiar fruit,” he said. “It’s something that we all recognize and take pride in, especially when we grow the plants. It’s a plant that’s easy to work with.”
Gardening and growing any kinds of fruits or vegetables, not just tomatoes, is all about a sense of pride, Brueggerhoff said.
He felt the class gave him insightful tips he could implement in his garden, Angleton resident Corey Cotten said.
“A lot of the stuff,” he said. “I was asking about the diseases and the bug control.”
Cotten has a little patio with about 10 tomato plants already blooming, he said.
He’s had an interest in gardening from a young age, Cotten said.
“My grandpa, when I was young, I remember going out in the garden with him,” he said.
It’s a blessing to be able to create life, Cotten said.
“You are taking something from the seed,” he said. “Plus, it’s relaxing.”
In the future, he now has contact information from the Master Gardeners in case he needs more advice, Cotten said.
It ultimately is about getting people who are already passionate in gardening and taking that passion to the next step, Brueggerhoff said.
“We are trying to get people to improve their gardening habits,” he said.