Tomato fruit can be eaten raw or cooked and is used in many dishes. The fruit may also be processed into juice, soup, ketchup, puree, paste or powder.
The plant can be erect with short stems or vine-like with long, spreading stems. The stems are covered in coarse hairs and the leaves are arranged spirally. The tomato plant produces yellow flowers, which can develop into a cyme of 3–12, and usually a round fruit (berry) which is fleshy, smoothed skinned and can be red, pink, purple, brown, orange or yellow in color.
Tomatoes grow very well in warm areas at temperatures between 21 and 24°C (69.8–75.2°F). They require a deep, loamy, well-draining soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.8. If soil drainage is a problem then tomatoes can be planted in a raised bed. Like all fruiting plants, tomatoes require full sun for most of the day.
Water plants lightly at base instead of overhead as wet foliage is more prone to diseases and the buried stem needs time to adapt and sprout roots. It is important that tomato plants receive even watering to prevent the development of blossom end rot, drip or soaker hoses work best and mulching around the plants helps to conserve soil moisture.