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Wisconsin State Horticultural Society / Annual report of the Wisconsin State Horticultural Society for the year 1910
Volume XL, Part II (1910)

Rasmussen, N. A.
The tomato,   pp. 166-170 PDF (1.1 MB)


Page 167

)A INTER MEETIN G.
at least a century after the tomato was familiar to botanists and
gardeners it was very sparingly cuitivated, and when grown at
all, was used chiefy as an ornamental plant. Its cultivation
was, therefore, markedly delayed, and it was not until alter the
strong prejudice that the tomato was poisonous was broken
down, that its use became general. Ihe cultivation of the to-
mato in England and the United States came much later than
it did in the countries bordering the Aiediterranean. Climatic
conditions undoubtedly had much to do with this. Because of
the warm climate and otherwise favorable conditions existing
in the Mediterranean countries the tomato flourished there.
In England, however, because of the comparatively short season
and small amount of heat during the growing period, the culti-
vation of this plant gained slowly. Even now the cultivation
of the tomato in Great Britain is chiefly confined to house and
protected walls. In the United States, after the plant was once
introduced and its poisonous effects were discredited, its cul-
tivation grew rapidly, and now we find it among the most gen-
erally cultivated of our garden vegetables. As before stated,
the tomato is of American origin. The exact location from which
the plants first carried to Europe were secured is not definitely
known, but historical evidence indicates that these plants were
taken from Peru.
Whether they came from Peru or from China, they are here
in Wisconsin and are here to stay. They are very extensively
used by all classes of people and for the two reasons following,
they may be rightly named "Poor man's fruit". First, they
may be bought very cheap in comparison with other fruit; sec-
ond, if a man has a piece of land 1 ft. square, he may grow them.
One square foot of land is large enough for the root and the
top may be tied to a stake or a fence or it may be trained to
the side of a house where it will be ornamental as well as use-
ful. Three plants handled in this way will supply a family with
plenty of choice fruit for the table. As poor men are very
numerous in Wisconsin, especially among the horticulturists, l t
us, poor men, continue to raise and improve this fruit. I may
as well add right here that when President Taft's committee
gets around investigating the cause of the high prices of food
stuffs they surely will find no fault with tomatoes at 50c per
bushel, which at this price brings good profit to the grower.
Let us hope in the 25 years to come they will be improved
167


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