Truth or myth: Sugar and tomatoes

echquiltstormJuly 4, 2008

I read somewhere that if you put a cup of sugar in the hole when you are planting tomatoes, then the tomatoes will be sweeter. I did it last year, but being a novice I wouldn't know if it really worked. I realized I forgot to do it this year and wondered if it really made the difference?

What do you think?

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macheske(6/7 NorthernVA)

I think someone is feeding you intersting information. My sungolds are very sweet and I didn't add any sugar.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 8:41PM
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dangould

Just have a good laugh and ignore it.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 9:13PM
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justaguy2(5)

Sugar can increase biological activity in the soil. This is good and bad. Good in that the biology will liberate more nutrients, but bad in that there will be less left in reserve for the next crop.

In no case is there any credible science backing the idea that sugar in the planting hole makes the fruit sweeter. A bit healthier? Perhaps. Sweeter due to sugar? Nope.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 9:16PM
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aulani

Save your sugar in the planting hole and sprinkle some on the tomato itself to reduce acid if you have a tummy acid problem. Not much sugar, just a little. I find that about mid season, after I've eaten my weight in tomatoes, that my tummy starts to get a bit upset with all the acid. Sugar reduces it.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2008 at 10:11PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)

echquiltsorm,
Nope, sugar in the soil won't somehow travel up the plant into the tomatoes. It might affect the soil activity, as justaguy says. But if you want sweet tomatoes, grow sweet varieties. (Look at the descriptions and avoid words like "bite" and "old=fashioned tomato taste" and look for "sweet" and "mild" and "low-acid" (they probably aren't really low acid, since almost all tomatoes have the same pH, but those with more sugar often TASTE less acidic).

Sungolds, like macheske has, are the sweetest known---lovely little organe things you can pop like candies! We dry them and use them like dried figs or apricots.

aulani,
Sugar will reduce the acidic *flavour* by adding a sweet flavour, but it won't reduce the actual acidity level in the tomato. Sugar isn't basic so it won't react with the acid to raise pH.

On the other hand, if adding a little sugar helps your tummy feel better, no reason not to do it!

Zabby

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 11:01AM
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james-in-lapine

echquiltstorm
I read somewhere that if you put a cup of sugar in the hole when you are planting tomatoes, then the tomatoes will be sweeter.

My Grandmother and Great Grandmother used 1 table spoon of sugar per gallon of water just before they harvested their tomatoes. I did a search on the net for "how to grow sweeter tomatoes using sugar" and found nothing to support that it worked. I did find a Canadian trial that used 1/4 seawater per (imperial) gallon that did get some added sweetness in the lab. They said it was most likely "due to plant stress from the salt". I will try and find it again if you would like the link

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 1:26PM
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