All tomatoes are not the same.(40453)Credit: Photo by Jane Gates

Tomatoes are arguably the most popular edibles grown in the home garden. All vegetables taste much better and are more nourishing when fresh picked from the garden. But the flavor and texture of home-grown tomatoes offer some of the most noticeable differences from store-purchased fruit. (Yes, they are considered 'fruits'.)  Organic tomatoes are expensive to buy – if you can find them. Growing your own  is easy since you can avoid pesticides and feed with only natural organic plant foods, so growing organically  is no more difficult than using chemicals – and it's likely cheaper.

There are so many different varieties of tomato that you can grow all sizes, shapes and colors of these plants. Different cultivars have different habits of growth from ramblers, tall growers, medium bushes and even cascading varieties that are conveniently suited to hanging baskets. But with all these choices there are some that are remarkably different.

One new introduction in the world of edibles are the 'Tomaccio' tomatoes. If you like the unique flavor of sun-dried fruits, this plant allows you to grow dried tomatoes right on the vine. Although the fruits are perfectly tasty when ripe and can be plucked off to eat fresh, if you leave them on the plant after they turn red, they will dry perfectly and you can pick your own vine-ripened sun-dried goodies directly off the living branches.

Another way to grow tomatoes with a twist is to grow them topsy-turvy. Upside down tomatoes are becoming the fashion statement in growing vegetables and fruits. These pre-potted plants can be hung from any area that gets full sun and most will fruit quite well without taking up much space. Whether you will grow any vegetable or fruit better this way is debatable, but the advantage is that they are cared for conveniently and that they take up so little space you can even grow them on a patio, balcony or even a sunny doorway --  without needing a vegetable garden.

Sometimes the old becomes the new. Heirloom tomatoes are becoming more popular every year. Many people will swear that this is not only a way to grow tomatoes with a difference, but the only way to grow them. Heirloom vegetables are varieties that have been carefully, but naturally pollinated to grow true to form. They have been proven over time and most have excellent flavors and growing traits – the reason they've been grown over and over again, over time. There are many choices in heirloom tomatoes and there’s bound to be at least one that's perfect for your taste. There are so many sizes and shapes as well as color combinations to choose from, you can even grow these plants as ornamentals in your garden.

Look for your favorite tomato in giant size, tiny grape size or something in between. Grow your own tomatoes in purple, red, orange, yellow, green striped, spotted, or a combination of colors and blends. And keep an eye open for that special variety will be perfect for you to grow.