Why are my homegrown tomatoes bitter?

When you grow your own tomatoes at home you’re looking forward to that amazing flavor, but sometimes that just doesn’t come and you’re probably on this page as you’re asking yourself “why are my tomatoes bitter?

You may have grown the fabled San Marzano to make a homemade pizza sauce or you may just be growing some cherry tomatoes for toppings and salads, but either way it’s not great if they taste bitter.

Once the growing season is over you will have these delightfully colored tomatoes, but if they look amazing but taste terrible then it’s a complete waste which is what happened to me when I grew my Sun Gold and Golden Crown variety cherry tomatoes.

Having a look around the internet it’s come up with some possible explanations such as too much rain, poor soil, low temperature, amongst other things. The fact is that I just transferred the plants to the soil and didn’t add any extra nutrients plus it’s been cold and wet so I’ve probably had the perfect combination to have a poor crop.

My poor planning resulted in a failure and so if you want to get great tasting crops then you need to think to think about several factors:

  • Soil quality
  • Drainage
  • Temperature (controlled with a greenhouse or polytunnel)
  • Sunlight
  • Plant feed

In the past I’ve used growbags and I guess that’s taken care of any issues and it may be that next year I do the same just to be on the safe side plus it saves on space for growing other pizza favourites such as onions.

Try and give the plants lots of sunshine as it will allow them to produce the carbohydrates that are turned into sugars and acids which will give each tomato variety it’s unique flavour. Get that wrong and you can end up with bitter or sour tomatoes.

Tomatoes aren’t a hard crop to grow, but they do need a little thinking about, so do some planning, get some compost in your ground, give the plants some extra feed, and you’ll have some amazing tomatoes for pizza sauce and toppings.

Adem Djemil
Hey. I’m Adem and I'm the founder of Pizza Oven Club. I built my first brick pizza oven in 2016 and have been eating amazing wood-fired pizza ever since!