Want to know the secrets to growing plump and juicy tomatoes right in your garden? Help yourself to these smart tips for growing tomatoes budding gardeners are sure to appreciate!
Tips For Growing Tomatoes You Can Be Proud Of
Imagine freshly-picked sun-ripened tomatoes from your garden straight to your favorite tomato recipes. I tell you, nothing beats that so I always keep a few tomato plants in my garden. Tomatoes were one of the first vegetables I learned to cultivate and I have been growing them ever since. Although tomatoes are some of the easiest edible plants to grow, it can be quite tricky at times and I've got my own hits and misses. Now I've learned a few tricks and I'm sure you could use these nifty tips for growing tomatoes too!
1. Avoid Crowding Tomato Seedlings
Luckily, tomatoes transplant well and while the seeds can be sown closely, the seedlings will need more space as they grow. To maximize growth, transplant seedlings which have grown sets of true leaves in individual pots. This will give them plenty of room to branch out and no rival for the plant nutrients in the soil, thus ensuring optimum growth.
2. Pick A Sunny, Open Area
Tomato is a summer crop which requires 10 hours of direct sunlight to grow properly and ripen naturally. Even the soil has to be warm enough to grow tomatoes outdoors directly in the ground. You can cover the plant bed with a plastic mulch to trap the heat. This will warm and prepare the soil for transplanting especially for spring growing. Sufficient space is also essential for proper ventilation to help avoid plant diseases.
3. Try Growing More Than One Variety
There are 7, 500 tomato varieties to be exact and your garden should have room for 3 or 4 variety, at least. Growing different tomato varieties will help you pick an ideal one for your area and a favorite. You can collect seeds from the best and mature fruits for increased viability. This will allow you, in turn, to grow better varieties each time.
4. Give Tomatoes A Sturdy Support
Tomatoes are a vine plant with varied growth height in different varieties. Unlike other vine plants, tomato fruits have soft skin which needs to be continually kept above ground. Moderate to strong winds can knock over a tomato plant easily so it's advisable to secure them to a support. Use tall canes or a trellis for vine varieties and tomato cages for bushes.
5. Plant Deeply
You probably feel like you're drowning your tomato by planting it this deep, but you're actually doing your plant a big favor. When planted shallow, tomatoes tend to develop roots above ground. So you might as well get those roots working for your plant underground. Transplant month-old seedlings outdoors making sure the lower leaves in the stem to be buried are pinched off.
6. Hold Off On Mulching
Mulching has a lot of benefits, but in the case of tomatoes, you might want to delay it a bit until the soil has become warm. That is, if you're using organic mulch instead of plastic. Plastic mulch helps warm the soil but if you plan to grow other plants with tomatoes, you'll just have to take it off.
7. Tomatoes Could Use Companions
It's best to grow tomatoes organically as you're more likely to prepare and eat them fresh. Tomatoes can be a favorite for pests but growing them with ideal or companion plants can help eliminate this problem. Plant basil with tomatoes to draw white flies to it rather than the tomatoes. Other great companion plants for tomatoes are nasturtiums and the trusty marigold.
8. Pinch and Prune
Suckers are extra growth in tomatoes which can have pros and cons. If you want more fruits even if they're smaller, you can leave them to grow and produce more flowers. But if you want larger fruits you can pinch the suckers right off. This will help the plant devote all its energy to developing larger fruits. Or you can have both options as a fun experiment. You also need to watch out for yellowing and rotten leaves to prune so they don't spread to the rest of the plant.
9. Water Deeply And Consistently
Deep yet infrequent watering will force the roots to spread and look for other water sources, thus strengthening the root system. Never water the plant as tomatoes hate getting wet but target the soil and a soaker hose watering system is just perfect for this. Lessening the water once your plant starts bearing fruits will help concentrate sugar in the fruits for better flavor. It will also help prevent the fruits from developing cracks.
10. Give Tomatoes A Hand To Set
Depending on the variety, tomatoes flower and set at different times but eventually, they will do. Once your plant starts developing flowers, you can give the plant a gentle shake once in a while to aid in pollination. You can even manually pollinate tomatoes, if you have the extra patience, by using a small brush and to brush the pollen off of each flower.
Watch this video to get more tricks and tips for growing tomatoes:
Tomatoes are such well-loved vegetables, you should start learning how to grow tomatoes in your garden. You'll be amazed at how much you'll be saving with the great favor you're doing yourself. You get to eat healthy and tasty tomatoes for free. Don't you worry about a horde of harvest when you can juice, puree, and can tomatoes? And here's one extra juicy tip for growing tomatoes, there's money in tomatoes if you get what I mean!
Do you have tips for growing tomatoes you wish to add? I'd be glad to hear all about it in your comments below.
Learn how to grow lettuce this spring to prepare your plant bed for growing tomatoes once the soil is warm. Lettuce are great planting companion for tomatoes you know!
Feature image source via Design Build Pros