How to Grow Tomatoes

growing tomatoes

How to Grow Tomatoes

Growing tomatoes is not hard, but there are some things to learn. Tomatoes are amongst the most popular plants in the garden. To grow the best tomatoes you need to prepare the soil and provide the proper nutrients and care. When growing tomatoes you’ve probably come across cracked, brown, or bruised looking tomatoes, and other problems. Sometimes these problems are caused by poor soil quality, lack of water, and lack of minerals such calcium.

Growing Tomatoes

Just like most plants, tomatoes will thrive with a lot of manure and compost added into the soil. A good time to add manure is at the end of the season. When the season is over remove the plants and lay down many pounds of manure where ever you will be growing tomatoes the next season. Over the winter and early spring this manure will rot and get filled with all sorts of beneficial worms and bacteria. After the last frost date you can turn in some compost with that manure. It is a good idea to buy some calcium to add into the soil.

Some tomato plants are determinate and others are indeterminate. Determinate tomato plants will produce their crop all at once, whereas indeterminate tomatoes will produce all during the season. This is very important when determining which types of tomatoes you want. If you’re going to can your tomatoes determinate tomatoes will be no problem for you.

On your tomato plants you will notice shoots growing from in between where the stem and branches meet. These are called “tomato suckers” and they will waste the plants energy as they don’t produce tomatoes, so you will want to pinch those off as soon as possible.

Tomato Varieties

Here are a some tomato varieties, and a link to purchase the tomato seeds:

Sweetie Tomato: A sweet tasting cherry tomato variety.
Beefsteak Tomato: Great for slicing, soups, and sauces.
Roma Tomato: Few seeds and meaty interior. Good for slicing and canning.

Canadians can purchase tomato seeds here.

tomato plant

Staking Tomato Plants

It’s very important to have a sturdy support cage for your plants. Your tomatoes will grow quickly so make sure to give it support as soon as you plant it. After you plant them, make a mound of soil at the base of the plant and dig a moat around it to collect the water. This will be a more efficient use of water and will make sure your tomatoes are being well watered each time.

When buying tomato plants from nurseries you may find that your plant is tall and not very sturdy looking. An easy solution to make sure your tomato plant will stand tall and sturdy is to bury the plant up to just below where the leaves start. The stem will eventually produce roots and you will have a strong health tomato plant.

How to Grow Tomatoes From Seed

Start your tomatoes 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date. Start the seed in pots filled with sterilized potting soil and sow the seed 1 cm or .5 inch deep. Water the soil until it is moist but not soggy and make sure the soil never dries out before the seeds sprout. Place them in a sunny location in your house. When the last frost date passes you can transplant them outside 45 cm to 18” apart.

Growing Tomatoes in Containers

The larger the container you use for your tomato the bigger the plant will grow. Tomatoes need a strong root system to support it’s growth and production of tomatoes, so make sure you use the largest container possible. Add rich compost in the soil with calcium. Since you are using a container you will have to use a slow release fertilizer to get the best results.

Tomato Infographic

tomatoes infographic
Image Credit: Sproutabl.com.

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