Grow Great Tomatoes in Your Own Garden Grow Great Tomatoes in Your Own Garden
For most of us fresh, garden tomatoes are a true summer treat and since tomatoes are relatively easy to grow, there's no reason you can't enjoy tomatoes from your own garden. Here's some tips on how to grow great tomatoes in your own garden.
Just like in real estate, location is important
- Tomatoes are originally from the tropics so they love heat and sun. Pick a spot in your garden where your tomato plants will get at least 6 to 8 hours of sun a day. While tomatoes will grow in partial sun, your yield and perhaps more important, the flavor won't be as good.
- As with any growing plant, tomatoes need proper soil to prosper. Build good gardening soil by using a balanced fertilizer program along with lots of organic matter such as compost . The compost will help your soil retain moisture while adding nutrients and improving soil tilth (air space in the soil).
- Adding calcium (crushed egg shells, Epsom salt, calcium carbonate) to your soil will also help your tomatoes grow strong and disease free.
Choosing and planting your tomatoes
- There are many different varieties of tomatoes, so if you're just starting out, get some advice from the folks at your garden center on the types of tomatoes that grow best in your climate zone and will give the tomatoes you want (small salad tomatoes, large sandwich sized ones).
- When purchasing your seedlings,choose plants with a thick stem that hasn't grown long and tall, green in color (no yellow) and no signs of disease.
- Planting your tomatoes deep in the ground will force them to create a strong root structure. You can even lay the plants horizontally leaving just the top part of plant protruding. The stem will form roots and over time the plant will right itself and reach for the sun.
Remember tomatoes like warmth
- When growing tomatoes, soil temperature is actually more important than air temperature so you can help get your tomato plants off the a good start by warming the soil before you do any planting.
- Spreading some sheets of black plastic on your garden for a few days before planting your tomatoes will help raise the soil temperature and give your new seedlings a "warm" welcome to their new home.
- Help keep the plant's roots warm while it's growing by placing a rock close to the base. The rock will absorb heat during the warmth of the day then give it up slowly during the night, keeping the roots warm.
Take care of your tomatoes
- Your tomatoes will need lots of water while growing, so you need to water them regularly.
- Water close to the ground and avoid getting too much water on the plant's leaves. Soaker hoses or drip irrigations systems work well for getting moisture to the roots while avoiding the leaves.
Pick your tomatoes when they turn red and leave them to ripen on the vine until night temperatures start to fall below 60° F. Enjoy.
Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer whose work has appeared on numerous web sites, as well as in newspapers and books in both the US and Canada. He has been quoted as an expert on home related topics in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal.