If you want to grow the healthiest and most delicious tomato plants you possibly can this gardening season, there are just a few things to help ensure better tomato harvest.
All gardeners plant lots and lots of tomatoes, right? Well, at least the vast majority of us do. If you want to grow the healthiest and most delicious tomatoes you possibly can this gardening season, there are just a few things to help ensure better chance of success.
There are a few very easy-to-do tomato growing tips you can use to consistently grow bumper crops of ripe, juicy tomatoes, and get the best tomato harvest ever.
Decide whether growing in containers or in the ground is best for your situation.
Make sure you select a bright and well ventilated, airy location for your tomatoes. Your tomato plants should receive at least 10 hours of full sun in the summer. Also, make sure you have enough room between your tomato plants to provide for adequate air circulation.
To see more on how to grow tomatoes in pots, read the post here. Three great container tomato varities are shared!
Make sure you plant deep for the best possible results.
Burying the stem of the tomato plants allows the plant to sprout new roots which will help improve strength and vitality. This also provides better absorption of the nutrients your tomato plants need to grow faster and healthier. To do this, remove the bottom sets of leaves and bury the stem up to just below the bottom of the remaining leaves.
You can also plant your tomato plants horizontally in a long trench with just the top leafy part exposed. The plant will correct itself and start growing up vs. along the ground. Doing this will help your tomato plants establish the strongest root structure possible, because all those little fibers along the plant stem are little roots waiting to develop.
Testing your soil is important for proper growth for your tomato plants. Whether you take a sample of your soil to a nearby gardening or home improvement center that offers lab testing, or you purchase a DIY pH level testing kit, this step is crucial.
After you discern your ground’s alkaline and acidity levels, you can add the appropriate soil amendments to reach the recommended 6.0 – 6.8 pH for tomatoes. Adding in compost can help balance some of the levels, as well as chicken manure tea or crushed egg shells.
Trick your young plants into being stronger by plucking the first flowers that appear.
This allows your tomato plants to grow more extensive root systems, as well as a mature and developed leaf canopy, before any fruit is produced. You should also pull off any suckers, which are the little offshoots of the main stem below your first fruit-producing branch.
Use cages or fencing to grow your tomatoes vertically.
When you allow tomato vines to lay on the ground, your plants are much more susceptible to pests and diseases. When you provide a stake or cage, these garden dangers have a harder time attacking your plants.
Sprawling vines also take up valuable space in your garden, and the backbreaking process of bending over to harvest the fruit is no fun, either.
When your plants are setting fruit, and the first fruit of the season begins to appear, add organic compost, either your own or store bought.
This will encourage new, healthy growth in your tomato plants and a bigger tomato harvest. Scratch compost into the ground around the stem, and at the same time, trim a few of the upper leaves on each plant.
Be sure to continue to water deeply each week, allowing for up to 1 inch of water each time to soak into the soil. This will help with setting fruit, and keeping the plant strong.
Whatever variety of tomato seedlings you plant,consider planting new tomato plants three weeks after your original plants are planted.
This will extend your growing season and guarantees that if you run into any weather or pest problems, you are still sure to enjoy multiple, healthy harvests. This means you won’t need to harvest and use your entire crop at once, and you can enjoy a fresh garden tomato harvest longer in the season!
This rotation system is also a great way to enjoy different tomato varieties, and have fresh ripe tomatoes for every purpose!
Harvesting your tomatoes is fairly easy, too.
When the fruit is ready, you can gently pull the fruit off the vine by twisting. Alternatively, you can take a pair of scissors and snip just above the blossom end on the vine.
You can pick green tomatoes for a delicious fried green tomato recipe. Or you can allow your tomatoes to continue to ripen to a deep red, orange, or yellow, depending on variety. Simply place them on the counter, or in a sunny windowsill and they will continue to ripen. If you have a lot of tomatoes to ripen, you can also place them in a tightly closed paper bag for 2-3 days.
Fresh picked tomatoes are great sliced on sandwiches and burgers, or season with bit of salt and olive oil and enjoy the way they are!
What are some of your favorite gardening tips for growing the best tomatoes?