Tomatoes are undoubtedly the most popular home gardening fruit (yes; tomatoes are a fruit). And why wouldn’t it? Tomatoes aren’t just for salads. In fact, I hardly ever use them for that purpose. I like growing them to make sauces, making salsa, canning, and sun drying them for tasty, healthy snacks. I started about seven tomato plants about a month ago and have gone back and forth growing them outdoors on warm, sunny days and indoors at night under grow lights to extend the number of hours of UV light they get to accelerate their growth. Due to demand, I’ve compiled this overview of how to plant tomatoes.
What Tomatoes Need
Tomatoes are pretty easy as gardening goes. But there’s a few things to keep in mind in order to achieve the best-tasting fruits and highest yields. They like to be planted with lots of organic material, including compost. Plant your seeds indoors and plan for housing them for about 6-8 weeks from now, when most areas are warming up for spring that there’s little chance of frost. I like feeding them with E.B. Stone Tomato and Vegetable Food about once a month. They need a full day of sun and like the heat, but it’s good to note that tomatoes temporarily stop producing flowers during prolonged periods where temps are over 90 degrees.
Keep the roots protected and hydrated by adding a thick layer of mulch. This year I’m using a bale of alfalfa hay for mulch. The hay keeps the soil cool and the light color reflects the light instead of absorbing it. The hay also breaks down well and adds nitrogen to the soil over time.
If you’re growing in containers, be sure to check moisture daily, as you will more than likely have to water them more frequently. And remember, the larger the pot, the more prolific the fruit.
For a complete overview of planting tomatoes, click here.
Suggestions of Seed Varieties to Grow:
Organic Heirloom Seed Collection
So what do you say? Ready to take on the tomato-growing challenge?