There is nothing like a homegrown tomato! These tips on how to grow tomatoes from seed to harvest will help you grow your own.
Tomatoes seem to be a staple in just about any garden you walk into. Tomatoes are easy to grow, easy to harvest, and can be used in hundreds of ways. Just one tomato plant can yield upwards of 8 pounds of tomatoes, making them a plant that really gives you bang for your buck. If you are considering planting tomatoes this year, take a look below at these tips for how to grow tomatoes in your garden.
How to Grow Tomatoes
How to plant tomato seeds:
You will want to begin your seeds indoors if the growing season in your area is a short one. Plant your seeds in seed starters about 6 weeks prior to the final frost in your area. Always use a nutrient rich soil that drains well and is exposed to 6 hours or more of sunlight per day. Keep the seed starters damp, never dry, to help encourage growth.
How to transplant tomato seedlings:
Once your seedlings are ready to be transplanted, or if you are planting seedlings directly into the ground instead of seeds, make sure all threats of frost have passed. Again you need a nutrient rich soil that drains well and a spot that gets at least 6 hours of full sun per day.
You have many varieties to choose from when deciding what tomatoes you are planting. If you have ample space, larger varieties are perfect for you. Should you decide on a smaller space or a container garden, cherry tomatoes and miniature varieties are perfect. In fact, tomatoes are one of the best container garden plants you can grow, as they tend to flourish!
When planting your seedlings, be sure you plant them at a depth that is twice the length of the seedling’s root system. Don’t crowd your plants, instead, plant them about two feet apart. As the tomato plants grow, they will need this space to stretch.
How to care for tomato plant seedlings:
Once your tomato plants are in the ground, they will need some basic care. Begin by providing one inch of water per week, applied at the base of the plant. Avoid drenching the foliage with water, as it can lead to rot and mildew. Keeping mulch around the base of the plant will help keep the roots cool and help the plant retain moisture as well.
After your plants have been established for a few weeks, feel free to apply a food safe fertilizer to the base of the plants as well. If your foliage looks bright and strong, feel free to skip this step.
Pests can be a problem with tomato plants. Use a food safe preventative if pests seem to be a problem and remove any discolored or damaged greenery as you see it. Caterpillars and other critters love to climb on tomato plants and dine, so removing them by hand as soon as you see them can help. A light mist of water and Dawn dish soap is another way to keep pests at bay naturally.
How to harvest tomatoes:
You will know it is time to harvest your tomatoes when the color is bright red, the skin is tight and firm, and the tomato falls easily from the vine. Check your plants daily to remove tomatoes as you spot them, since leaving them on the vine for even a day too long can lead to rotting and bruising.
Store your tomatoes on the counter, as the cold from the refrigerator can actually speed of their deterioration process.
Whether you have a ton of growing space or just a single pot, tomatoes are a great plant for any gardener to enjoy. Give these tips a try and see what kind of crop you can produce.
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- Tips for Growing Heirloom Tomatoes
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Originally published on April 25, 2015. Updated on July 17, 2017.Yum