Growing Vegetables

DOs and DON’Ts of Tomato Growing

There are numerous gardening tips and tricks you can use to improve the quality of your vegetables and other plants. Since tomatoes are among the most popular plants to grow and probably the most popular vegetable grown in the gardens, it’s not surprising there are numerous tips and tricks on how to grow tomatoes successfully and with best results.

DOs for Growing Tomatoes

Here are some essential tips on what to do when growing tomatoes:

  • Make sure to always plant the transplants very deep. This is essential for developing a good root system. The stronger the roots, the more productive the plant will be.
  • It’s important to mulch your plants, especially if you choose to water them from above. Mulching will prevent the soil splash which can damage the plants. Mulching is also great for retaining moisture needed for your tomatoes to thrive.
  • Make a support for your tomatoes, such as stakes, trellises or cages.
  • When putting a stake (or another form of support), make sure to do it before you plant your tomatoes. It’s more difficult to go back later and put the stakes in. It may damage the tomato roots.
  • Know all about the tomato variety you want to grow in your garden and the most appropriate care for this variety. Determinate types of tomatoes may suddenly stop producing fruit, so it’s something you need to keep in mind.
  • You should plant tomatoes based on how you wish to use them. Also, plant several different varieties if you have enough room. For example, plum and Roma tomatoes are great for preserving, while slicing types are ideal for fresh eating. Cherry tomatoes are great for snacking.
  • To make the soil warmer and ready for tomatoes, you can cover the area with black plastic. Another good thing to do is to turn the soil often. In case you plant tomatoes relatively early, keep them warm under the special cloches.
  • To make your tomatoes thrive, give them a bit of Epsom salts. Many tomatoes need it, and those that don’t won’t be harmed by it. This is a good preventive measure to grow healthier plants.
  • Pinch the buddings on the plants you have started. It will make the plant produce more fruit in the long run if those flowers are pinched off.

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DON’Ts for Growing Tomatoes

Here are some things you should avoid when growing tomatoes:

  • Never purchase tomato seedlings that have flowers on them. It may seem like a good idea to get a head start, but it’s not the best way to go. Your tomatoes need to establish their roots first before they can produce flowers and fruit. It’s important to make tomatoes settle in before they start developing flowers.
  • Don’t plant tomatoes outside before the soil temperature is below 50 degrees F. You have to wait for soil to be warm enough. It will depend on your climate area as well as your own garden and the amount of sun it gets. Also, don’t forget that surface soil can feel warm but it can still be very cold in the deep. Get one of those handy soil thermometers to check out the soil temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer, wait until overnight lows are consistently above 50 degrees F before you plant your tomatoes.
  • Never overfertilize your tomatoes. It’s ok to give your tomatoes some compost, but be careful when it comes to applying chemical fertilizers. Too much fertilizer will just produce bushy, green tomatoes, which is not what you need. You need tomatoes with plenty of fruit. To prevent them from becoming too bushy, be careful with fertilizer. The same rule applies for peppers.
  • Avoid watering tomatoes from above. Watering from above can cause soil to splash up on the stems. It will make the stems prone to a disease. To avoid this, use a soaker hose for watering tomatoes. If you can’t avoid watering from the above, be very careful during watering.

Photo credit: Jiri Brozovsky via photopin cc