How to Grow Tomatoes?
Our growing tomatoes guide will help you to successfully grow tomatoes to harvesting. If you are planning to start planting from seeds, now’s your time to shine. It’s a great way to grow some exceptional varieties you want to have in your garden. Learn all about growing luxurious organic homegrown tomatoes, the top garden crop for a reason.
Tomatoes are the famous vegetable grown in the home garden, and there are multiple ways to complement your dish. When you freshly pick tomatoes from the garden, it feels quite amazing to have them with your favorite sandwich or salad.
Even if you are a beginner in gardening, that’s okay. Growing tomatoes is a quite easier process with the following ultimate guide to growing tomato plants! Soon you will be on your way to pluck some fresh tomatoes from your garden.
When to Plant Tomatoes?
The question of when to plant tomatoes is universal as it’s a warm weather plant that needs a good amount of sun and breeze to grow perfectly. The temperature needs to be set between 70 and 75°F.
The seed's sowing time depends on the variety of tomatoes; it will be around January to March, and the harvesting time will be around July to September. Make sure to check the label of the instructions when you purchase the seed packet.
Starting Tomatoes from Seed
The best time to plant tomatoes from seeds is six to eight weeks before planting them in your garden. Start sowing in late January until late March.
Plant the seeds in 7.5cm pots of moist peat-free compost or damp potting soil with a thin layer of vermiculite, water, and cover with cling film. Keep them in front of sunlight, warm, around good air circulation, or in a propagator.
When germination starts, remove the cling film or remove them from the propagator and keep the compost damp. Transfer the seedlings, when they are about 2 to 3 cm tall, into 6cm pots filled with moist multi-purpose compost.
Make sure to give enough light to your tomato seedlings so that they don’t get leggy. If the seedlings turn purple, they need a good amount of fertilizer.
Growing Tomatoes in Containers
It is easy to grow tomatoes in pots. You need to get a similar size tomato planter box. For example, smaller varieties can be planted in small pots or wall hanging baskets or window boxes, whereas large varieties need a sturdier planter like a 5-gallon bucket.
Use fabric pots when you are transferring the seedlings. These pots are naturally air pruned as they become naturally exposed to air as they grow. They become naturally new, shorter, and fibrous roots as they grow.
Fill your pot equally with loose, well-drained potting soil, peat moss, and compost, and optionally add some organic materials like well-rotted shavings or manure. Make sure to plant the seedlings deeply so that they can grow strong root systems and sturdier plants.
Harvesting and Storing
In general tomatoes, most tomatoes require 100 days to fully mature, but some varieties need only 50-60 days to develop fully.
The tomatoes will start to ripen, and the color will change from medium green to a lighter shade with reddish, faint pink, or yellow blushing.
Usually, tomatoes are plucked when they are full green which can be found in supermarkets because they can ripen during transport. That is why they have a lesser flavor than those left on the vine a bit longer. At the end of the season, remove the older leaves to let the plants have light and to prevent light gray fungus.
Tomatoes are best to eat when they are freshly plucked out of the tree. You can store them in the refrigerator, but they don’t freeze well. So, store them at room temperature for a week or so.
Prevent Tomato Diseases
Unfortunately, many types of pathogens can cause tomato plant disease. Some diseases can cause by fungal organisms, while others are bacterial or even viral.
Different areas of North America are affected by different tomato pathogens, and the infection rate depends on the wind pattern, humidity, plant health, temperature, soil, and many more. Here are some ways you can do to save your tomatoes from diseases,
- Since pathogens are living in the soil, make sure to rotate your crops each year.
- Discard the leaves if you find any disease or infection on them.
- Avoid working in the garden when the tomato foliage is wet, or else you will spread pathogens from plant to plant.
- Provide a good amount of air circulation and light around each plant.
- Do mulching at the beginning of the growing season.
- If you grow tomatoes in pots, disinfect the germs using a 10% bleach solution.
Essential Tips and Tricks to Grow Tomatoes
- Water regularly and deeply in the morning while the tomatoes are growing. Irregular watering can damage the plants. Ensure the plants get at least 1 inch of water per week, but they might need more water during the hot temperature.
- If you are starting to plant your tomatoes from seed, make sure to keep plenty of room to grow the branch out. Make sure to pluck out weaker seedlings to get the room for other plants. Transfer the tomato seedlings to their individual 4-inch pots shortly after you see their first leaves.
- Tomato seedlings need a good amount of sunlight or artificial plant light, giving at least 7 to 8 hours every day.
- Plants need to have a breeze to grow strong stems. If you are growing them outside, it's perfect, but plants need good air circulation inside. Create a breeze by keeping them under a fan for 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.
- Tomatoes love the heat as they won’t start growing without it. You can speed things up by covering the soil with a black or red plastic bag for some weeks before planting the tomatoes.
- After the tomatoes grow about 3 feet tall, discard rotten and oldest leaves as they are the cause of fungus problems.