Everything You Need To Know About Growing Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are an easy-to-grow crop that is native to the South American Andes mountains where the Aztecs cultivated them.

Today they are a garden staple with many different hybrid varieties.

HOW TO PLANT TOMATOES

Tomatoes are best grown in well-drained soil with full sun and a soil pH range of 6.2 through 6.8.

They can be sown straight into the soil after the last frost or as I prefer they can be started 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost indoors using a cardboard seed starting tray.

They are best planted in rows that are about 3 feet apart, about 2 feet apart in the row, and about 6 inches deep.

For best results, it is recommended before planting or sowing them to till compost into the soil, known as amending the soil.

This will provide nutrients to the soil, helps with water retention, and will help to keep the soil loose which will make it easier for the roots to grow.

After the plants are established, they should be wrapped with hog fencing or use a tomato cage to help support them when they have fruit on them.

FERTILIZING AND WATERING

To avoid any possible issues of over-fertilizing your tomatoes, you should test your soil before adding any fertilizers.

If the soil is balanced then they need a fertilizer such as 5-10-5 because they are high phosphorus feeders.

If you are unable to test the soil before adding any fertilizer then you can start with a high-phosphorus fertilizer.

If the plant growth is slow, you can add a high-nitrogen fertilizer such as 15-0-0 and dilute it 2 to 3 times the dilution ratio to keep from burning the plants.

Another option is to use a homemade liquid fertilizer.

They prefer soil that is consistently moist but not soaked and they will require about 1 to 2 inches of water per week.

HARVESTING

Tomatoes can be harvested with a pair of sharp garden shears or twist the fruit until it breaks free from the vine.

Another option is to cut the vine with several tomatoes attached to the vine.

All tomatoes start off green and when ripe they turn to the color of the variety that they are supposed to be such as red, yellow, orange, or pink.

PROPAGATING

Tomatoes are propagated through seed, therefore some plants should be allowed to go to seed for the following season.

PESTS

Tomatoes have several pests that feed on them but using natural methods such as attracting predators and using natural insecticides such as essential oils, diatomaceous earth, or insecticidal soap will keep your pest control organic.

  • Aphids
  • Flea beetles
  • Cutworms
  • Whiteflies
  • Spider mites
  • Leafminers
  • Root-knot nematodes
  • Hornworms
  • Slugs
  • Snails
  • Tomato fruit worms

DISEASES

Tomatoes that are planted close together can develop mold and mildew issues during times of high humidity.

If this is the case then preventive measures may need to be taken.

  • Early blight
  • Late blight
  • Southern blight
  • Buckeye rot
  • Anthracnose fruit rot
  • Blossom end rot
  • Septoria leaf spot
  • Verticillium wilt
  • Gray wall

VIRUSES

Plant viruses are caused by pests causing damage to a plant, therefore good pest management is a must.

  • Tomato spotted wilt virus
  • Tomato mosaic virus
  • Pepino mosaic virus
  • Tobacco mosaic virus
  • Cucumber mosaic virus
  • Impatiens necrotic spot virus

VARIETIES

There are dozens of varieties of tomatoes that are available as a heirloom and hybrid varieties that come in red, orange, yellow, and deep purple that looks black to choose from.

MORTGAGE LIFTER TOMATO

Mortgage lifter tomato is a heirloom variety.

  • Days to germinate – 7 to 14 days
  • Days to harvest – about 80 days

BLACK KRIM TOMATO

Black Krim tomato is a heirloom variety.

  • Days to germinate – 7 to 14 days
  • Days to harvest – about 80 days

BRANDYWINE PINK TOMATO

Brandywine pink tomato is a heirloom variety that is dated back to 1885.

  • Days to germinate – 7 to 14 days
  • Days to harvest – about 85 days

ROMA TOMATO

Roma tomato is a heirloom variety that is resistant to verticillium wilt and fusarium wilt.

  • Days to germinate – 7 to 14 days
  • Days to harvest – about 80 days

YELLOW PEAR TOMATO

Yellow pear tomato is a heirloom variety.

  • Days to germinate – 7 to 14 days
  • Days to harvest – about 75 days

GARDENERS DELIGHT TOMATO

Gardeners delight tomato is a heirloom variety that is native to Germany.

  • Days to germinate – 7 to 14 days
  • Days to harvest – about 65 days

BLACK CHERRY TOMATO

Black cherry tomato is a heirloom variety that produces one-inch tomatoes that have a blackish hue.

  • Days to germinate – 7 to 14 days
  • Days to harvest – about 65 days

Joel Simon

As a kid, Joel found enjoyment in caring for the many houseplants he grew up with, learning how to transplant them safely, cloning them, and more. At about the age of 10, he wanted to see if he could sprout an orange seed from a store-bought orange and ended up using it as a science experiment in a school project. Throughout the many years of gardening, he has helped many friends and family set up their food and botanical gardens. After years of caring for plants, he was talking with other gardeners and discovering old methods of farming and botanical gardening. Joel has decided to share his knowledge for others to enjoy as he has for many years.

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