One of the first plants a gardener will try out is tomatoes. While tomatoes are easy to grow, there are a few things to be aware of that will help make the whole experience easier.
Things to know before growing tomatoes at home: Before you grow your tomatoes at home, it’s important to know that tomatoes need a lot of nutrients to thrive. Add compost to your soil and be prepared to add fertilizer throughout the growing period. Don’t plant tomatoes until it warms up and be sure to harvest any fruit before the first frost.
Is it easy to grow tomatoes at home?
Tomatoes are a very easy plant to grow at home. In fact, they are often one of the best beginner plants to start with if you are new to gardening.
Like everything, however, there is always room to gain experience and knowledge. You can improve your tomato gardening skills if you know more about the plant and how it best grows.
Things you need for growing tomatoes at home
There are so many varieties of tomatoes, it can be hard to know where to start. Before you purchase your plants, do a bit of research.
Start by thinking about what type of tomatoes you like to enjoy. You can also think about how much space you have and what flavor profiles of the tomatoes you want.
You can choose to grow tomatoes in your garden or in a container. This is one of the advantages of tomatoes.
If you opt for a container, make sure it is large enough to support the growing plant. Tomato plants start out pretty small but once fully grown, they will be very large.
Tomatoes may start off as small plants but once their fruit develops, the plants can become quite heavy. If left alone, tomato plants can fall over, resulting in bruised fruit and broken stems.
To help your tomato plants out, be sure to have a support structure like a cage ready for each plant. It’s best to place the cage around the plant when it is still little or else you can end up damaging the plant as you try to maneuver it when it is fully grown.
Things to consider before growing tomatoes at home
Tomatoes need soil that drains well, so start with an all-purpose topsoil. This is necessary whether you plant your tomatoes directly into a garden or into a container.
Adding compost will help create lighter soil, as will adding peat moss. If you are using a container, ensure there are proper drainage holes so the soil doesn’t become water-logged.
Tomatoes are extremely heavy feeders. They pull a lot of nutrients out of the soil so if you don’t start with a healthy base, you won’t have healthy plants.
In addition to having soil that is mixed with compost, you can also periodically add synthetic fertilizer to your plants. Choose one made for tomatoes so it has the right mix of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Another mineral that tomatoes need is calcium. If you notice that your tomatoes are soggy or rotten on the bottom, this is a sign that the plant is not getting enough calcium and you should then amend the soil.
You want to ensure that the soil for your tomatoes gets enough water but that it doesn’t become soggy. Tomato roots do not like being wet for long periods of time.
If you can, using a drip irrigation system will be the best for tomato plants. This allows small amounts of water to continuously be absorbed by the soil.
Tomatoes prefer full sun areas. Whenever possible, plant your tomatoes in places that get full sun although if there is shade during the afternoon when the sun is the hottest, this is okay.
If you plant your tomatoes indoors, keep them near a window so they have access to direct sunlight.
It is recommended that you don’t plant tomato plants in the same area as you did the year before. This is because there are many diseases that target tomatoes and they can lie dormant in the soil before taking over the next crop.
Crop rotation involves planting different plants of the same family in different parts of your garden each year. If you can, cycle them through with at least a three-year cycle to avoid the spread of disease.
Other useful tips for growing tomatoes
Tomatoes are ready for harvest at the end of summer and through early fall. You may need to exercise some patience when it comes to picking them.
Once a frost hits, your tomato plants will die, including the fruit. This means that as soon as there is colder weather in the forecast, it is essential that you pick any remaining tomatoes so as to not waste them.
If the tomatoes are green, you don’t have to worry. Tomatoes will often ripen on their own at room temperature. You can also place them in a brown paper bag to speed up the process.
Seeds vs plants
You can choose to start with tomato seeds or seedlings. If you want to start with seeds, plant them indoors first as it will be too cold outside.
Once your seedlings are large enough and it is warmer outside, you can then transplant them. Tomato seeds do really well inside, as long as they have access to enough sunlight.
One of the reasons why growing tomatoes is so easy is because they self-pollinate. This means that inside the flowers are both male and female parts, so you don’t need to worry about attracting pollinators such as bees.
Because of their self-pollination abilities, you can actually grow tomatoes indoors for their whole lifecycle. This is a bonus if you are short on outside space.
Tomatoes are easy plants to grow, both indoors and outdoors. The main things to know about tomatoes are that they need soil with plenty of nutrients and they like warm, sunny environments.