In the winter, we turn to the seed catalogues. What tomatoes will you grow this year? Will it be tiny sweet cherry tomatoes or giant red beauties? An heirloom variety or seeds from the grocery store? Whatever tomatoes you grow, here are some ways that you can ensure that your tomatoes will survive, thrive, and give you plenty of delicious fruit.
Choose Your Seeds Wisely
Hybrid seeds are made for vigor and consistent production. They’re easily available and you probably know the type of tomato they produce. If you haven’t ventured beyond the hybrids, consider investigating the many delicious varieties of heritage tomato seeds that are available. These tomatoes are flavorful and may be slightly lower in production. Choose from canning tomatoes, paste tomatoes, sauce tomatoes, and just plain eating tomatoes. Heritage tomato plants also come from open-pollinated seeds. This means that you can save the seeds over time and that the plant will gradually change and adapt to the conditions in your particular garden.
Tomatoes Love Light
To grow healthy organic tomatoes you need a lot of light and water. Create the conditions for organic gardening success by providing good soil, heat, light and drainage for your tomatoes. Find a warm, bright place where you can grow your tomatoes. If you do not have a very bright location, start tomato plants indoors to get a jump on the season. Also, choose varieties that fruit quickly. When the tomatoes get into the garden, add a cloche to keep the plants warm and moist.
Tomatoes Need a Lot of Water
Tomatoes also need a lot of water. While cherry tomatoes are known as great container plants, they also demand your constant attention. If you are growing tomatoes in containers, you will need to water them one to two times a day. Avoid sandy soil and coir-lined baskets. You you’re your water to stick around! Water in the early morning to allow the water to soak into the soil before the soil warms up. Remember to water deeply to make sure that the roots of the tomato can access the water.
Tomatoes Need Moist Soil
Help water stick around. To improve the moisture retention of a sandy soil or to add organics to a clay soil, amend the soil with grass clippings, manure, and compost. The tomato likes a soil pH of 6 to 6.8.
Avoiding Tomato Diseases
Tomatoes tend to suffer from soil-borne pathogens that splash up from the soil onto the leaves. To prevent disease, try to water so that the water touches the soil, but not the plant. Some people try to avoid soil-borne tomato diseases by growing tomatoes upside down. Repel tomato pests like slugs with the companion plant the marigold.
Support Your Tomatoes
You’ve come so far, only to find your tomato plant dragging in the soil or broken into pieces. Tomatoes can get heavy and the plants need support. Metal tomato cages are also an excellent way to support a drooping tomato plant. Make sure that you give each plant enough room to grow and spread.
Tomatoes are a delicious addition to any vegetable garden. They’re relatively easy to grow, and you can even use them when they’re green! By providing tomatoes with ideal growing conditions, you can reduce the spread of tomato diseases and yield hearty tomato crops.