Why grow tomatoes at home?
Home grown tomatoes taste better!
But did you know that tomatoes are also an excellent
source of lycopene, an antioxidant that contributes to overall health and well-being? Plus, it’s easy to grow a bountiful crop with just a few easy steps. So why wait? Now is the time to join the local food movement and ensure that you are eating healthy, nutritious food straight from the garden!
How do I get started? We recommend starting with 4” or gallon size tomato plants. The best time to plant is after all danger of frost has passed, and nighttime temperatures are 50 degrees or warmer.
Now follow these easy steps:
FIRST decide what type of tomatoes you want! There are basically 2 types of tomatoes:
Determinate Varieties – shorter, bushier, well-suited for growing in a container, these varieties produce a large single crop.
Indeterminate Varieties – taller growing, these varieties need extra support and product throughout the growing season. (most heirloom types are inderterminate)
NEXT, choose an area with full sun to grow your tomatoes (minimum 6-8 hours direct sun). If possible place them near a south or west facing wall that will absorb heat all day and keep your tomatoes warmer at night. Tomatoes love heat!
THEN, prepare the area for your tomato plants. If you’re planting into a garden bed, amend your garden soil with a mix that will provide abundant plant nutrients, improve physical soil structure and help balance pH when mixed with existing garden soil. If planting into a container, fill the container with potting soil and then apply the same fertilizer as if planting into the soil directly. Then, add a couple of handfuls of horticultural lime to the soil at planting time to help prevent blossom end rot.
FINAL STEP – Plant your tomatoes! When planting tomatoes, we recommend that you plant them deeply so the lower sets of leaves are actually covered by soil. Roots will develop along the stem underground, which helps strengthen the plant and support the fruits.
CARING FOR YOUR TOMATOES:
Protection: Depending on the weather, you may need to cover your tomatoes at night in the beginning. Once temperatures remain above 50 degrees consistently, you no longer need to cover the tomato plants.
Support: Staking is required for indeterminate varieties. Tomato cages, or other support, should be installed at the time of planting. This prevents root damage from installing supports later on.
Food: Feed your tomatoes with an organic tomato and vegetable fertilizer.
Water: Water deeply and consistently, as this will prevent many of the most common tomato problems. Always water at the soil level and avoid getting water on the leaves. Morning is the best time of day to water.
Enjoy the fruits of your labor! Taste the ripe, juicy tomatoes you grow in all of your favorite dishes and share them with your friends and family. You are a part of the local food movement!
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