If you cultivate vegetables and fruits, you’ve probably thought about growing tomatoes. Cultivating your tomatoes is straightforward and in the summer, you’ll be rewarded with plenty of flavorful tomatoes. Tomatoes are available in all sizes, from the smallest varieties of cherry to giant full-flavored tomatoes. The secret of growing large-scale tomatoes is to select the right varieties, then to begin the crops off right and to keep an eye for problems. In this article, we will attempt to provide you with a lot of advice on how to care for tomato plants.
How to Grow Tomatoes
With adequate care during the cultivating, growing and collecting periods, you can expect fruitful crops every year. By implementing these basic instructions, you will learn how to grow tomatoes from the beginning or small plants.
1. The Right Time to Plant Tomatoes
If you would like to grow tomatoes from seeds, you must begin with tomato seeds inside six to eight weeks before the last season’s estimated frost date. Replant the tomato seedlings just after the last season frost date since the soil will become warm by this time.
2. Choose & Prepare a Land
Pick a place that gets sufficient sunlight. Soil should also be well-drained on that spot. The site where you are planting tomatoes should receive at least six hours of daily sunlight. Dig the ground one foot deep several weeks before the tomatoes are transplanted. Mix compost or fertilizer with the soil as this will increase soil fertility and increase overall plant growth.
3. Choose the Right Variety
Tomatoes can be found in a broad variety of sizes, ranging from small-size varieties to giant ones. The selection also depends heavily on how you use tomatoes for cooking. Roma tomatoes, for example, aren’t very pleasant when eaten fresh, but are great for ketchup and sauces. Tomato varieties can be categorized based on their growth tendencies:
- Determined tomatoes will grow to a predetermined size. They are an excellent choice for making sauces and canning.
- Indeterminate tomatoes will increase in size during the growing season because the stem terminal causes foliar productivity rather than flowers.
4. Plant Tomatoes
Before planting in the yard, the seedlings or transplants must be hardened for a week before they are planted in the yard. Keep young seedlings in the shade first day for two or three hours and slowly increase their time outdoors. This will enable them to obtain the natural sunlight necessary for hardening. Ensure that there are two feet of blank space between the seedlings. Position tomato stakes or cages in the ground when planting tomatoes, as this is necessary to prevent serious harm to the roots afterward.
5. In Containers
Use sizeable pots or containers and be sure that they have holes in the bottom for drainage. Make use of well-drained, loose soil such as potting mix combined with organic soil. You should plant just one tomato seedling per pot. The best option is to choose the dwarf tomato varieties because they grow well in pots. Position the pot at a place that will receive around six to eight hours of sunshine in a day.
How to Care for Tomato Plants
Adequately planted and cared tomatoes can start fruiting in no more than a month if they are replanted in the yard from seedlings. Appropriate care during the fruiting and maturing period keep tomato plants healthy and guarantees their further production. Below are some recommendations on how to take care of your tomato plants.
1. Give The Seedlings Plenty Of Room
If you are growing tomatoes from seeds, give the tomato seedlings a lot of space to branch out. That indicates that the seedlings are thinned to one solid plant per space or small container Cut off the smaller, weaker seedlings in favor of the better grower. Crowded conditions obstruct their development, which weakens them and later leads to many diseases. Trareplant seedlings into their four-inch pots soon when they get their first set of authentic leaves.
2. Provide Enough Light
Tomato seedlings need a lot of natural light. Winter days are short, so they don’t have enough natural light even if placed at the sunny window. If you do not cultivate them in a greenhouse, the best choice is to have some sort of artificial light about 16 hours a day. To guarantee that tomato plants grow chunky, keep the plants just a few inches from fluorescent lights.
You will have to find a way to elevate the lights or drop the plants as the young plants grow. Look for the sunniest section of the garden when you are ready to plant them outdoors.
3. Provide Proper Ventilation
To form strong stems, tomato plants must sway and move in the breeze. That normally happens outside, but if you begin your seedlings indoors, you must provide some form of ventilation. Make a breeze by spinning a fan over them for five to ten minutes, a few times a day. That little bit of effort will make a significant difference. Another method is to gently rub the tomato plants through their tops for several minutes, multiple times a day.
4. Keep The Garden Soil Warm
Tomatoes like warm conditions and they will not start to grow until both the air temperatures and soil are not warm. You can speed up the process in the soil by covering the growing area with red or black plastic a few weeks before cultivation. The extra warmth of the soil converts into early tomatoes. You can remove the plastic before cultivating, but some research suggests that the advantage of red plastic mulch will increase your tomato production.
The watering with a formula for seed fertilizers can help to make a good start to roots. Side dress crops every two weeks beginning from around 1 inch in diameter with compost or fertilizer. Allocation of nitrogen fertilizer can help plants to get through the growing season. When staking, using soft cord or old nylon will secure the tomato stem to the stakes.
6. Controlling Pests & Diseases
Tomatoes require a lot of care because the crop is susceptible to various diseases and pests. Use cultivars immune to disease as soon as possible to prevent many problems. Nonetheless, if tomato plants are not left off with a stake or other method of protection, they are more vulnerable to soil-borne disease or rotting. Whitefly is the most common pest that will attack your tomatoes.
Adult flies will lay their eggs under the leaves, while the growing eggs will feed on that leaves, leaving a persistent secretion that will draw other diseases. When you see the eggs try to clean them with water and strip them by hand.
7. Pinch & Prune
Pinch and strip away suckers which grow in two regions of the crotch joint. They will not bring out the fruit and will consume energy from the majority of the plant. Nevertheless, go easy while pruning the remainder of the tomato plant. You can neutralize a few leaves to encourage the sun to reach the ripe fruit, but it is the leaves that photosynthesize and produce the sugars that give your tomatoes flavor. Less vegetation means less juicy tomatoes.
8. Water Regularly
Water frequently and thoroughly as the fruit grows. Irregular watering will lead to blossom rotting or with splitting and cracking fruit. The thumb rule is to guarantee that your plants receive at least one inch of water a week, but they might need more in hot and dry conditions. Consider giving your plants water if they look wilted or a whole day. You can reduce the water after the fruit starts to ripe.