Tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetable garden plants, and for good reason. They grow well in most climates and most gardeners can get their plants to produce. If you want to develop a plan for successful tomato growing, you need to provide the plants with everything they need to be fruitful and healthy.
If you plan to grow your tomatoes from seed, start them indoors about six weeks before the last frost date. If you start them too early the plants end up leggy and weak from growing inside too long. If you wait longer to plant, you end up with small seedlings that don't begin fruiting until late in the summer.
Heat and warmth result in healthy, productive plants. Grow tomatoes in a bed that receives eight or more hours of direct sunlight a day and your tomatoes will love you. Tomatoes don't just need the light, they also need the warmth. Tomatoes fruit best at temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tomatoes are able to form new roots along their stems. Plant your seedlings in the garden a few inches deeper than they were growing at and you have instantly created a deeper rooted plant. The deeper the roots, the healthier the tomato. Deep roots also help prevent drought damage.
Provide consistent moisture throughout the growing season. Tomatoes need 1 to 2 inches of water a week applied in one or two deep weekly waterings. A straw mulch helps keep the moisture in the soil. If you allow the ground to dry out too much before you water, the fruits may crack or the flowers might fall from the plants.
Tomatoes need support, whether you use a stake, cage or trellis system. Supported plants are more fruitful since the stems are supported so the foliage can take the most advantage from the sun. Supports also keep the leaves and fruit off the ground and away from fungus and pests.
Planting tomatoes right and providing the best care helps ensure successful tomato growing. Come midsummer, your plants will be produce a bounty of bright red tomatoes for you to enjoy fresh or preserve for later.
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