by on 30/04/10 at 3:59 pm
Did you know there are almost thirty varieties of tomatoes today? According to the U. S. department of Agriculture, people in this county eat over 22 pounds (per person) of tomatoes each year, half of this going to ketchup, sauces and soups. Tomatoes are highly popular, whether you think they’re a fruit or vegetable, it doesn’t seem to matter, people eat them up. Tomatoes can be expensive to buy in the super market and it’s no telling how old they actually are. There really is no reason to buy them, especially since this article is going to tell you how to grow tomatoes and you will find they are so easy to grow at home.
All you need is a good pot with good drainage and some good dirt or a little space outside and you’re all set. Tomatoes really like a dark, loose soil with organic matter and nutrients and a little acidity (about 6.2 pH) is best if you want really big red tomatoes.
If your going to grow in a pot instead of in the ground, be careful when fertilizing and don’t add too much, maybe about a tablespoon to a 10 gallon pot and work this into the soil at least two weeks before planting. If planting outdoors a 10-52-17 or 15-30-15 fertilizer will be all your tomatoes need and about a cup scattered around the plants roots or seeds will keep your tomato plants well fed.
Staking your tomato plants will improve fruit production considerably and it also makes getting to your tomatoes much easier. If you’re planting seeds go ahead and place your stake in the dirt close to the seeds, this way you won’t disturb their roots once they start growing. If buying young plants, gently push your stakes in close to the plant and try not to disturb the roots as little as possible. Use a soft twine or yarn to tie your plants to the stake and remember to leave room for growth. Small tomato plants don’t usually need to be cut back or pruned but tall tomato plants may need a little clip here and there in the beginning. Just a little off the top and on the sides should be all the pruning your plant or plants need.
If you have a place picked outside for growing tomatoes, make sure you space them at least 24 inches apart, 36 inches is better if you have the room. Planting tomatoes closer together will reduce air circulation and can set your plants up for disease outbreaks.
Tomato plants are about 95% water so they do need to be watered daily, even those tomato plants grown in a pot on a porch, and remember to make sure your pot has good drainage. Water your plants thoroughly and let excess water drain away from potted plants. For those plants outside, it’s a good idea to cover the soil around your plants with mulch, pine needles, hay or even plastic to prevent water evaporation. Now that you know how to grow tomatoes, you will find they grow pretty fast and before you know it, you will soon have vine-ripe tomatoes, better than any grocery store tomatoes.
Your tomatoes will be ready when their color is almost a perfect red, or yellow depending on the kind you plant. Tomatoes grown in hot weather, over 75 degrees will actually reduce the flavor of your tomatoes, so if you live in a hot climate, planting tomatoes where they will get afternoon shade will give you better tasting tomatoes. Once you pick your tomatoes don’t put them in the refrigerator, leave them sitting at room temperature and they will keep their flavor much better. Another good thing about knowing how to grow tomatoes is you will probably never buy them at the store again.