Unlike most fruits, tomatoes are relatively simple to grow. As a result, tomatoes are one of the most popular garden plants.
This subtropical fruit is tasty and takes a short time to mature. Tomatoes grow best in warmer temperatures.
Gardeners should, therefore, pick the best planting date based on the weather conditions if they wish to harvest plentifully.
The best time for planting tomatoes
You have to determine the best time to place tomato seeds or transplants outside. Experts usually recommend growing tomato seeds in an indoor setting first.
You can do this using pots and trays not forgetting to arm yourself with other recommended gardening tools. Start planting the tomato seeds indoors before the last frost date in your region
You can start this process from around March or early April. If you are growing tomato plants outdoors, plant the seeds two weeks after your area’s last frost date. Also, note that the night temperatures of your region should be about 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Even so, always check the instructions of the seedling manufacturer. They guide you best on when to plant tomatoes in your garden.
What is the secret to growing tomatoes?
Now that you know the best time for planting tomatoes, what is the secret behind a healthy tomato harvest?
If you want your tomatoes to grow healthy and big, you have to ensure they receive water and all required nutrients regularly.
Below are a few secrets to growing healthy tomatoes.
Using fertile, high-quality soil:
The soil in your garden should have the proper nutrients for tomatoes to thrive. Ensure that you incorporate both minor and major nutrients when growing tomatoes.
Use organic matter to improve the quality of the soil and feed the tomato plants. The type of soil plays a huge role in determining the outcome of the planting project.
Get rid of dead and damaged plants:
Keep monitoring the garden and remove all dead plants. If you notice any wilted or discolored leaves or fruits, remove them immediately.
Otherwise, they would affect the other plants in the garden. Leaves, fruits or roots that appear abnormal could be a sign of severe disease. So, remove them immediately.
Make sure you keep the soil moist, especially during dry spells. This can be attained by sieving your soil. Tomatoes need frequent watering to grow.
You can water your plants every 3 to 5 days if you want excellent results. Even so, avoid overwatering tomato plants.
One of the best ways to grow healthy tomatoes is through mulching. Mulching involves covering the soil with leaves and organic matter.
It helps in keeping moisture in the ground and safeguarding the tomato plants from weeds.
Safeguard tomato plants from heat:
Although tomato plants thrive in warmer temperatures, this does not mean you can leave them in scorching temperatures.
The hot sun can lead to patches on the leaves of the tomato plants. So, on hot sunny days, cover your tomato plants using light cloth covers.
Remove tomato suckers:
After some time, tomato plants grow small shoots from the branch and stem’s joining point. These sprouting shoots are commonly referred to as tomato suckers.
Although tomato suckers do not affect the plant, they take up energy from the stems. In turn, there is a slow transfer of water and organic nutrients to the plant.
Can I plant a whole tomato?
As mentioned earlier, growing tomatoes is pretty simple. All you need is tomato seeds and a garden. But can you plant using a whole tomato?
Well, yes. An entire tomato contains the seeds needed for planting. Thus, if you plant it on the ground, it will always grow.
There is no difference between using tomato seedlings from a reliable manufacturer and using seeds in a store-bought tomato.
So, instead of consuming the entire tomato harvest, consider planting them. Nonetheless, growing from whole tomatoes requires you to use all the necessary nutrients and water.
Can you plant a slice of tomato?
Like whole tomatoes, sliced tomatoes contain seeds. So, you can grow tomatoes from a slice of tomato, as long as the seeds are present.
Nonetheless, you have to note that some tomatoes are sterile. Therefore, planting a slice of tomato increases your chances of obtaining null results from your harvest.
But generally, there is no harm in giving it a try. You never know; you might obtain an abundant harvest from a slice of tomato.
Growing tomatoes from a slice of tomato
Contrary to popular belief, planting from a slice of tomato is quite simple and exciting at the same time. Many farmers and gardeners are always looking forward to seeing the outcome. Note that you can use any tomato species when planting from a slice.
The first step would be to fill your gardening pot with high-quality soil. Then, take your tomato and slice it into pieces measuring 0.75 inches thick. Place all the tomato slices around the pot. Then cover them using a thin layer of gardening soil.
Avoid laying a lot of pieces in the pot. Four slices are usually enough if you have a big pot. Besides, four slices can deliver an abundant harvest for you. Once you place the tomato slices, water them. Ensure the soil stays moist. After one to two weeks, you’ll start noticing the germination process.
If you had four slices, expect 40 to 50 seedlings. Once you have the seedlings, choose the strongest ones and plant them in different grow bags or you can use pots. Each pot should contain at least four seedlings. After the seedlings grow, choose the strongest ones and allow them to grow.
Can you grow tomatoes from store-bought tomatoes?
It is possible to grow tomatoes from tomatoes bought at the supermarket or grocery store. However, you have to be selective when choosing the tomatoes. Experts usually advise purchasing heirloom tomatoes since they give better results. Also, this tomato species is well known for breeding.
Moreover, you have to ensure that you buy organic tomatoes if you plant to plant them in your garden. It would be best to consult the grocery store attendant before you purchase tomatoes from the store.
They advise you on the best type of tomatoes that increase your chances of obtaining a healthy and abundant harvest.
What should not be planted with tomatoes?
When planting tomatoes, you have to ensure their companions benefit them. Planting certain plants besides tomatoes can either promote healthy or stagnant growth. Thus, be careful about what you plant next to your tomato plant. Typically, some plants boost tomatoes’ growth, while some hinder the growth of tomatoes.
Plants to avoid planting with tomatoes
Some of the plants you should avoid planting with tomatoes include cabbage, corn, and broccoli. Corn plants often bring about tomato fruit worms. Thus, planting corn next to tomatoes is dangerous since the worms will likely lead to tomato rotting.
Another plant that stops the growth of the tomato plant is the fennel. Kohlrabi also affects tomatoes since it causes several diseases on tomato and potato plants. All in all, before you plant other crops next to your tomato plant, it is advisable to conduct thorough research on the plants that inhibit the growth of tomatoes.
On the flip side, plants like carrots and asparagus promote the healthy growth of tomato plants. Asparagus is ideal for keeping away nematodes from the tomato plants.
Pepper also grows relatively well with tomatoes. Moreover, leafy greens like lettuce and spinach grow well when placed next to tomato plants. They enjoy the shade provided by tomato plants. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of knowing which plants will boost the growth of your tomato plants.
How do you encourage tomatoes to fruit?
If you want your tomatoes to fruit, you have to stop feeding them with nitrogen fertilizers. Fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen tend to foster the growth of foliage instead of fruits.
So, tomato fruits will not get produced if the plants are receiving nitrogen-rich fertilizers. Additionally, stop feeding your tomato plants with compost and manure since they contain nitrogen.
It would be best to provide the plant with potassium-rich fertilizers if you want your tomatoes to fruit. Luckily, there is a wide range of potassium-rich fertilizers you can use to encourage tomatoes to fruit.
Other than using potassium fertilizers, encourage tomatoes to fruit by removing the tomato suckers.
Although tomato suckers are not harmful, they can affect the strength of the stem. Also, consider trimming the lower leaves on certain tomato species if you want the fruits to grow.
Another way to encourage tomatoes to fruit is by shaking the plant gently. This way, you facilitate the distribution of pollen which promotes the growth of fruit. And of course it goes without saying you have to manage weeds.
How long do tomatoes take to grow?
In most instances, gardeners start growing tomatoes in containers from an indoor setting. Then, after some time, the seedlings get transplanted into the garden.
Transplanting usually happens after approximately 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost date. The time taken for tomatoes to mature usually depends on the time you plant them.
Tomatoes grown during earlier seasons will require about 60 days for full maturity. On the flip side, tomatoes planted during the mid-season will need approximately 80 days to mature fully after transplanting.
Tomatoes planted later on usually need more than 80 days to mature. Farmers and gardeners have to be strategic when they start growing their tomatoes.
Can you grow tomatoes all year round?
At present, there are many techniques you can use to grow tomatoes. Specific growing techniques allow you to grow tomatoes at any time of the year.
Homeowners can always plant tomatoes all year round, especially if they are planting indoors. Therefore, you can plant tomatoes even during the winter season.
The best thing about growing indoors is that you still obtain a plentiful harvest. But of course, you have to take good care of your plants.
When growing tomatoes indoors, all you need is enough water, warmth, light, and soil.
Place the planting pot near the window so that the tomato plants can receive sufficient sunlight. However, if you are using an aerogarden system, all you need to do is follow all the artificial garden instructions.
How to grow organic tomatoes indoors
Choose the most suitable location:
The first step would be to choose an ideal place to grow your tomato plants. Generally, tomato plants thrive in areas with bright light.
So, select a location in your house that receives a maximum amount of sunlight, like your window ledge. The place you decide to grow your tomato plant will affect the outcome.
At this stage, it would be best to choose a functional planting pot. Planting pots should be at least 12 inches deep. The size of the planting pot is often determined by the number of tomatoes you plan to grow.
Choose the best organic tomato:
The next step would be to choose the most suitable tomato to grow. Always select a giant tomato that can produce an abundant harvest.
Avoid planting small tomatoes. Moreover, be careful with the tomato species you choose. Usually, some tomatoes are infertile; hence they produce no fruit.
Consult the store attendant if you plan to plant your tomatoes. Additionally, buy organic tomatoes for planting. Chemical-fed tomatoes do not grow well on the garden soil.
Proceed with planting:
Now that you have the location, organic tomatos, and a planting pot, proceed with planting.
If you are planting tomato slices, place them around the pot and cover them with a thin layer of soil. After some time, transfer the transplants to other pots and give them time to grow.
During the planting process, keep watering the plant from the top frequently. Also, feed the tomato plants with suitable fertilizers and nutrients.
Help in pollinating by shaking the plants from time to time. Doing this encourages the growth of tomato fruit in due season. This is also called cross pollination.
Get started with your tomato garden
Tomato plants are relatively simple to grow. Anyone can grow them if they have the required knowledge.
To obtain a successful harvest, gardeners need to start growing tomatoes from around late March to early April.
After planting, they should take good care of the plant by providing it with the proper nutrients.