growing tomatoes flower picture

I hope these tips for growing tomatoes will help you have your best garden ever. If you have tips for growing tomatoes that you would like to share, please email and I will add them to this list. Also, tell other gardeners about these tips and together we can help create a world where everyone is growing tomatoes in their own backyard.

Katie Wilder

Tips For Growing Tomatoes

1. A good fertilizer for growing tomatoes is dried, composted manure mixed with bone meal or you can use a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10. Sprinkle this around the plants about 6 inches from the stem and cover with a thin layer of soil and mulch. Water in. Do this about once a month.

2. Rotate you crops - growing tomatoes where you have grown them in the last 3 years is not recommended. Changing locations each year helps to reduce disease and insect problems.

3. Companion plants - tomatoes like to grow near chives, onions, parsley, marigolds, nasturtiums, carrots or garlic.

4. Wait until the soil warms up before mulching your tomato plants.

5. Water tomatoes early in the day so the foliage has time to dry before night.

6. If you smoke, wash your hands before touching tomato plants to keep from infecting them with tobacco mosaic virus.

7. If you stake your tomato plants, strips of old pantyhose make good ties.

8. When temperatures are above 85 degrees, pick the tomatoes before they are completely ripe and ripen inside.

9. In the fall, before frost, pick all green tomatoes. Use the small ones to make pickles and bring the larger ones inside to ripen.

10. Clean up all tomato residue when the season is over and destroy any diseased plants. This will help control insects and disease next year.

Tomato Transplanting Tips

1. Harden off tomato plants for about 10 days before transplanting outside. The first day take the plants outside to a shady, protected spot for a few hours. Gradually increase the time each day and expose the plants to more sun and wind until they are outside all day and night.

2. Be sure the soil in containers is moist before transplanting.

3. Transplant tomatoes on a cloudy, wind free day or wait until the late afternoon.

4. Set plants out in well drained soil in a sunny location. If you live in the south, 1/2 day of sun is OK.

5. Try growing tomatoes in large containers on a patio or plant some tomato plants among flowers or shrubbery in a border. You don't have to grow them in a vegetable garden.

6. Set the tomato plants out deep. Remove the lower leaves and bury the stem so that only the top leaves are sticking out.

Tomato Seed Starting Tips

1. Start your own tomato plants from seed so that you can choose the best tasting varieties. Vegetable Seed Warehouse has hundreds of tomato seed varieties.

2. Start tomato seeds about 8 weeks before the last frost. If you live in the south, start some later, too, for a fall crop.

3. Use commercial seed starting mix or potting soil mixed with an equal amount of vermiculite, perlite or peat moss. Cover the tomato seeds no more than 1/4 inch deep.

4. Use recycled containers, like yogurt cups for tomato seed starting or use plastic cups. Be sure to punch a hole in the bottom for drainage. Use the lids also to keep the tomato seeds moist until germination.

5. Put the seed containers on top of the refrigerator or water heater to keep the soil warm. This helps germination. Optimum soil temperature for seed starting is 80 degrees. Be sure to remove any covers as soon as the tomato seeds germinate and move the cups to a sunny window or grow under florescent lights.

6. About 3 weeks after the seeds germinate start fertilizing with a very weak solution of fish fertilizer (about 1/4 strength) or other liquid fertilizer. Mix with rain water or filtered water for best results. Let the top of the soil dry out between waterings.


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