If you love biting into sweet yet tangy and firm yet juicy tomato, then chances are that you’ve mauled over the thought of having your tomato garden more times than you can recall. However, tomatoes may sound easy to grow until you are faced with long lists of various tomato seeds and flavors, names like Missouri pink love, husky cherry, Roma, Aunt Ruby’s tomato will get you confused and to make matters worse, tomatoes are also quite prone to many growth problems. Thinking of such challenges might cause you to bury your dream of having beautiful and ripened tomatoes fresh from your garden on your kitchen counter. Fortunately, we don’t want to see you give up on them and that is why below is a guide on how to grow your tomato plant.
Choose the right seed
We understand that there are myriads of them and choosing the right one can be quite an uphill task. To ease that burden, make a selection depending on the type of tomatoes you want as they are categorized into slicers which are mainly meant for paste or sauce making or cherry ones which are suitable for both snacking and make the best sandwiches and salads. Also, consider their resistance to pests and diseases to prevent all your efforts and dream tomato garden from going down the drain. Lastly, choose between a determinate or indeterminate tomato plant and then go on and make your selection from the nearest farm supplies retailer. You can also consult your seller for advice based on the tips we’ve given for a better choice. Additionally, you can opt for tomato plant transplants instead of seeds, but you still have to consider the criteria we’ve provided.
Choose the right spot
Similar to any other plant, a tomato plant has its conditions for growth and as such the spot you choose should cater for these. If you are planting seeds, then the most prudent way is by growing your seeds in containers and keeping them inside for an average of about 6 to 8 weeks. But you can also plant them outside, and the same case applies to transplants. However, planting the seeds inside and on a soilless medium is the best medium as the seeds are still vulnerable and hence more prone to harmful bacteria. Additionally, garden soil is also not advisable as it drains poorly in a container.
Tomatoes require about six to eight hours of exposure to the sun, and as such, you need to plant them in a spot where they will get access to the full sun. In respect to that, planting them against your fence will provide them with the right exposure. Ensuring that your tomato plants get the required amount of sunlight helps them bring out their best flavor. Also, ensure that there is sufficient space between each tomato plant so it has enough room to grow and also because they have weak stems and will quickly start bending towards the direction of the sun also make sure that you have a support system by staking.
As mentioned earlier, tomato plants are highly prone to problems, and even the slightest attack from pests and harmful micro-organisms will ruin your beautiful garden. So besides considering the spot where they get exposure to sunlight you also have to think about the type of soil in that position. To ensure that it is safe, till the place you are planning to grow your tomato plant on up to about one foot and the mix your manure or fertilizer with the soil two weeks before. The best compost is one which has poultry manure pellets or seaweed as these contain a high amount of mycorrhizal fungi which is beneficial to the plant. You can also create raised beds if you still aren’t sure about the quality of the soil.
Even if you plant in the best spot possible and with the right soil, your efforts will go to waste if you don’t take care of your tomato plant. So below are some of the tips to help you care for your tomato plant.
- Once you are done with the planting part, ensure you water generously and frequently for the first few days. Then increase the amount of water to at least twelve liters on a weekly basis and water directly not on the tomato plant
- Fertilize or use manure two weeks before you pick and then keep the soil healthy by fertilizing again after two weeks
- Pinch off the suckers to prune your tomato plants if you are staking
- Also, ensure you practice healthy farming habits such as crop rotation to prevent diseases. That is If you have any other plants in your garden or farm
- Leave your tomato fruit on the plant as long as possible and only harvest when they are firm and ripe irrelevant of the size.
Now that you’ve done your part you leave the rest to the weather because the success of most vegetables is often at the mercy of the weather conditions. However, ensure you follow these tips to be on the safe side of tomato plant growing.