Top 5 Secrets to Successful Tomato Growing

Tomatoes are well-loved by both seasoned and novice gardeners for its remarkable taste and easiness in growing. This popular vegetable comes in several varieties, especially the heirloom types. Some great examples are the Red Beefsteak, Floradade, and the Large Red Cherry.

Heirloom tomatoes can differ in size, color, and flavor. Having many varieties to choose from makes it easy to pick the best ones to grow in your area. It also allows you to select specific tomatoes that you want to use for cooking or canning purposes.

Regardless of what you’ve chosen, all of the tomato varieties share similar growing requirements.

Tomatoes are generally very simple to grow and maintain, that’s why they’re a wonderful addition to any vegetable garden. So if you want to grow them yourself at home, be sure to read below to learn the top 5 secrets to successful tomato gardening.

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5 Things About Tomatoes

1. Two Types of Tomatoes
There are two types of tomato plants. A tomato plant is either a determinate plant or indeterminate plant. A determinate tomato grows to a set height and stops growing. The fruits mature all at once or relatively close in time and the plant dies shortly after the final fruits mature.

This determinate type of tomato is great for getting the first round of tomatoes from your garden (as they mature quickly) and they do well in containers. You might be able to plant two rounds of determinate tomatoes in your gardening zone. You can often plant them in May and again in July.

The indeterminate tomato continues to grow and grow until frost. It sets fruit throughout the season. Only frost or disease will stop an indeterminate tomato from producing. Think of it this way, a determinate tomato grows to a predetermined size. Indeteriminate tomatoes often need to be staked and pruned. Determinate tomatoes need little to no pruning.

2. Plant Them Deep
A tomato is a vine. When you plant them, you want to plant them deep in the ground. When you buy a tomato transplant they should be 6 to 10 inches tall (or so). You should plant the tomato to at least a third or half of its height. If the tomato is 12 inches tall then plant 4-6 inches of the plant stem below ground.

Why? Because a tomato is a vine that will set roots from any part of the stem, if the stem is below the ground or touching the soil. A strong deep root system leads to a stronger plant.

3. Keep Them Off the Ground
Tomatoes are vines. If you let them sprawl on the ground you will see them root from the vine that touches the ground. You will see additional vines growing all over the place and end up with a mess. Sure you will get tomatoes (maybe a lot) but you will also increase the chances of your tomatoes getting diseases like blights. A 6-foot stake is the best way to train your tomatoes to grow upwards and stay off the ground. It helps you manage the plant’s size and prevent diseases.

4. Planting Location
Tomatoes get quite large. You want to make sure you plant them in the garden so they don’t grow up to shade out other plants. If you reach out both arms to the side and pretend the length of your arms is your garden, you can figure out where to plant the tomatoes.

If the sun is mostly where your left hand is then you need to plant the tomatoes way down by your right hand. Sun mostly to the left of the garden will cause or cast shade to the right side of the plants. Sun to the right of the garden will cause or cast shade to the left side of plants.

When in doubt, go stand in your garden plot around 2 pm. Pretend your a tomato plant and see which way your shadow falls. Use raised beds and plant my tomatoes so the shade they produce mostly falls outside the box.

5. Early Doesn’t Mean Sooner
Tomatoes are warm weather plants. They need 50 degree nights and 70 degree days to really start growing. But more importantly the soil temperature needs to be 50 degreesish. You don’t need to put plants in early before the ground temperatures are ready.

Putting a tomato out April 10th doesn’t mean it will be bigger than a plant you put on on May 1st come the middle of May. Sure, initially it might look bigger but once the heat hits, tomatoes grow. If it is colder in April your plant is just going to sit there in shiver mode and not really grow.

The plant you plant May 1st isn’t really at a disadvantage. The bottom line is they will catch up to each other and you don’t get fruit any sooner. So wait for the right temperature to plant. But once the temperatures comes, the first one to get them in the ground wins.

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