Trying to talk about tomatoes can start a fight. First, there’s the pronunciation argument, and then there’s the, “Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable?” one.
Growing tomatoes, on the other hand, is probably a lot easier than you think.
You need to decide if you’re growing them in the ground or in a container. If you think you’re too limited for space even for containers, you may be tempted to try one of the upsides down tomato kits, but we don’t recommend those.
They usually don’t live up to the advertising hype. Try to be creative and utilize space that might not have occurred to you before. I’ve seen plants thriving on fire escapes and in front yards, so you may have more room than you think.
There are advantages to both methods. A container garden is portable and you can put it anywhere that receives a minimum of seven hours of full sun per day. Regardless of what you do with your plants, that seven or more hours of sun is more crucial to growing tomatoes than anything else, except watering.
Watering Your Growing Tomatoes
In the ground, the tomatoes can spread out, and I’ve found we have larger plants and grow more tomatoes if we give them some room. I also have an easier time keeping them watered well because while it’s easier to see when you’ve soaked a container (the water runs through the drainage holes underneath), I’ve found that containers also dry out quickly.
If you live in a hot place, or they’re in the sun most of the day, you will need to water more than the average grower. In order to ensure your tomatoes are watered correctly and the water is reaching the roots instead of being wasted on the leaves, there are a few methods of drip irrigation that aren’t even slightly complex and don’t require you to have a hose all over the place.
In our garden, we use stakes that are attached to a 2-liter soda bottle with the bottom cut off. Push the stakes down as far as they’ll go, then fill up the soda bottle with water. These are pretty easy to find at a gardening center. If your eye is drawn by ones that are pretty glass globes, save those for your flowers. Tomatoes are too thirsty to care much for beauty!
If you’re handy with a drill, you can use a PVC pipe that is 1″ wide and about two feet tall. Drill holes 1/8″ along the length of the pipe and leave about two inches at the top undrilled. Nestle this in among your tomato’s roots and fill the pipe with water. This method is definitely cheaper than the soda bottle method, but they’re both practical ways of taking care of thirsty tomatoes, so just pick whichever you like best.
Next to watering, the most important things are space, support, and fertilizer. Always leave at least two feet of space between tomatoes. Plants can become very large and they need room to breathe and enough room to establish a good root system.
Everyone has seen a tomato cage before, even if you’ve never touched a garden. The most common ones are made of wire and cone-shaped. They usually have three or four wires wrapping around the cone. While your tomatoes are getting established, take care to do a little weaving so the plants stay in or near their own cage and don’t start visiting their friends.
Read also: Is a Tomato Fruit or Vegetable? (Yes or No)
Fertilizing Your Growing Tomatoes
Tomatoes generally prefer a balanced fertilizer, and ideally you should use one specifically for tomatoes with an NPK ratio such as 8-32-16 or 6-24-24. If you can’t find a tomato fertilizer, use a general gardening fertilizer and do not let lawn fertilizer anywhere near your garden. The fertilizer should have instructions on how much it should be used on the bag or container, and you should follow them.
If you compost or have access to compost, I highly recommend working it lightly into the soil around your growing tomatoes every three weeks or so as a top dressing. It’s better for the environment because there is no fertilizer runoff when it rains or you’re watering, it will improve the soil structure of your garden and it’s free if you are interested in doing your own composting, or fairly cheap if you buy it from someone else.
There are all sorts of other things to discuss ideal growing conditions, but as long as you give your growing tomatoes sun, water, and some fertilizer, they’ll produce beautifully for you, and next year you can get more complicated!
Real Tasty Winter Tomatoes
You´ll long for the real thing once you´ve tasted hard, pale and tasteless tomatoes in winter. There are tomatoes here, there and everywhere, but if you´re finicky about flavor and freshness (and you should be) you´ll want real, juicy and tasty tomatoes, especially in winter.
By all means, you can grow winter tomatoes and get the best of the savory succulence of tomato fruits even when the world out there is freezing. One great thing about growing winter tomatoes is that it´s easy. You wouldn´t need a greenhouse or even a green thumb.
All you need are 6-inch pots filled with good potting soil along with the right tomato seeds, a suitable seed starter mix, the right fertilizer, and plant stakes. You can then grow window sill tomatoes and fresh tomatoes for your salad and meals are always comin´ up right when you need them.
Window Sill Winter Tomatoes
Window sill tomatoes may be smaller than their outdoor relatives, but don´t be fooled by the size. Window sill tomatoes with their quarter to half a dollar size come with a big tomato taste. They´re not slicers, but they´re perfect juices for your salad and snacks.
You can grow one tomato plant in a 6- inch pot or grow two in a larger pot. Every two weeks, start planting one or two tomato plants from seed so you´ll have a continuous supply throughout the winter season.
Tomato varieties good for growing in your window sill garden are Tiny Tim, Patio, Pixie, Small Fry, and Toy Boy. These are actually small plants but you´ll need to stake them especially when they start to bear fruits.
How To Plant Winter Tomatoes
Use a small pot containing starter mix to germinate the seeds. Plant the seeds about a ¼ inch deep into the mix and water. Be careful of overwatering though. Just keep the mix moist, not soggy. In 5 to 10 days, the seeds should start germinating.
When the seedlings grow to about 3 inches tall, transplant into potting soil. Two weeks after transplanting, fertilize the seedlings regularly, but lightly. Water thoroughly, but not too often. Place a catch pan under the pot to keep your window sill dry.
Work with Mother Nature in moving and pollinating your winter tomatoes when they start blooming. Using your finger, tap the main stem and other larger side branches of the plant. Doing so makes a small cloud of pollen fall from the open flowers.
All sides of your tomato plants should get their share of sunlight, so turn them occasionally. In time, each plant would normally produce a bumper crop and becomes unproductive. You´ll then have to cut it off to save the potting soil for future transplants. Enjoy fresh, juicy and tasty tomatoes in the dreary cold of winter!
Know About Tomato Problems Growing
As a tomato grower, you have to know how to do your trade well. That is, you ought to know the proper way of growing tomatoes. What’s most important in growing tomatoes is that you have to provide the needs and growth requirements of your plants.
Only then will your crop grow and flourish as you want it to be. Then again, don’t forget another must in growing tomatoes, and that is to properly deal with the common tomato problems growing.
You have to find ways to remedy or get rid of tomato problems growing to enjoy a healthy hefty harvest. Some of the most common problems of growing tomatoes are viral and fungal diseases.
Common Tomato Problems Growing
Here are some information to guide you in identifying common tomato problems growing. Your knowledge will help you determine what solutions you can use.
Cucumber mosaic virus
This viral disease can make the plants to become yellow, bushy, and they will not grow. The leaves may have spots.
In most cases, the virus is found in the tomato seeds. What’s worse about the cucumber mosaic virus is that there are no chemical controls. The most effective way to get rid of the virus is to remove and destroy the plants.
This is one of the common tomato problems growing. This tomato plant disease usually occurs during the early part of the growing season when the soil is cool. Phosphorus is an abundant nutrient in the soil.
If the soil becomes too cold, Phosphorus will become unavailable to your tomato plants. It is not advisable to plant tomatoes when it is too early in the season. When the temperature rises, tomato plants can then absorb Phosphorus.
Pests And Fungus Tomato Problems Growing
Fusarium wilt and Fusarium crown rot
These problems in tomato growing usually start with the older leaves turn to yellow. This disease is caused by Fusarium oxysporum, a common tomato fungus that exists in the tomato vascular system.
If your plants are affected by Fusarium crown rot, they will manifest black or dark brown leaves, and sooner or later they will wilt. If your plants are affected by Fusarium wilt, the leaves turn yellow, go down and hang down. You can check the plant to observe if any of these pests or fungus are present.
You have to inspect the vascular tissue by cutting the main stem fo the plant. If you found the vascular tissue is having brown discoloration, then it indicates the existent of Fusarium wilt. If you observe canker or rotting at the base of the stem and looks like root rot, it indicates Fusarium crown.
Whiteflies and aphids
These pests can cause yellowing of the leaves. The affected plants have shiny leaves and a sticky excrement characteristic, which is known as honeydew. You can use insecticidal soap if aphids are infesting your plants.
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