Tomato Growing Tips In the Garden
- Choose multiple, good varieties. If you have the space I recommend planting 3-4 varieties and more if you have the space. Some varieties will thrive in your garden while others may suffer. Disease resistance is another consideration with many modern hybrids offering disease resistances that help the average gardener succeed. Keep a log to help you remember what plants did well and which did not and in a few years you will notice higher rates of success.
- Tomatoes are a warm weather crop. Cold soil will stunt your tomato plants reducing yield and possibly even killing them. Ideally nighttime temperatures should be around 13°C but likely will survive anything short of a frost. Remember surviving is not thriving. Harden plants off before planting in the garden. This means gradually getting your plants accustomed to direct sunlight, wind, and cool temperatures and often requires you to bring them inside for the night in the early season.
- Once your plants are ready for transplant find a spot with rich soil and direct full sun. A well maintained garden amended with well rotted manure and compost should provide the tomato plant with most if not all of its needs. Fertilizing a few times a year with a high calcium formula can really help things along but don’t over do it.
- Plant your tomatoes deep. Don’t be afraid to bury a good portion of the stem. Tomatoes readily develop more roots from buried stems. This will help produce a more robust drought tolerant plant over the course of the season.
- Garlic, Basil and Nasturtiums make good companion plants.
- Its best to water Tomatoes little and often to encourage consistent growth. This will also help to reduce the incidence of split fruit. Ideally you water the ground and keep plants dry whenever possible. This will also help prevent the spread of disease.
- In my opinion staking, caging, or growing tomatoes on the ground is a matter of preference. How much space do you have? How much work are you willing to do? Are you concerned with absolutely maximizing yield or do you just want a garden? Personally I like to stake plants growing a single stem or possibly 2 up a stake. This requires that you sucker your plant. See the How to section of this website to learn how.
- Keeping your plants pruned and cleaned of bottom leaves increases airflow and can reduce the incidence of disease.
- Harvesting some of the more interesting varieties can be a challenge. Most people struggle immensely with green tomatoes and other off coloured varieties. The best advice I can give is unfortunately trial and error. With such a wide variety of options available there is no standard rule that I know of.