I know, I know…..
It’s cold, winter hasn’t even officially started yet, it’s not even Christmas so why am posting an article about tomatoes?!?
Because if you are a gardener and you grow tomatoes… Or if you want to be a gardener and grow tomatoes…. It’s always the right time to be thinking about it.
If you are reading this, it is obvious you use tomatoes when preparing your meals. Tomatoes are a favorite in recipes because of their flavor and the fact that they are rich in nutrients. In fact, it doesn’t matter whether you eat them raw or you cook them first; you will still benefit from the nutrients that are contained in the vegetable. (Botanically they are a fruit but they are classified as a vegetable.) But did you know how easy it is to grow tomatoes at home? Growing them in your backyard or garden can help you save money and reward you with the best tomatoes. If you have enough room growing tomatoes can be a profitable venture that doesn’t require a lot of work. There are people who make hundreds if not thousands of dollars by growing tomatoes and selling them in local markets. Here’s a primer on growing tomatoes.
1. You can start with seeds or seedlings
you want to start growing tomatoes, you have the option of either planting the
seeds in a nursery bed or buying seedlings that are ready to be transferred
into a garden. If you want to create your own nursery bed, you will need to buy
certified seeds from the local agricultural or garden shop. Certified seeds are
usually the best because they are modified to be resistant to certain diseases.
Tomatoes grow best in full sun but you need to acclimate them slowly. Whether purchased from a nursery or your own seedlings, about 10 days before planting in the garden start putting them outside in full sun, going from a few hours to all day.
2. You can plant them anywhere
Some people will tell you that you need a large area for planting tomatoes. You can actually grow tomatoes in any size space. Tomatoes, especially the smaller varieties will grow well in large pots on your balcony or deck. They will need to be watered more frequently and staked carefully but will give you lots of fresh tomatoes.
3. They grow in about three months
normally mature in about three months but it varies by type. They like to be
kept free of weeds, but careful hoeing once a week will easily take care of
After flowering (45 – 50 days) you will see the tiny green tomatoes forming. After another 20 – 30 days the tomatoes will start ripening. With the all the heirloom tomatoes available today your ripe tomatoes may be red or white or yellow or orange or even green. You can pick them when their color is almost completely changed.
4. They require fertilizer
Tomatoes tend to be heavy feeders. If not given enough food the plant can be stunted, producing few or small tomatoes. It’s recommended that you feed them regularly, with a food like Dr JimZ tomato fertilizer to boost their growth. When you apply fertilizer to your tomatoes at the beginning of the planting season, they will definitely yield good size tomatoes that are firm and flavorful.
5. You have to water them regularly
cannot thrive when they don’t get enough water. The need about an inch per week
unless it is very hot, when twice that may be needed. It’s best to water them
every 2 or 3 days. Early mornings or late evenings are the best times because
the soil will absorb all the water. Watering them at midday is a mistake as the
moisture will be evaporated by the sun. A drip irrigation system makes watering
easy and eco-friendly as the water can go directly to the root automatically
without your intervention.
It’s also important to apply mulching to help retain moisture in the soil. You can use artificial mulch material, grass clipping or raked leaves.
6. You may need pesticides
If you keep your garden clean and relatively free of weeds and other debris you may not ever need to use commercial pesticides. But it can happen. There are many pests, including worms and weevils, which attack tomatoes depending on where you live. If it happens, check with your garden store to learn the best course of treatment so that you don’t lose your entire crop.