Growing Tomatoes

Tomato plant

Fresh tomatoes are one of the most delicious additions to any salad or sandwich, as well as on their own. The problem is the tomatoes in the supermarket don’t always have that fresh taste. Farmer’s markets are the best place to buy tomatoes, but even better is having your own tomato plants. The great part is you can grow them pretty much anywhere. I grow them out on my balcony and they thrive.

There are some key things to keep in mind about tomato plants when growing them to ensure that they grow strong and produce a plethora of fruit for you.

1.    Tomato plants love and need sunlight. They should be getting at least 7 hours of direct sunlight a day. 14-18 hours under a grow light.

2.    Tomato plants love water. Water them consistently and daily. Do not let them completely dry out or your fruit may not be as tasty as you were hoping.

3.    It is important for tomato plants to grow a strong stem.  Having them in a breezy location will allow this to happen naturally, however another option is to put a fan on them for 5-10 min a couple of times a day when they are first growing. This makes the balcony a great place because it generally gets a pretty good breeze.

 

4.    Tomato plants need support or the weight of the fruit may become too much for them to bear. Tomato cages are inexpensive and easy to use.

5.    Use fertilizer that is meant for tomato plants or use compost. Tomato plants need a very balanced fertilizer.

6.    Plant the plants deep either in the ground or the pot, up to the first set of leaves even. This will allow the plants to grow stronger.

7.    Clip off the bottom leaves once the plant is about 3 feet high. This will help ward off fungal dieses. It is not recommended you do this once your plant is fruit bearing.

Tomato plants are notorious for producing more then you can eat, so use those extra tomatoes to make friends with your neighbors. Who wouldn’t love a basket of fresh tomatoes? You could also can them, freeze them, or make them into a sauce to use later. No matter what you do, don’t let them go to waste and do not refrigerate them to keep them fresh longer. This will pull all of the flavor out of the tomato and all your hard work will just go down the drain. There is only a short amount of time that you get to enjoy what a tomato should really taste like, instead of using them strictly for color or vitamins, so grab a hold of the chance and enjoy them!


There are so many websites available that offer advice on growing tomato plants, and what type of plants you should grow for where you are. Here are two sites that I found helpful when getting ready to grow my plants:
http://www.helpfulgardener.com/
http://www.weekendgardener.net/