Growing Tomatoes in your Home Vegetable Garden
Growing Tomatoes in my home vegetable is my absolute favorite task of the spring.
You can grow your tomatoes in garden containers, in raised beds or in the ground.
There are many different varieties of tomatoes you can grow. Depending upon the variety you choose to plant, the size, color and flavor will be different for each variety.
- Green Zebra
- Better Boy
- Early Girl
- Cherokee Purple
- Yellow Pear
- Black Cherry
My absolute favorite tomato variety is the Cherry Tomatoes that bear red fruit and are tear drop shaped. There are several types of cherry tomatoes. Each may produce fruit that are different shapes and sizes such as round or pear shaped. No matter what kind you choose, I've never tasted a bad cherry tomato.
Starting the Tomato Seeds
- Start growing tomato seeds indoors in peat pots exposing them to plenty of sunlight during the day. Start the seeds about 8 weeks before you expect the last frost of the season. By keeping the seeded peat pots warm and moist, you should have tomato sprouts within 7 days.
- Begin to transplant your tomato plants when they are approximately 6 to 8 weeks old and harden them off by gradual exposure to the outdoors. Start with only a couple hours a day for at least a week before planting in your home vegetable garden.
- Make sure to plant the tomatoes in full sun, in well drained garden soil. Plant the tomatoes deeper than the containers leaving only the top leaves above the surface. The plant will take root and grow from the buried section of the plant. Plant at least 18 inches apart as the tomatoes will need plenty of room to grow and you'll need room to place the tomato cages.
- If you choose to buy your plants at a local nursery, the same TLC is needed when planting. Only transplant in your home vegetable garden after they are about 6 inches tall and after the last frost of the season.
- If you and your family love tomatoes as much as I do, plant two plants per person that loves tomatoes. If you plan to use the tomatoes in canning, plant four per person.
Harvesting the Tomatos
- When it's harvest time, you can harvest before the tomato is totally ripe. Place it in the sun and it will ripen on your kitchen counter. The flavor of tomatoes are negatively impacted by temperatures below 55 degrees. To retain the rich, juicy flavor of your tomatoes, don't put in the refrigerator.
Tips for Tomato Garden Pests and Diseases
- Love to drink coffee? Spray your tomato plants with coffee and it's effective in killing the pests while not harming your plants.
- You can also use basil as a companion plant amongst the tomatoes. Basil when planted 12-14 inches from your tomatoes will repel those pesky insects and enhance the flavor of your fruit.
- Borage helps improve the flavor and repels those nasty tomato worms.
- Marigold puts off a pungent odor to repel many insect pests. They also deter nematodes from attacking your growing tomatoes. It's best to grow the marigolds and till them into the garden soil at the end of the growing season.
Watering the Tomatoes
- Water plants early in the morning so it has ample time to dry throughout the day to reduce the chance of mold and fungus forming on the plants. Don't water spraying the entire plant from above as you will increase the chance of mold and fungus forming. Water at the bottom of the plant, the roots will soak it up and nourish the entire plant.
- Water the growing tomatoes regularly and be consistent. If you miss the regular watering time and try to make up for it, it can lead to blossom end rot and cracking in the fruit. Too much water is just as bad as not enough water.
- Never eat anything but the fruit of a tomato. The tomato vines are highly poisonous.
May God Richly Bless Your Growing Tomatoes!!!
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