Tomatoes are the easiest homegrown vegetable. With some proper caring measures gardening tomatoes is an easy but challenging job. This is exactly why I chose tomatoes for my first trial in my kitchen garden. I have my kitchen garden set up on the terrace where some space is available.
You need not be an expert to grow tomatoes but you cannot afford to be ignorant about it. Tomatoes need proper care and nourishment and they will reward you with plenty of juicy tomatoes. Even though gardening tomatoes are easy one must be aware of some tricks for their growth. It helps develop the plants faster and heavier.
From the basics
The quality of the soil also plays a major role. Prepare the soil at the selected spot or go for the potting mix and a spacious pot or container.
I used the tomatoes from kitchen to start my plants. Cut thin slices of tomatoes so that the seeds are exposed. Place them on the soil and then cover them with another layer of soil. Make sure that you cover them properly and that the seeds are not exposed while watering.
Insert the tomato seedling deeper into the soil while transplanting. A tomato plant can develop the root along the stem that is underground. The deeper root system can support the heavier harvest.
I have 2-3 plants in the same pot as per the space availability. But, do not grow more than 3 in the same container. Having more plants close by helps with pollination and you will get more tomatoes.
Useful tips while growing tomatoes
- Bright airy spot
- Plant up to the first leaves on the stem to initiate rooting faster, while transplanting the seedlings.
- Deep but infrequent watering on the soil not on leaves
- Prune the no fruiting branches to redirect the focus on to the fruiting parts
- Add organic compost for healthier growing
- Plant the tomato plants within a gap of 3 weeks so that there is always a new set to harvest and it does not end in a single cycle. Wait until the fruits are fully ripened before harvesting.
Sun is a major factor!
Choose a sunny spot with a lot of aeration for growing tomatoes. When I say sunny, it means that the plant needs a good duration of direct sunlight falling on them. If the plant does not get enough direct sunlight, it would grow but would not produce flowers thus, no fruits either!
- Watering: The watering for tomato gardening is deep to the soil than on to the plant itself. The soil needs moisture all the time and do not let it dry.
- When growing on the ground, mulching is a good idea for tomatoes. Put a layer of mulch comprised of straw, grass, etc help the soil retain moisture in the hot days. Plastic mulch keeps the soil moist and warm that helps during the cooler climate.
- Fertilizing the tomato plants should be by liquid nutrients so that they get absorbed easily. Feed the nutrients as per the growth stage for successful tomato gardening. Homemade compost is the best option. I fertilize the plants once in 10 days.
- Pruning the non-fruiting parts such as dead leaves and the shoot is important in gardening tomatoes. Pruning encourages sprouting and helps in more blooming and fruiting. Care must be taken as certain varieties of tomatoes cannot tolerate regular pruning. Pruning during fall helps the sunlight reach the fruits.
- Providing a support system to the tomato plants helps it to retain its position even when there are lush growth and heavy fruiting. When the plant gets the support it is encouraged to develop as many fruits as possible.
- Use diluted neem oil for protecting the foliage from infections. You must spray it as soon as the seedlings are fairly rooted and before there are any spots or discoloration due to infections. Once the infection starts, it is difficult to eliminate them. Prevention is better than a cure!
Enjoy growing tomatoes. Your happiness will reflect on plant growth. When the plant is happy it will grow great and develop a number of fruits that are juicy and healthy. Choose the disease resistant variety so that the efforts are not spoiled.
Hybrid varieties are prone to diseases and may be avoided. With proper care and regular nutrition, gardening tomatoes is easy and one can have the healthy tomatoes at the table right from your own garden.