For gardeners who are looking to make their vegetable patch truly bountiful, growing tomatoes is a must.
But with so many varieties and so many potential pitfalls, how do you ensure that your tomatoes will produce the best yields?
Here are 10 tips for growing tons of tomatoes that will have you harvesting bushels of juicy, delicious fruits in no time!
1: Pick the right type
Choosing the right variety of tomatoes is essential for a successful harvest.
You’ll want to select varieties best suited to your climate and those that are known for their disease resistance.
If you live in a cooler climate, look for tomatoes with short growing season requirements so they can still produce fruit in summer even if the temperatures rise too high.
For hotter regions, opt for heat-tolerant varieties.
And don’t forget about flavor! Pick tomatoes that promise superior taste and heavy yields, or you won’t be fully satisfied with your harvest.
As always, research the different varieties available at your local garden center before making your decision.
2: Did you give warmth and light?
Tomatoes love and need plenty of heat and sunshine to thrive.
If your tomato plants don’t get enough hours of direct sunlight each day, they won’t produce as much fruit as they could.
Make sure they get at least six hours of direct sunlight each day and that the soil temperature is at least 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 18°C).
If there is not enough sun in the garden, you can put tomato plants on a sunny window sill inside the house or use grow lights indoors.
Furthermore, tomatoes need warm soil temperatures for their roots to develop properly.
You can warm the soil ahead of time using black plastic or with a cold frame if needed.
3: Grow correctly?
Tomatoes need the right growing conditions to thrive.
The soil should be well-draining and have a pH of 6.0 to 6.8.
If you’re planting tomatoes in your garden, make sure it has enough organic matter before planting—add plenty of aged manure or compost, which will help with retaining moisture during the heat of summer.
Tomato plants also need space between them—leave at least two feet (60cm) between each plant to encourage good airflow and reduce the threat of disease.
Furthermore, tomatoes love and need plenty of warmth and sunshine.
With the right growing conditions, you can enjoy delicious, ripe tomatoes all summer long!
4: Did you burrow deep and provide support?
When it comes to growing tomatoes, planting deeply and providing support are key.
Make sure you plant the tomato plants deeply in the soil—up to their bottom few leaves—as they root along their stems. This helps them develop stronger roots and become more resilient.
Staking or caging your tomato plants is also important, as it supports the weight of the fruit that can easily weigh down the branches.
For determinate varieties, stake them when they reach about two feet tall, while indeterminate varieties should be staked when they reach a few inches tall.
You’ll want to use sturdy stakes or cages so that your tomato plants are firmly supported throughout the season. With these simple steps, your tomatoes will have plenty of support and room to grow!
5: Have you mulched your tomatoes?
Mulching is an important step for growing tomatoes. Mulch helps conserve moisture, which tomatoes love, and keeps soil-borne disease spores from being splashed up onto the plants.
Mulch your garden with pine bark, straw, leaves or grass clippings.
Tomatoes can fruit 12-20% more with red plastic.
Make sure you spread your mulch around your tomato plants in a 2-3 inch layer, leaving at least 4 inches between the mulch and the stem of the plant.
This helps keep it away from diseases and pests that can harm the plant.
Remember to add extra mulch during dry weather throughout the season so that your tomatoes can stay hydrated!
6: Remove leaves and suckers?
Removing leaves and suckers is an important step in getting your tomato plants to produce lots of fruit.
Leaves and suckers should be removed from the lower part of the tomato plant, especially when they are still small (less than 2 inches tall).
This will help direct energy towards growing more tomatoes instead of producing vegetation.
You can pinch or snip off the leaves and suckers with your fingers or a pair of scissors.
Make sure to remove any leaves that are touching the ground, as this can increase the chance of disease infecting your plants.
Also, make sure not to leave any green fruit on the plant that isn’t ripening – it will take away from other fruits that could mature properly.
Removing leaves and suckers may seem like a daunting task, but it’s worth it for bigger and better tomatoes!
7: Did You Water Consistently?
Watering is essential for tomato plants to produce a good crop of tomatoes.
When the soil or potting mix is dry, it’s time to water.
Aim for 1 to 2 inches of water per week. It’s important to be consistent with your watering schedule, as inconsistent watering can lead to split tomatoes and other problems. When you water, make sure that the moisture reaches all parts of the soil surface and not just the top layer.
You should also avoid getting any leaves or green fruit wet when watering as this can increase the chance of disease infecting your plants.
Wilting foliage is normal; just don’t delay watering.
With consistent watering and some TLC, your tomato plants will reward you with tons of delicious tomatoes!
8: Did you provide them with enough food?
Feeding your tomato plants is key to a successful harvest. T
tomatoes are heavy feeders and need plenty of nutrients to reach their full potential.
Start by applying a slow-release organic fertilizer when planting, or regular liquid feeds using a product specifically formulated for tomatoes.
This will provide them with the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium they need to grow healthy. You can also add bonemeal to the soil which provides extra calcium.
Make sure to check pH levels before using bonemeal as it will be less effective if the soil has a pH of 7 or higher.
To further boost growth, you can supplement your regular fertilizer with high-nitrogen soil additives or rotted manure.
Finally, monitor your tomato plants regularly and adjust the feedings according to their needs throughout the season. With proper feeding and care, you’ll be harvesting delicious tomatoes in no time!
9: Protect against disease?
Growing tomatoes can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to be aware of the diseases that can affect your crops.
Prevention is always better than cure, so make sure you take the necessary steps to defend against any potential issues.
Start by planting disease-resistant varieties and avoid planting tomatoes in the same spot year after year.
Regularly check your plants for signs of disease such as discolored or rotting leaves, wilting plants, or yellowing fruit, and take action if you notice anything unusual.
Spacing your tomato plants correctly will also help to reduce the risk of disease spreading between them.
Finally, keep an eye on the weather conditions and be prepared to cover or protect your crop in case of heavy rain or strong winds which can spread diseases quickly.
By following these simple steps, you’ll have a healthy tomato harvest all season long!
10: Did you save the best flavor?
Harvesting and storing tomatoes properly is essential for ensuring maximum flavor. Start by picking ripe tomatoes in the afternoon when the warmth of the sun has developed all those rich aromas.
Make sure to handle them with care and avoid bruising or damaging them as this can affect their flavor.
If you want to store your tomatoes for later use, then choose firm unripe ones and place them in a single layer on a plate or tray at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
They should be ready to eat within a few days, but if you need to keep them longer, then wrap each tomato individually in newspaper and store them in a cool dark place for up to two weeks. However, it’s best to enjoy your tomatoes as soon as possible for the best flavor!