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How to Grow Tomatoes


By Prev Info - January 14, 2023

How to Grow Tomatoes

Everything is lined up for a beautiful fresh tomato sauce. It will only take a few minutes to cook, but this meal has been months in the making.

How to Grow Tomatoes

1 - Start seeds six to seven weeks before your last frost. For my area, that means the end of February or the first part of March. Sure, you could buy plants in April when it is time to plant, but if you start your own, you'll have hundreds of varieties to choose from, instead of a handful, plus you'll save a lot of money, if you plan to plant several.

How to Grow Tomatoes

2 - About a week after you plant them, you'll have tiny sprouts. Keep the germination tray moist and keep the light as close to the seedlings as possible.

How to Grow Tomatoes

3 - In another week to ten days, you will see the first true leaves open (the first two are called "nurse leaves"). When the first set is fully formed and you can see the beginnings of the second set, it is time to transplant from the germination tray to larger containers.

How to Grow Tomatoes

4 - When you transplant, bury the entire stem of the seedling right up to the nurse leaves. Here I am using professional flats. They're a little hard to find, but when you do, they're cheap and very efficient on your shelf space. This picture was taken about a week after potting up. You can see the nurse leaves right at the soil surface.

How to Grow Tomatoes

5 - Just like when you pot up, when you transplant to the garden you want to bury most of the stem. Pinch off the nurse leaves and one or two more and bury them up to the second or third set. Three things are important when you set your plants out; soil fertility, spacing and support. I use a handful of organic fertilizer in each planting hole. Don't crowd your plants. I've gone from two feet to three feet to four feet. Each time I give them more room, they do better. In this picture I am using a trellis netting to support the tomatoes. I've tried this and cages (see next shot) and can't decide which is better. Trellised tomatoes are easier to pick, but tying them up seems like a never-ending job.

How to Grow Tomatoes

6 - Here's a homemade tomato cage that is supporting the plant well, but it sometimes takes contortionist moves to reach a ripe tomato or do any pruning. I may give the trellis another chance next year. The point is, you will have to support the plants, whether by trellis, cage or other method.

How to Grow Tomatoes

7 - It will seem to take forever for the first green tomatoes to ripen. I've done it for years, and it still drives me nuts. Don't worry, unless you're in a serious drought and/or heat wave, once they start ripening, you'll be covered the rest of the season.

How to Grow Tomatoes

8 - I avoid using pesticides and herbicides around my garden. This little guy will eat his weight in bad bugs everyday, but he'll die if I start squirting bug killer every time I see a hole in a leaf.

How to Grow Tomatoes

9 - There are tomatoes for slicing and tomatoes for cooking. The beauty of life is that you can cook with slicers, and paste tomatoes are pretty darn good fresh off the vine, too.

How to Grow Tomatoes

10 - One of my favorite tomatoes is a yellow and red striped tomato that I have been growing for years from seed first obtained from my mother-in-law's neighbor. That's a real heirloom...no name, just a story.

How to Grow Tomatoes

11 - As anyone can tell you, once you grow (and eat) your own tomatoes, you'll never look at a supermarket tomato the same way.

How to Grow Tomatoes





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