Thursday, March 24, 2011

Growing Tips for Tomato Garden

Roma Tomatoes: Image credit Wikipedia Commons


Growing a tomato garden will enable you to enjoy all the culinary and health benefits of  this delicious fruit.  

There is nothing better than picking a vine ripe tomato when it is plump, red and juicy.  One bite and you know that your labor of overseeing your garden was well worth it.  



I grow Beef Steak and Big Boy tomatoes for salads, sandwiches and salsa, my husband grows Roma tomatoes for Italian sauces.  We both enjoy the flavor of the tomatoes and we like that tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and Lycopene.  Tomatoes are nature’s way to keep your body healthy.   

If you want to improve your health by preventing your risk of some cancers then grow and eat tomatoes. 



Gather garden supplies for growing tomatoes:
Tiller
Compost
Tomato plants
Shovel
Stakes or cages
Irrigation with timer
Pruning shears
Garden gloves
Mulch
Tomato fertilizer spikes





Decide on the type of tomato that you would like to grow.  Many people like to eat tomatoes raw and some like to prepare culinary dishes with tomatoes.  The choice is yours to choose your tomato plants based on your needs.  

When you decide on the type of tomatoes you would like to grow you need to next decide if you want to grow them from seed or from a nursery grown container plant.  

If it is early in the season you could start your seeds inside; sow garden seeds 6 to 8 weeks prior to planting outdoors.  A plant tomato outdoors after the danger of spring frost has past and the ground has warmed.

Over the years I have had my share of ups and downs when it came to growing tomatoes and I will admit that I learned how to grow this fruit the hard way.  I learned that in order to grow tomatoes you must meet all of the tomato requirements.  


Tomatoes like it hot so select a garden site that is located in full sun.  A minimum of eight hours per day will keep your plants healthy and the fruit will be large.  Tomatoes also like well drained humus soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.8.  A good way to achieve a good soil for your tomato plants is to add compost or manure to your soil. 

Care for your tomato plants by applying organic mulch; pine needles, or grass clippings around the tomato plants.  The mulch will help to aid in moisture control, deter weed growth and will enrich the soil with nutrients.  

Water your tomatoes plants daily in the morning with drip irrigation.  When tomatoes start to grow the stems will weaken and will need to be staked or caged for support.  Tomatoes plants will grow to the height of 3 to 10 feet. 
Tips:
  1. Remove the suckers that grow out in-between the branches.   These suckers will compete for nutrients and will weaken the fruit growth.  Pinch off the suckers.
  2. Refrain from overcrowding and space tomato plants three feet apart.
  3. Fertilize tomatoes once a month throughout the growing season.
  4. Tomatoes need one inch of water per week, do not allow them to dry out.  Better if soil is evenly moist by not wet.
Warnings:
  1. Cracked or deformed tomatoes are due to not enough water.




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