Ah, tomatoes, how I love thee. This delectable fruit is my absolute favorite crop to grow. I always grow far too many. If it’s possible to grow too many tomatoes.
However, despite the fact that I love growing them, and usually have a decent crop. Sometimes, I don’t and even when I do, I’m horrible at knowing what I did right. That’s where Anna over at the Northern Homestead comes in. Having trouble knowing what to do to get an awesome tomato crop? Not any more.
These 7 steps will absolutely help you grow some awesome tomatoes. So, I’ll hand it over to Anna.
7 Steps To Grow Awesome Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a fruit that you grow in a vegetable garden, that must be the reason why it is so much fun to grow them ;). Or maybe it is the aroma and taste, or all the colors and types. Anyways, growing tomatoes is rewarding and fun, and growing awesome tomatoes is easier than you might think.
- Grow heirloom tomatoes
Hybrid plants are made for disease resistance, and will look more perfect, but often taste plainer. If you want to grow awesome tomatoes, go heirloom.
- Buy seeds from local growers
The plant has what the seed gives. If you have seeds from a different climate, your plant will have to adjust to your climate first. So if somehow possible, get quality seeds from somewhere close to you. Here is more on getting seeds.
- Don’t start too early
To extend the growing season most of us will have to start tomatoes indoors. But do not start to early. Start seeds 6 – 8 weeks before you can plant the plants out. Too early started plants only get leggy and/or root bound, both of which are not good. It is better to have a young healthy plant for the transplant than a huge one that is already somehow suffering.
- Use normal potting soil
No, you do not need any miracle grow, nor any root enhancer. The truth is that what you start your plant with is what it will want later, too. So start your tomato seedlings in normal but good quality potting soil. Later, when transplanting the seedlings you are doing well by adding some good composted manure. The plants will love that.
- Provide light
Tomatoes are a summer crop, and even if we start them early they need a summer like environment. So your sunniest window or a grow light would be great. If your spring is not freezing cold, they can be started in a greenhouse or even in little greenhouses made out of milk jugs. Light is very important, otherwise the seedlings will get leggy, so give them light.
- Provide warmth
Tomatoes are a summer crop; they do not like it cold or wet. In order to be able to grow awesome tomatoes you have to create an environment they like. If you have lots of rain then give them a roof, if you have lots of wind, give them protection, and if you are like us up north, build them a greenhouse. Make sure to provide the warmth they need.
- Prune the plants
Tomato plants go wild if you let them (only determinate or draft plants do not). It does not matter if you prune them to a single stem or let them grow to a bush pruning only the height of them. I prefer the single stem. By pruning you will get bigger tomatoes and earlier.
Anna is a passionate home gardener, real foodie, wife and mom.
Her Blog Northern Homestead is a about urban homesteading in a cold climate (Zone 3A). Growing, raising, preserving, and preparing real food, along with some food for thoughts. They are currently doing a growing tomato challenge that will help you even more to grow awesome tomatoes.