Fruit, herbs and vegetables are a great way to utilize any backyard garden. These plants and trees help create a beautiful space that also helps to keep your grocery bill under control. One of the most common backyard veggies is the tomato. Here is a quick guide to growing and caring for your tomato plants!
With lots of varieties to choose from, tomato plant shopping can be a bit overwhelming. What we recommend is that you keep your intended use in mind.
Whether you want cherry tomatoes for salad toppings, slicing tomatoes for sandwiches or paste tomatoes for making sauce, this part is simple – Select a tomato type based on what you like to eat.
Find a place in the garden or yard that is in full sun. Once the May long weekend has passed the temperatures usually hold hot enough for tomatoes to survive outside.
If planting in the ground or garden bed, loosen the soil with a shovel. Remove all grass and weeds. Once the soil is prepared it’s time to plant.
Plant spacing varies, depending on the variety of tomato, but, as a general rule, space 24 to 36 inches apart in rows 4 to 5 feet apart. Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball and deep enough so that the top of the root ball is even with the soil line. Backfill the hole with soil and gently pack the dirt around the stem with your hands.
Water thoroughly after planting, and then put support structures like stakes, or cages in place. This will help promote verticle growth and keep bugs and diseases off of your plants. It also makes it easier to find and pick the tomatoes when it comes time to harvest.
Tomatoes require 1 to 2 inches of water per week. To encourage a healthy root system, water infrequently but deeply, rather than daily and lightly.
Fertilize plants every 4 to 6 weeks throughout the growing season to keep them consistently fed and able to produce juicy tomatoes all summer.
Pruning tomatoes encourages healthy production and provides better airflow between plants. This is a great way to ensure healthy growth all summer long. Keep your tomatoes pruned by pinching off suckers — the small shoots that grow in the area between the trunks and stems of a tomato plant. Always pinch suckers as they emerge for the best results.
This takes time and can be tedious throughout the season but it’s worth the trouble!
To remove your tomatoes, simply twist the tomato on the vine. You could use pruning shears to cut the stem as well.
You will know it’s time to harvest when the tomato feels firm but not rock hard. The tomato should have a little give in it when you apply pressure. If it’s not quite ripe enough, leave it on a windowsill for a day or two to allow it completely ripen. Otherwise, enjoy the fruits of your labour right away!
It’s not too late to get tomatoes in the ground. You will be enjoying their production all summer and into the early fall.
Fora Outdoor Living is currently running a sale on all veggies! Tomatoes, and all other veggies at 50% off from June 23rd until June 30th, 2022.
Come in and grab all the varieties you can. You will be so happy you did!