Store-bought tomatoes can’t hold a candle to those you grow in your own garden. Tomatoes that ripen fully on the vine before harvest are unparalleled in texture and flavor, so it is worth learning how to grow them yourself.
Here are some expert tips for getting the best results.
1. Start with great soil
Your soil is where your plant will live and gather its nutrients. Growing a Greener World says nothing beats using rich compost to improve your soil. In fact, you can grow your tomatoes in pure compost. Good soil helps your plant thrive and wards off diseases and pests naturally.
2. Choose the right location
Tomatoes need full sun to produce fruit. Rodale’s Organic Life says 10 hours of direct sunlight each day is best, and be sure to space your plants so air can circulate between them.
3. Plant deeply
When you transplant your tomato seedlings into the garden, remove the bottom pair of leaves and plant deeply enough to bury the stem up to the next set of leaves, Rodale’s Organic Life advises. The small “hairs” along the stem will eventually become roots and the more, the better.
4.Give the right support
Tall indeterminate tomatoes will need to be staked and strongly supported using stakes or cages, says Tomato Envy. Once you choose your preferred method, install the supports immediately after transplanting when the seedlings are small. Waiting longer can potentially damage the establishing root system.
Tomatoes require consistent, deep watering to keep their extensive root systems healthy. Avoid overhead watering or getting the foliage wet since this makes plants more prone to disease. Growing a Greener World advises using a soaker hose or drip irrigation. These systems deliver water directly to the roots where it is needed while keeping the leaves dry.
6. Pinch off the suckers
Suckers are the small shoots that form at the juncture of two larger branches. Rodale’s Organic Life recommends pinching these off regularly, as pruning will direct the plant’s energy to producing larger and higher-quality fruit.