Our How-To Guide for Growing Tomatoes

A simple guide for growing your own tomatoes

Growing tomatoes can be a lot of fun, and it’s pretty easy to get started! Tomatoes are relatively simple to grow and don’t require a whole heap of attention to begin producing fruit. This makes them an excellent plant to grow for families with kids. Growing tomatoes is a great way to get kids interested in gardening, teach them about the seasons, and let them see how a seed can grow into a plant that produces fruit! Below is a simple guide for tomato growing.

Step 1: Choose your position

The first step in growing tomatoes is to choose a good position for your plants. Tomatoes need plenty of sunlight, so make sure you plant them in an area that gets plenty of direct sun during the day. They also prefer well-drained soil. If your garden has heavy clay soil, you may instead like to try planting your tomatoes in a raised bed or container and placing appropriate soil in these. You can grow tomatoes directly in the ground or in containers. Growing tomatoes in containers can make them easier to move about and relocate as needed.

Step 2: Select the type of tomato

There are many different tomato varieties to choose between. From those that produce small fruits to plants that produce large tomatoes, there are lots of options, and choosing which ones to grow will depend on personal preference. Common varieties include Grosse Lisse, Mama’s Delight, Tom Thumb, and Sweet Bite. If you’re after small cherry tomatoes, then you may like to plant Tom Thumb or Sweet Bite varieties. Alternatively, if you want medium to large tomatoes, you may instead prefer to grow varieties like Grosse Lisee and Mama’s Delight. Many tomato varieties require staking (particularly those that grow very tall) so also take into account the full-grown size of any potential tomato plants you wish to grow.

Step 3: Planting your tomatoes

Tomatoes can be grown directly in the ground or in pots, grown from seed or from seedlings. The below steps will be following how to grow a tomato plant from a seedling.

Choose the right type of soil

Tomatoes are hardy plants, and grow pretty well in most soil types. They prefer well-draining soil that’s slightly acidic, but this isn’t a must. If you find your garden has clay soil that’s difficult to plant in, you may like to create a built-up garden. Growing tomatoes in pots is another option. Tomato plants tend to grow well in pots, so this can also work well if you only have a balcony or other small garden for growing your plants.

Plant your plant

The next step is to dig a hole. Make the hole larger than the root ball of your plant and deep enough that your plant will sit at ground level. Be sure to not place too many tomato seedlings close together, and give them plenty of space to spread out as they grow. Massage the roots of your tomato seedling and place it in the spot. Cover over the roots with the remaining soil, and bring a little of the soil up the stems. Doing this can help your plants grow more roots.

Fertilise and water

Sprinkle a small amount of organic fertiliser around the plant, rather than placing it in the hole. Tomatoes generally don’t require a lot of fertilising to begin producing fruit, so just a small amount should suffice. Once you’ve planted your tomatoes, give the seedling a thorough water.

Step 4: Caring for your tomato plant

So, how do you take care of tomato plants? Well, it’s relatively simple. Tomatoes are pretty easy to care for, which is one of the reasons they’re such a great choice for those who are just starting their gardening adventure. Generally, you should try to water your tomato plants at least 3 times a week, however, you may like to increase this number during particularly hot and dry spells. Plants that are grown in pots will generally require a little more water than those growing in the ground, so keep this in mind if you have potted tomatoes. Don’t over-prune your tomato plants, but do try to remove stems that begin to grow in the fork of two other stems. These will just take energy away from the plant’s fruit production. Remember to stake your plants if they begin to grow tall, to give them added support.

Step 5: Harvesting your tomatoes

Once established and fruiting, the really exciting part of your tomato growing journey begins: harvesting. Depending on the size of your seedlings, your plants should begin producing fruit within 2-3 months of planting. During this fruiting time, keep an eye on your tomatoes and harvest them when they reach the desired size. Be sure to pick them regularly so the plant doesn’t stop producing fruit. If you end up with a large crop, consider freezing some of your tomatoes to use later in the year. You can also turn any excess into sauces and salsas, using the surplus as an opportunity to learn new recipes!

Additional tips for growing tomatoes

  • Don’t grow your tomatoes in the same spot they were planted last year. Tomatoes like to be rotated, so don’t plant them in a part of the garden that has recently had tomatoes growing in it.
  • Water your tomato plants deeply, and try to do so in the morning.
  • Only mulch your tomatoes during the warmer months.
  • When tying your plants to a stake or lattice, use cloth strips or soft ties. Metal and other harsher ties can damage the growing stems. Don’t secure the stems too tightly to the stakes.

Tomato plants are generally pretty simple to grow, making them a great first choice for those getting started with gardening. There are many different options to choose from, and they can be grown in pots or directly in the ground of a garden. So, what are you waiting for? Get planting and enjoy fresh tomatoes from your very own garden.

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