Tomatoes need lots of sun to thrive and produce a big harvest. Choose a sunny location where your tomatoes receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
When transplanting seedlings, plant them about 30-46″ apart. This spacing will allow their roots room to spread.
Planting tomatoes can be challenging, but with a little planning and the right tools it is possible. The best time to start tomato seeds indoors is between 6-8 weeks before your average last frost date (for example, in my gardening zone z4b, that would be March).
In order to germinate, tomatoes need to have a constant temperature of at least 60 degrees. This can be achieved by placing your containers in a warm spot on a heating mat or in the fridge if you live in colder climates.
The best tomato seed varieties are those that promise an early and heavy harvest, a superior taste and resistance to diseases such as blight. To choose the best tomato seed for your garden, read the descriptions carefully and pick out varieties that seem promising.
Once your tomato plants have established their roots, transplant them into larger pots once they reach about 2 or 3 inches tall. When repotting, thin out any crowded seedlings using scissors at the soil line so that they can develop a strong root system.
Soil preparation is a must when planting tomatoes to ensure they grow to their full potential. It includes adding organic matter, fertilizing the soil and watering effectively.
The best way to amend your soil is by adding lots of compost. This will add all the nutrients tomato plants need to thrive, while also improving drainage. It also helps any fertilizer you add stay in the soil where it’s needed.
It’s also important to test the pH of your soil before you plant. Tomatoes do best in soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8.
You can get a cheap soil tester at your local garden center or online. A pH meter is quick and easy to use and can give you accurate readings that can be used to adjust your soil’s pH level.
Watering tomato plants is a necessary step to help them develop a strong root system. Without adequate moisture, a plant will often develop weak stems and wilt or produce few fruits.
The amount of water a tomato plant needs will vary by location and individual plant. It is best to assess the soil before watering and adjust as you go rather than sticking to a fixed amount.
If you use a hose, attach a rose spout or watering wand to help disperse the water and give it time to seep into the soil. Avoid a sprayer that is too harsh as it can be damaging to the roots of your tomatoes.
Tomatoes also benefit from a blanket of mulch to conserve moisture and keep disease spores from being splashed up onto the plants. A mulch of straw, shredded leaves or organic matter such as composted grass clippings is ideal. It also helps prevent weeds from growing between the rows.
Pruning is an important part of tomato growing because it helps keep the plant compact and reduces problems with soil-borne disease. A healthy, well-maintained tomato plant is able to support itself and produce fruit that are bigger and more abundant than plants that haven’t been pruned properly.
It can also help prevent sprawl and allow for better air circulation so the plant doesn’t suffer from fungus or bacterial disease that could otherwise spread from one leaf to another. Additionally, pruning removes fruit and foliage that would otherwise shade the plant and expose it to sun scalding, which can cause the tomatoes to break down or turn black.
Whether you’re planting determinate or vining varieties, always start your pruning session by removing the lowest leaves on the plant and keeping them away from the soil to prevent fungal diseases. Those leaves are often the first to be infected by these diseases and they’re easily transferred to the rest of the plant through water bouncing off the ground.