photo credit: Mike the Gardener
|The tomato. The garden kingpin. No other fruit or vegetable is grown more in the home vegetable garden than the tomato. Widely grown not only for their taste and flavor but also for their ease. Tomatoes are one of the easiest plants to grow in a home garden, and with the thousands of varieties to choose from, you are sure to find one that suits your taste buds.
Growing Tomatoes from SeedWhile I have nothing against growing tomatoes at home from starts that can be purchased at a local home or garden center, I love the challenge and the satisfaction of starting my tomato plants from seeds.
If you have a shortened gardening season like I do, you will want to start your tomatoes from seeds indoors under a grow light system. Use a heating mat to give your tomato seeds a boost as tomatoes love heat. This will give you a nice jump start. The cost for a simple grow light system can run as low as $40 or even cheaper if you are able to grab shop lights at yard sales. You can then set up your system on a timer and make it even easier to turn the power off and on automatically.
Photo credit: Mike the Gardener
Growing Tomatoes in PotsYes you can grow tomatoes in pots and various other containers. Some varieties do much better than others, but just know that the larger the pot, the better chance you have at growing tomatoes successfully. What’s important here is the soil and the location of the pot. I recommend a good organic potting soil. One that lends itself to be a bit more acidic, rich in nutrients and friable. All characteristics that tomato plants love.
Determinant varieties, also called bush varieties, will grow the best in containers since their size is fairly predetermined. Such varieties include Oregon Spring, Orange Blossom, Celebrity, and Marglobe. While you can grow just about any tomato variety in a pot, try to stick with one that has been shown to grow well in containers.
Tomato Growing TipsOne of the reasons most people grow tomatoes at home is because they are so easy. If you keep these few tips in mind, you will never go wrong.
Growing Tomatoes Upside DownBy now you probably have seen those upside down tomato growers called Topsy Turvy. You simply grow a tomato plant upside down by hanging it. This way you do not have to stake them up. In short, yes, they do work, but again as noted in growing tomatoes in containers, certain varieties will do much better than others using this method. A good point in using this method is you can hang tomatoes which frees up more garden real estate. It is also fun to experiment with.
There are endless amounts of colors, varieties and choices when it comes to growing tomatoes. You can choose rare heirlooms to new hybrids. Whichever direction you go in, follow the tips above and you will definitely help increase your chances of a healthier and more abundant tomato crop.
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