- Ripe, Juicy Tomatoes!
As any vegetable gardener will vouch for, growing your vegetables can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience, more so, if the vegetable in question is a tomato. A garden full of ripe juicy tomatoes can be a delight. But growing tomatoes can be tricky. However if you have plenty of sunlight, water and patience, the three key ingredients for growing tomatoes, you can definitely enjoy tomato gardening.
The following are the steps involved in growing tomatoes
- Getting started: The first thing you need to do is to decide if you are going to starting growing your tomatoes from seed or from plant saplings purchased from market. If you are experienced, you may sow your own seeds, but if you are a beginner it would be easier to get good plants from marketing and transplant them to your garden. First time growers will also be advised to get more than one variety, just to be sure. As a rule of thumb, grow two plants for each member of your family.
- Deciding on the plot: Two things you need to consider preparing your plot – sunlight and compost. Tomatoes need strong sunlight during growing stage, so plant them in your garden where the sunlight gets the strongest. Tomatoes also need good fertilizer, so prepare your planting bed by adding about 25 to 40 kg of compost per square meter.
- Transplanting: Bury at least 50% of the plant into the ground. Bury deep. It’s ok if few of the lower leaves get bury too. While transplanting remember to keep enough space between plants. Keep them 18 to 36 inches apart. Immediately after transplanting, water the plants with about 4 liters of warm water.
- Watering: During the first week after transplanting give the plants about half a liter of water per day. After that you can give each plant about 8 liters a week, but space out the timing (2-3 times a week).
- Supporting: You can use cages to support your plants after about 2 weeks of transplanting.
- Fertilizing: Give proper fertilizers to the soil after regular intervals. Do not use lawn fertilizer. To help pollination of fruit blossoms, shake the plants occasionally. Shaking the plants helps increase productivity.
- Fruiting: Fruits generally appear after about 2.5 months – 3 months from transplant. In the beginning tomato fruits are small and green. Let them ripe and pluck them once they attain the right color. You may also consider picking them earlier and let them ripen indoors. However do not over ripen the tomatoes.
Common problems people face
- Using wrong fertilizers at the wrong growing stage
- Improper pruning, resulting in small tomatoes
- Improper watering
- Deformed fruits and with black spots
Some tips for growing great tomatoes
- Give room to tomato seeds if you are growing them from seeds. Once the leaves start coming out. Transplant them to bigger pots with enough room to grow.
- Tomatoes need strong sunlight and regular watering during the growing stage. Grow them where the sunlight is the strongest and water them regularly. Irregular water will lead to end rotting. Watering can be lessened once the fruit ripens.
- Tomatoes need to sway in the breeze for healthy growth. So if you don’t have access to natural healthy breeze, use a fan!
- Bury the tomato plants deep in the soil
- Remove the leaves at the bottom of the plants when it reaches to about 3’-4’ in height. Bottom leaves are prone to have fungus problems
- Prune your plants properly. Remove buds that grown between two branches. They do not grow properly but take away the nutrients from other healthy fruits.
- If you are a first timer. Grow different varieties of tomatoes. That way you can ensure good harvest even if some variety performs poorly.
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This article was written by Sharpex Blog Team
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