How to Grow Tomatoes


Tomatoes are probably the most grown type of vegetable - even though they're actually a fruit.

How to Grow Tomatoes

Most gardeners choose at least one type of tomato plant for their garden.  They come in all shapes and sizes.

They can fit into a pot for the patio, producing a ton of tiny cherry sized fruits for salads.

Or sprawl over half the  yard and continue to produce lots of baseball sized fruits for canning or preserving.

There are two kinds: 

  • Determinate (which are also known as bush types) which grow to a certain size, set fruit and ripen it all at once, and have a definite season. These are great to grow in pots on your deck, close by the kitchen door for those quick salads in the summer.

  • Indeterminate types just keep on growing, setting fruit and ripening over a much longer time. These require a much sturdier structure to grow on - especially varieties like Beefsteak - those fruit are heavy! Grow these for extended harvesting and preserving.

In fact, they could be termed a perennial when grown in a frost free environment.

They are an essential ingredient for salsa and chutney, and freeze perfectly for winter soups. 

Preserving Tip; wash and dry the ripe tomatoes, then core them. 

Place them in a Ziploc bag and lay in a single layer in the freezer. 

Then when you need that delicious summery taste, take a few out, rinse under hot water to loosen the skins, and put them in a colander to drain. 

Use the thawed tomatoes in soups, chili and any other cooked meal. 

The liquid that drains off can be added too, or re-frozen for later.

See more tips on how to use frozen tomatoes.

Even green tomatoes that don't have time to ripen will turn red and stay that way for months, with the right care.

Tomatoes need two things; full sun, and lots of regular watering.  As the fruits are mostly water this makes sense.

The leaves are the part that need the sun, sometimes the fruits will even get sunburned.  The leaves will shade the fruit, so don't get too carried away with pruning them.

Make a DIY Tomato Cage to hold them up off the ground.

Plant them in a grow bag, and put them against a sunny wall, just like those traditional Italian gardeners would do.

The soil is best if it's well drained (of course) and rich, but with Dolomite lime added to prevent problems like blossom end rot, a side effect of a lack of calcium. I planted some tomatoes in the garden with some lobster shells under them. So far, results look good.

Whichever kind of tomato you settle on, the flavor of a homegrown one is unmatched.

Having trouble with your tomatoes?

Here's a list of some of the problems you could encounter.

One of the worst (and most heartbreaking) is the use of soil mix that is contaminated with aminopyralid herbicide. The damage is unmistakable once you see it.

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