Who doesn’t love a fresh homegrown tomato? There is simply no substitute for tomatoes picked at the height of their freshness. It’s just one of life’s simple pleasures to bite into a ripe tomato, it is simply delicious. So how do you create the perfect tomato this season? Here’s a list of the top five tips for growing your best tomatoes yet.
- Choose your sunniest garden spot, because tomatoes soak up the sun just like water. They need at least seven hours of sunshine a day. More sun equals more fruit. Don’t crowd tomato plants, planting density needs to be low, with three feet between plants and four feet between rows. This will let extra light into the lower portions of the mature plants and improve airflow.
- Plant deeply and bury the stem. Tomatoes will root along their stems. So if you have a long, leggy plant, dig a trench and lay the stem sideways, bending gently upward. This extra root growth will produce a stronger, more robust plant. Your tomato plants will quickly straighten up and grow toward the sun. Just be careful not to drive your support stake or cage into the buried stem.
- It’s all about timing. Whether you start your own seedlings or pick them up from your local Garden Center, tomatoes love warmth. Soil temperatures should be consistently over 60 degrees before planting outside.
- Mulch your tomatoes after the soil has warmed. Although mulching conserves water and prevents soilborne diseases from getting up onto leaves, if you put mulch down too early, it may shade and cool the soil. Remember tomatoes love heat. After temperatures become consistently warm, you can add a layer of mulch to retain moisture.
- Water regularly and deeply while the fruits are developing. Irregular watering, like missing a week and then trying it make up with excess watering, leads to blossom end rot and cracking of the tomato skins. You and your tomatoes need to be on the same schedule and so ensure your plants get at least 1 inch of water per week. Watch the weather report, if it’s going to be a hot dry spell, plants need more water.