Beginner Tips for Growing Tasty Tomatoes

Growing tomatoes is a great way to get your hands dirty in the gardening business. Tomato plants can produce a lot of fruit and they're relatively  easy to grow, though making sure you get a healthy crop takes some more effort. Growing tomatoes can save money and lets you reap the rewards (literally) of your hard work. Here are a few things you need to know to get the best crop possible:
Choosing the Right Tomato Plant
The first thing to know is what type of tomato you want to grow. 
-Bush tomato plants grow to be about 3-feet tall and wide, according to eBay. Most of the tomatoes on this type of plant ripen at the end of the season. 
-Vine tomatoes grow longer. You can grow them all year in a greenhouse. They often need addition support as they can reach 6-feet tall. You can harvest tomatoes for several weeks each year. 
-A semi-determinate plant only produces about two harvests before the plant dies. 
An added note: When choosing your plant, look for obvious signs of problems (yellowing or dead leaves and wilting) as well as other problems like bugs under the leaves of in the soil.
Planting your Tomatoes
Tomatoes need heat, so it's best to wait until the ground warms up before planting your bush or vine, according to Bonnie Plants. To further promote good growth make note of the following:
-Tomato plants should be placed where they can get at least six to eight hours of sunlights. The heat and sun help bring out flavors. 
-Space plants out so they can grow tall and wide. Most varieties need about three feet of space between each bush, but shorter plants may do okay with two feet. 
-You can grow tomatoes in a pot. A 24-inch pot works for most tomato plants. 
-Make sure your soil is nutrient rich. You may need to add fertilizer to the soil so that your tomatoes get enough minerals.  Water the soil not the plant. 
-Bury 2/3 of your plant stem initially. This allows for a stronger plant that can get water, even when water is in short supply. 
-Water regularly. Tomato plants need at least an inch of water per week. You'll know you need to water if the top inch of soil is dry. 
-Try planting a few varieties (heirlooms, Juliet,  Brandywine) to see which grow best and to get a sampling of their different flavors. 
Potential Problems:
One key to making sure your tomato harvest is successful is heading off potential problems quickly. Keep an eye out for the following:
-Hot summer days can delay growth, but tomatoes will pop up again, when the nights cool off a bit, according to Bonnie Plants. 
-Check your plant regularly and harvest ripe tomatoes quickly to keep the rest of the plant strong. 
-Watch for unhealthy leaves and remove them quickly. Leaving dead leaves your plant could allow fungi to spread to the rest of your bush or vine. 
-Protect your plant against late blight (late-season disease) by spraying it with a fungicide and removing plant debris from the garden. 
Growing tomatoes is a great way to tip-toe into gardening. Most plants grow well with minimum interference, so if you forget to water them or prune them for a few days, all is not lost. 
Have you grown your first batch of tomatoes yet? Share your success stories in the comments below. 

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