There really is nothing quite like eating a beautifully ripe tomato fresh out of your own garden. Whether the flavor is actually better or it's just the taste of sweet success is hard to say. What isn't hard to prove is that growing your own tomatoes is relatively simple, and it's a great way to save a little extra cash on the grocery budget.
If you're going to try your hand at growing tomato plants, you might as well do it right and get some smashing results. Here are a few tips to get the best plants possible.
1. Plant them deeply
Plant tomatoes two-thirds of the plant underground. While this may sound counterintuitive, tomatoes are a bit different from most plants. When more of the plant is buried, more roots will sprout, making your plant stronger.
2. Plant sideways if you can't go deep
If you can't or don't want to dig deeply (or the soil is too thick), plant the tomato on its side, angled slightly downward. Just make sure the buried portion is at least 5 to 6 inches deep.
3. Avoid overcrowding seedlings
Growing seedlings too close together can prevent growth and may cause more disease later on. Make sure you space your seedlings out so you get one plant per pot or sell. Pro Tip: During the early growth process, snip weaker seedlings in favor of the bigger, stronger ones.
4. Keep the tomatoes well-fed
Give your tomatoes plenty of sunlight and lots of healthy soil. This means regular fertilization and about an inch of water per week. This should help you get bigger tomatoes too, according to Rodale's Organic Life.
5. Ensure there's a breeze
Air circulation is vital to getting healthy, big plants. While you won't run into issues if you are growing your tomatoes outdoors, the problem may arise if your tomatoes pots are indoors. To solve this, turn on a fan twice a day and run it for five to ten minutes.
6. Offer them support
Once the tomato plant is large enough (if it isn't when initially planted), you'll need to add a stake or other form of support to tie the plant to. Tomatoes are heavy and can bring the plant down, so it needs a bit of extra support to stay upright.
7. Use natural fertilizer
Try grinding up eggshells and coffee grounds and adding them to the soil with the plant. This helps keeps slugs away and makes the soil more nutrient rich. For an added boost, you can also mix a raw egg in the bottom of the hole before you bury your tomato plant.
8. Keep 'em trimmed
Keep a close eye on your tomato plants. Remove dying fruit and leaves, and make sure the tops of your plants don't get too heavy.
Tomatoes are a great plant for growing in containers or in the ground, and while you can grow tomatoes with relatively minimal maintenance, a little extra care will ensure that your crop is bigger and better.
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