Growing Tomatoes 101: Everything You Need

Are you looking to add some delicious tomatoes to your home garden? Growing tomatoes is a fun and rewarding experience, but it’s important to know a few things before you get started.

No matter where you live, or how much (or little) space you have to grow vegetables, you can probably find room for a tomato plant. And growing your own tomatoes is one of the best things you can do for your summer cooking. Homegrown tomatoes are worlds apart from the mealy grocery store varieties.

This blog post will cover everything you need to know about growing tomatoes, from selecting the right variety for your region to planting and caring for your tomato plants. By the end of this post, you’ll be ready to start growing healthy and tasty tomatoes of your own!

Growing Tomatoes: Complete Guide

Growing Tomatoes 101

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Most people think growing tomatoes is pretty easy. But in reality, growing tomatoes is not just a matter of planting seeds and waiting for the fruits of your labor to appear. There’s a lot more to it than that. So if you’re looking to grow tomatoes, you’ll want to know everything you can about the subject. 

Here is comprehensive information about all aspects of growing tomatoes.

Lighting Requirements

Lighting is one of the most important factors when it comes to growing tomatoes. Tomatoes need at least 8 hours of sunlight each and every day, and they will not grow properly without enough light.

Tomatoes are not light-sensitive, so they don’t need to be planted in a spot that gets full sun all day long. However, the more sunlight they get, the better.

If you’re in a warm climate and your garden gets plenty of natural sunlight, you can probably get away with skipping the fluorescent lights. But if you’re in a cooler climate and need to supply supplemental light, grow lights are the way to go. 

You will want to use lights that emit the blue spectrum. Full-spectrum lights or fluorescent lights that emit only the red and yellow spectrum are not the best options.

Water Requirements:

Tomatoes should be watered thoroughly once per day. It is better to water lightly and often than to water heavily and infrequently. Of course, if you have an automatic watering system, it should be set up to deliver water to the plants at the appropriate frequency.

Don’t make the common mistake of watering tomatoes from above by spraying or sprinkling them. This is the wrong way to water tomatoes, as their foliage tends to trap the water and prevent it from reaching the roots. Wet leaves can spread diseases such as early blight.

The soil should be kept moist, but make sure not to overwater. Overwatering will lead to stunted plant growth and can cause root rot.

Variety of Tomato: Determinate and Indeterminate

One of the first decisions you’ll have to make when you’re growing tomatoes is whether to plant determinate or indeterminate varieties. Determinate tomatoes are compact plants with a more compact fruit set.

Indeterminate tomatoes are more vine-like; these plants are healthier and produce more fruit when they’re allowed to grow vertically.

Determinate tomatoes can handle closer spacing, while indeterminate tomato plants will need more room to grow.

Examples of Determinate Types include:

Examples of Indeterminate Include:

  • Goldie
  • Beefsteak
  • Heirloom
  • Brandywine
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When to Harvest Tomatoes

When to Harvest Tomatoes

When to harvest tomatoes is a common question that many gardeners ask. They will be ripe when they reached their optimal ripeness, which is usually when they are red.

You can harvest your tomatoes at their optimal ripeness, but if you leave them on the vine for a bit longer, the sugar content will increase, and they will have a sweeter taste.

To ripen tomatoes off the vine, put them in a paper bag with bananas, apples, or pears.

Soil Requirements

Tomatoes need soil that is rich in nutrients, with a pH level of around 6.5-7.5. They will also need to have good drainage and you will need to avoid mucky soil.

Tomatoes are pretty hardy plants, but they need to be planted in well-draining, nutrient-rich soil. If you want to get the best results with tomatoes, you need to make sure the soil is rich in compost, nitrogen, and organic matter.

Ideally, you will want to have your soil tested. It will tell you exactly what your soil needs. If you’re having trouble with your tomatoes, you may want to add some compost to the soil to improve the nutrient levels.

Tomato Companion Plants

Any other plants you grow with your tomatoes will have an impact on the tomato plants.

For example, if you plant tomatoes next to sweet corn, the corn will grow taller and may shade the tomatoes, which will stunt their growth. They also may get diseases from being too close to the corn.

The same goes for any plants you grow with your tomatoes. Make sure you choose plants that complement each other.

There are several plants that are commonly planted with tomatoes to help keep pests away and even to help add nutrients to the soil. Planting marigolds, Amaranth, basil, chives, or dill near your tomato plants is a great idea.

For example, basil and tomatoes have a symbiotic relationship. The basil plant repels pests that can damage tomato plants. 

Final Thoughts

Growing tomatoes can be a fun and rewarding experience, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Make sure you choose the right type of soil, the right type of plants, and the right planting time. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be growing your own tomatoes in no time.

We hope this guide helped you understand the ins and outs of growing tomatoes. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

Now, go out and enjoy your garden!

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Grow Sweeter Tomatoes (Video)

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