It probably doesn't come as much of a surprise that tomatoes are one of the most popular plants grown in home gardens. What is surprising, however, is the fact that there are more than 7,500 different varieties of tomatoes. Amazing, isn't it?
If you've always wanted to try your hand at growing this tasty fruit or if you haven't had much success at it, this information is for you. Here are six quick tips to help you grow the best tomatoes... EVER!
1. Warm the Soil
This is an awesome tip that many people don't realize. Approximately two weeks before you plant your seeds or seedlings in the ground, preheat the dirt in your garden. Cover the area with a large plastic tarp. Red or black works best. This increases the heat in the soil and guess what? Tomato plants thrive in the heat.
2. Train Your Seedlings
If you're starting the seedlings inside, you can actually train them to withstand windy weather. Set them in front of a small fan for up to 10 minutes, twice a day. Another strengthening method is to rub your hand gently, back and forth, across each one for a few minutes. Your plants will be ready to better withstand a strong breeze in no time.
3. Don't Overcrowd
Don't overcrowd your plants. Tomatoes need room to grow. As a general rule, plant three seeds per container. Transfer to the garden or in individual four-inch pots, as soon as each plant begins to get its own leaves.
4. Bury Plants Deeper
Bury plants deeper in the garden than they were in the pot. This allows them to develop roots along with more of the stem and produces a much stronger plant.
5. Let There Be Light
Tomato plants love sunlight... the more direct, the better. If you choose to grow tomatoes indoors, you'll generally need to purchase an artificial light source to shine on the plants at least 14 hours a day.
6. Pinch Off Suckers
Pinch and discard any small "suckers" that you find growing in the joint of connecting branches. Leaving them alone just saps energy from the plant. As the tomato plant grows, remove any leaves that start to turn yellow. For best results, water tomato plants on a regular basis.
Now that you're privy to some of the secrets of growing delicious tomatoes, there's nothing holding you back. Whether you grow them outside in a traditional garden, or inside (with the help of hydroponics), there's no better time to get started.
You may not grow the world's biggest tomato (the current record holder produced a tomato weighing in at just under 8.5 pounds). But, you'll be well on your way to growing yummy tomatoes with your own two hands. Bon appétit!
Next time we're going to start from the beginning by looking at what you need to think about before you create a new garden.