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Nothing is better than making your own, homemade, fresh tomato sauce. That alone is a perfect reason to learn how to grow tomatoes.
How to grow tomatoes
Growing tomatoes is super easy and they’re a prolific crop to grow in your garden. Similar as in how to grow peppers, you plant them and they just seem to keep going with just a bit of weeding and pruning. This is why they make our top 4 easy and productive crop for beginning gardeners.
They don’t need a trellis. They love sunlight. They can handle a lot of heat. They can go in your garden or you can try growing tomatoes in pots. They don’t even require a ton of water. If there was ever a “set it and forget it” type of crop, in our opinions, it would absolutely be tomatoes.
Are you ready to add some tomatoes to your garden? Good. Here’s how to get started.
First you will need to figure out what types of tomatoes you want to grow. You will pick different tomatoes depending on what your goals are. We usually grow beefsteak because they are large and seem to work well with most of our plans.
Most tomato plants are going to be planted ind grow in similar ways, so you can use this guide as for most of your tomato growing needs.
You can find seeds just about anywhere. Pretty much any farm store will have them. Most supermarkets, farmers markets, even gas stations will carry seeds. We prefer to grow organic so we generally shop online for our seeds.
Best time to plant tomatoes
Once you have your seeds, you can likely find specific planting and care information on the backside of the packet. If not, just bookmark this page and come back to it for guidance whenever you need to.
When to start tomato seeds really depends on your gardening zone. It is recommended to start your seeds about 6 to 8 weeks BEFORE your zone’s last frost of the season.
Once your tomatoes grow inside to where you can see their true leaves you will want to start taking them outside daily to harden them off.
If you need definitions for that last paragraph, here you go. True leaves usually appear about a month after your seeds have started to sprout. They will look like actual leaves. And hardening a plant off just means you are getting it used to being outside.
To harden you just take the plants outside for a few hours at a time to become accustomed to the wind, sun, and outdoor elements. Increase the time each day until they can handle a full day of sunlight.
When they are hardened off it is time to transplant them. You will want to dig several small holes a bit larger than the pod in which your pants are growing. Pop your plants from the starting tray, crumble the soil to loosen it around the root ball, and place it into the hole. Push the dirt back on top of the root ball and gently pat the soil down.
Continue this process every 24 to 36 inches. We like to give our tomatoes plenty of space so they can get nice and big. Stake the plants for extra stability and stick a tomato cage over them.
What type of soil do tomatoes need?
Similar to peppers, tomatoes like a heavily acidic soil. They thrive in soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.0! Give them plenty of compost and fertilizer and you will have nice, healthy, happy plants.
Can you grow a tomato plant from a tomato?
It isn’t as simple as sticking a tomato and the ground and waiting. However, you can pretty easily harvest the seeds from a tomato, clean them off and plant them with success.
How often should you water tomato plants?
Tomatoes like to have water. It is recommended to water them in weekly intervals. Make sure the soil is completely saturated between 4 and 6 inches deep.
How much sun do tomatoes need?
Tomatoes are tropical plants and therefore love as much sunlight as they can get. There is no need to plan in garden shade once they have been hardened off properly and planted.
How long does it take for tomatoes to grow?
Tomato seeds will germinate pretty quickly. You will likely start to see their initial signs in about 6 to 12 days. They will generally reach maturity and start bearing fruit (yes, tomatoes are actually fruits) anywhere between 62 and 115 days.
When to pick tomatoes
It’s pretty easy to tell when it is time to start harvesting tomatoes. They will be mostly or completely red. The skin will have a bit of give when gentle finger pressure is applied. The tops of the tomatoes may still be a bit green.