Tips for Top-Notch Tomatoes

Tomatoes are an essential plant for any garden.  They come in dozens of varieties, grow quickly, and are an incredibly versatile ingredient in your kitchen.  Perfect for salsas, sandwiches, and sauces – tomatoes are well worth the effort in the garden.  Almost everyone can plant tomatoes no matter how much space they have.  Tomatoes thrive in containers, planters, and in the ground.

Here are some helpful tips to keep your tomato plants in tip-top shape this summer:

Do not overwater your tomato plants. Tomatoes prefer a constant moisture level which can be achieved with a drip system or regular and timely watering. Mulching helps to achieve even water-saturation levels.  Be sure to mulch around your tomato plants – so helpful! 

Fertilize!  Feed your tomato plants regularly.  Follow the instructions on your fertilizer to make sure you are not over or under-fertilizing.

Avoid water on the leaves of your tomato plants.  The tomato leaf doesn’t respond well to sitting water on it’s surface and this can also lead to tomato blight.

Tomato plants need between 6 and 10 hours of sun each day so plant your tomatoes in a sunny location.

Pinch off all growth below the first vine that actually has fruit set on it.  This allows the nutrients to bypass all those extraneous vines and get right to the fruit.  This helps your tomatoes grow bigger and faster.

Pinch off any leaves that are dead or discolored to prevent the spreading of diseases to the rest of the plant.   This also helps your plant look it’s best.

Plant marigolds around the base of your tomato plants to ward off insects.  (Marigolds do attract slugs so keep that in mind!)

Plant deep!  When your tomato packaging says to bury half (or more!) of the tomato plant in the soil – do it!  I know that it makes your tomato plant look smaller BUT only for a week of so.  It will grow faster and stronger and the fruit will be closer to the ground level as well since the first few rows of vines aren’t fruit bearing generally.


Take care of your tomato plants and they will reward you in the weeks to come with beautiful and delicious tomatoes!  I love planting a variety of tomatoes so I have everything I need on hand.  I enjoy Roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and then several larger varieties including Heirloom and Brandywine.  I’d love to know if you plant tomatoes and what tips you might have for beginning gardeners.  

Comments

  1. Very nice tips.. I tried to grow tomatoes this season from seeds, let’s just say it didn’t work for me.. :)

    • I tried that last year and didn’t have the best experience either. The plants grew fine but I don’t think I planted early enough and then of course I had like 20 tomato plants! I gave most of them away :)

    • I tried from seed last year and failed. I tried again this year and some have succeeded! I have 4 tomato seedlings that are still living, one Roma, one Cherokee, and two Cherry tomatoes.

      Great tips though, I learned a few things!

  2. Great tips! I have an urban garden but I am very pleased with how my tomatoes have been growing! I do see a couple of things I can do based on your tips :) Thanks!

  3. Pinch off all growth below the first vine that actually has fruit set on it – I have a question – pinch off growth closest to the main vine, correct? I know that seems obvious, but well….

    • You’ve got it! That’s part of the reason that the instructions on tomato packaging generally tells you to plant the tomato so deep – usually so over half of the plant is actually buried. If you do that, you won’t have much pinching off to do and your plant will be nice and full. The first several rows of vines are not fruit-bearing and by burying those parts it makes the tomato plant stronger. Great question!

  4. Great tips, Trish! I am passing these on to my husband. He is the gardener in our family :)

  5. I was given Heirloom tomato seeds from my sister in-law and bought a heat pad as well as a lighting system. I started the seeds April 17, and some are about 4 inches tall and way to many in the peat pots. Should I attempt to thin them out before planting or wait and see which ones become the strongest ? I think they are plumb size but don’t know what they are called. Your information is very helpful, thanks

  6. Great tips!

  7. great tips, I am currently growing tomatoes in my garden and they are doing really good. This is my third attempt. I do not have a drip system I just water them with the hose.
    I am getting ready to post a follow up and show how they are doing. but here are some tips I just shared on my blog
    http://www.motivatedmommyoftwo.com/2012/05/gardening-my-gardening-tips.html
    Stopping by from the simply sensational link party

  8. Ooh, how I love gardening! Thanks for all of the great tips!!

  9. Great post! Looking forward to using some of your tips.

    Mrs. Delightful
    http://www.ourdelightfulhome.blogspot.com

  10. Great tips, I do all the things that you mentioned already except this year I also planted marigolds around my plants. I’ve read many places that it helps, here’s crossing my fingers that they do.

  11. Very helpful! Check out my garden. http://www.thegirlinthewildwest.com/

  12. Thanks for the tips! I have 2 plants this year in my new raised beds. I don’t even like tomatoes!! I just wanted to see if I could grow them. Tomorrow I’ll be out pinching off the growth below the 1st vine that has growth…Tip #5. Thanks!

  13. I am going to take your advise, Each year they never produce like they should. Thanks for sharing, I am a first time visitor, drop by for a visit. Kathy

  14. I am going to give this a try. We live in Arizona. It seems to be such a different growing environment here. I hope this works.
    Thanks for the tips!

  15. Great tips! I pinned this so I won’t forget!

  16. I love growing tomatoes too. Currently I have 13 plants. :) Here comes salsa season!!
    Jessie at JessieGunderson.com

  17. Great tips! I would love it if you would share this on my linky party Tout It Tuesday. http://www.claimingourspace.com/2012/06/tout-it-tuesday-9.html

  18. This is great information. I’m growing my first tomato plants this year and I need this. Tanks.
    Rose @ http://www.arosiesweethome.com/

  19. Saw this on Thriving on Thursdays link party and had to check it out because it goes with my Green Tomato Jam linked post. Now if only I could grow my own tomatoes instead of buying them at the farmer’s market. Thanks for the tips :)

  20. Great tips!!! sharing on my FB page girl!!

  21. These are some great tomato growing tips. We planted about 80 tomato plants in our garden this year. I don’t think that we plant ours as deep as you suggested, but I’ll try it next year. We buried 1 dead fish in each hole before we planted, and you can definitely see the difference in the size of the plants. We will do more of that next year.

  22. Lynda Estabrook says:

    Don’t forget to mention putting a handful of dolomite (agricultural) lime before you plant to avoid blossom end rot. A hand full of washed crushed egg shells works as well.

  23. Fastidious answers in return of this question with real arguments and telling
    the whole thing regarding that.
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