Updated: Aug 16
There is nothing like a nice juicy, red tomato! If you want to grow the healthiest and most delicious tomatoes you possibly can this gardening season, take some pointers from the pros. There are a few very easy-to-implement tricks and tips you can use to consistently grow bumper crops of succulent tomatoes. Try implementing the organic gardening tips outlined below and your tomato plants will deliver the biggest and healthiest yield possible.
1 - Whether growing in containers or in the ground, make sure you select a bright and well ventilated, airy location for your tomatoes. Your plants should receive at least 10 hours of natural light in the summer. Also, make sure you have enough room between your tomato plants to provide for adequate air circulation.
2 - Make sure you plant deep for the best possible results. Burying the stem of a tomato allows the plant to sprout new roots which will help improve strength and vitality. This also provides better absorption of the nutrients your tomato plants need to grow faster and healthier. To do this, remove the bottom sets of leaves and bury the stem up to just below the bottom of the remaining leaves.
You can also plant your tomatoes horizontally in a long trench with just the top leafy part exposed. The plant will correct itself and start growing up vs. along the ground. Doing this will help your plants establish the strongest root structure possible, because all those little fibers along the plant stem are little roots waiting to develop.
3 - Testing your soil is important for proper tomato growth. Whether you take a sample of your soil to a nearby gardening or home improvement center that offers lab testing, or you purchase a DIY pH level testing kit, this step is crucial. After you discern your ground's alkaline and acidity levels, you can add the appropriate soil amendments to reach the recommended 6.0 – 6.8 pH for tomatoes. Most garden centers can tell you just what you need to do to get your soil perfect.
4 - Trick your tomatoes into being stronger by plucking the first flowers that appear. This allows your tomato plants to grow more extensive root systems, as well as a mature and developed leaf canopy, before any fruit is produced. You should also pull off any suckers, which are the little offshoots of the main stem below your first fruit-producing branch.
5 - Use cages or fencing to grow your tomatoes vertically. When you allow tomato vines to lay on the ground, your plants are much more susceptible to pests and diseases. When you provide vertical support, these garden dangers have a harder time attacking your plants. Sprawling vines also take up valuable space in your garden, and the backbreaking process of bending over to harvest the fruit is no fun, either.
6 - When the first fruit of the season begins to appear, add organic compost, either your own or store bought. This will encourage new, healthy growth and a bigger yield. Scratch compost into the ground around the stem, and at the same time, trim a few of the upper leaves on each plant.
7 - Whether you decide to plant determinate or indeterminate varieties, consider planting new tomatoes three weeks after your original plants are planted. This will extend your growing season and guarantees that if you run into any weather or pest problems, you are still sure to enjoy multiple, healthy harvests. This means you won’t need to harvest and use your entire crop at once.