What better way to celebrate summer than planting your own tomato plant and picking fresh fruit right off the vine. It is never too early in the season to start thinking about your tomato garden. Growing great tasting tomatoes doesn’t just happen, however. It takes some time tested growing tips to get the earliest and sweetest tomatoes you can and continue to getting them all season.
Space Out Your Seedlings
Starting tomatoes from seed can be very rewarding if you remember one simple rule: give your seedlings room to branch out. When planting seeds it is important to remember their need for space when the plants become more mature. Close quarters can inhibit growth so you should transplant the small plants as soon as the first true leaves sprout out. They should then be planted in four inch pots to continue their growth.
Tomato plants are light loving and need strong, direct sunlight or at least 14 to 18 hours under grow lights every day. When considering where to plant your seedlings, you should look for the sunniest part of the garden and plant there. You can place containers or pots in that area if the soil is not conducive to planting directly in ground.
Bury and Mulch
If you purchase more mature tomato plants, you may have noticed the pots are rather shallow. You should remove them from the pot and replant them in the ground or another pot all the way up to the few top leaves of the plant. One great thing about tomato plants is they can develop root systems all along the stem of the plant. Once the plant is buried in the soil, you should mulch to conserve water and help prevent disease.
Prune and Water
Once the tomato plants have started growing, you should remove the bottom leaves of the plant. These leaves are the ones most affected by disease and fungus. You should also remove the suckers that develop in the joints of two branches. These suckers take away from the energy of the entire plant. The final thing is to remember to water the plant regularly while it is growing. If you do not, you run the risk of blossom end rot and cracking.