Table of Contents
How to Grow Tomatoes in your Garden
Tomatoes are my favorite food or should I say fruit? Some say tomatoes are easy to grow, I find growing tomatoes organically is not as easy as they say. The very first crop of tomatoes grown in uncontaminated soil is easy as there are fewer chances of the plants picking up tomato diseases, such as wilt. Of course, you can grow tomatoes without too many problems in the same soil over and over again, by using artificial fertilizers and chemical sprays but you will be harvesting and eating a crop of tasteless tomatoes, full of chemicals with chemical residue on them.
Farmers that only grow the same crop over and over, all year round, such as tomatoes, have depleted the soil through lack of crop rotation, eroded the topsoil and lost organic matter. They are committed to using artificial fertilizers and chemical sprays. Their environment is artificial. (In the USA tomatoes are up to 70% deficient in vitamin C).
If you like tomatoes and you would like them to taste the way they use to, try growing them organically. I personally think everyone should have a couple of tomato plants growing in their gardens.
To grow tomatoes successfully, to start off you will need good seed, preferably non-hybrid seed. You can buy these from Eden Seeds. Commercial seeds are fine but are usually hybrid; the seeds from these tomatoes should not be used for your next crop. Only use non-hybrid seeds.
You can either sow the seeds directly in the soil or start them off in punnets. Or you could buy good seedling plants from your local nursery, but these seedlings will more than likely be hybrids. Pick young strong plants, not spindly specimens with flowers or fruit on them.
The optimum temperature for growing tomatoes and for the fruit to set is 18 to 24 degrees C.
For internal seed, treatment infections soak your seeds in hot water at 55 degrees C, for 25 minutes (anything over will only cook the seed).
OK, we have found a spot in the garden for our tomatoes. All we have to do now is hammer in the tomato stakes (not round ones – ties slip on these) before planting the seedlings and/or seeds, and dig in the compost around the stakes (150mm (6″) diameter, 200mm (8″) deep), with a small garden fork.
Pinch off the bottom leaves of your seedling, dig a small hole then bury 3/4s of the plant. This way the tomato seedling will grow more roots up the stem and should be larger and healthier plants.
Water in well, give them a good soak, then mulch up.
Then cover up with pots. Or if you are like me and you remember a week later that you covered up the tomato seedlings with pots the previous weekend and now they are dead, you should try this. Prune a shrub with lots of leaves, and then stick the cuttings in the ground around the seedlings so to shade them. By the time the leaves have fallen off the cuttings, the seedlings will be well over the shock of transplanting and hardened off from the sun.
They like Tomatoes
Tomatoes like rich soil, compost, mulch and lots of sun at least six hours a day, lots of water; they just love comfrey as a liquid fertilizer; they also like a good foliage spray such as seaweed, fish emulsion or liquid worm casting extracts. They also like Animal and Bird manures (preferably composted and dug into the soil) these manures can also be used as a liquid fertilizer, not too strong to start off with, around 25% Brew (liquid fertilizer) and 75% water.
Feed your plants once a fortnight; when they have fruit setting, feed once a week, preferably late in the day as plants feed at night.
Tomatoes do best with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8. It is not necessary to test the pH every time you go out in the garden; as long as the plants have good color your pH is fine. A lot of new gardeners are always worrying about their pH and try to make changes overnight to the soil structure with catastrophe results. If your plant looks a little off color give it a good feed of liquid fertilizer. Plants have no trouble drinking but as you know they don’t have teeth to eat rock minerals overnight; these can take up to six months to break down. (click button below for preview the next page)