Growing Tomatoes {How To}

Tomatoes are a staple in my garden!  I have grown them every year I have had my garden.  A couple of years after I started my garden, I have gotten my tomato seedlings from a local nursery and that made all the difference in the world!  If you can, get your seedlings from a local nursery as apposed from a big box store, as your plants will be healthier and will do so much better than mass produced plants.

You can grow from seeds if you want, but I don’t like to do that.  With a toddler, I don’t have time to grow all my plants from seeds, especially when I can get amazing seedlings locally.  Sometimes, it’s not worth starting from seeds.  However, you will have more of a wider selection for your plants if you start from seeds as opposed to seedlings.  For me, our family loves cherry tomatoes.  (Plus, we have issues with chipmunks; cherry tomatoes are easier to grow as opposed to the large tomatoes, which they love to take bites out of!)

Plant your seedlings when the weather is consistently warm.  For me, here in the mid-east, that is at the beginning of May.  Tomatoes are heat lovers—they hate the cold! Don’t plant until the will temperature is at least 65°F.

Plant 18-inches apart and 5-inches deep to encourage a deep root system.   Before I plant, I add crushed egg shells that I have ground in the blender.  This gives the tomato plant a boost of calcium.  I also add a tablespoon of Epsom salt for another boost to ward off blossom rot.  After I plant my seedlings, I sprinkle used coffee grounds we have been saving as a fertilizer.  I have noticed my plants just about double when I do this!  Make sure the coffee grounds are used as fresh grounds are very acidity and could kill your plants.  Used coffee grounds are neutral.

Tomatoes need steady, constant moisture to avoid blossom end rot.  Blossom end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency in the soil or if watering is inconstant.  Use a soaker hose to make it easier to water the plants deeply.

Use stakes when the plants start weighing down, or use a tomato cage before your plants get too big.  It’s easier to add a cage before the plants get too big than afterwards.

Keep an eye out for big green worms called tomato hornworms. Pick them off when you see them, or you will lose your plants.

Tomatoes are ripe when you need little effort to pull the fruit off.  Keep them on the vine as long as possible for the sweetest fruits.

With these simple steps, you will be well on your way to enjoying some of the sweetest tomatoes you have ever eaten for a fraction of the cost of what is at the grocery store!

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