Growers Guide: How to Grow Healthy Tomatoes
Posted on July 1, 2019 by Devon Metcalfe
Growing tomatoes is by no means difficult once you know how. But for those beginners, a few tips and tricks here and there will help to guarantee a successful yield. After all, it’s hard to beat fresh, home-grown produce – especially when it comes to juicy vine-ripened tomatoes! So, want to know how to grow healthy tomatoes this season? Here’s a simple guide:
How to Grow Healthy Tomatoes
Planting Your Tomatoes
- To have the best chance at growing delicious tomatoes, place tomato transplants in the garden when it gets to spring. Although tomato seeds can be directly planted, most successful gardeners buy transplants or start their seeds 6-8 weeks before their average last frost date.
- Getting started is simple. You just need to plant your tomatoes deep so that half of the plant will be underground. Unlike other plants, tomatoes can form roots along their stems, which means extra roots to help anchor the plant and more opportunity for water and nutrient uptake.
- Another tip on how to grow healthy tomatoes is to cut off the transplant’s bottom leaves and set the root deep enough so that only the top cluster of leaves is showing above the ground.
Growing & Nurturing
- After planting your tomatoes, the next step is nurturing them for the best chance of success. Stake or cage all your tomatoes a few weeks after planting, expect those smaller bush varieties that can often support themselves. This can help to keep your tomatoes off the ground, encouraging healthy tomatoes that won’t pick up any diseases
- Mulch can be a great protector against all kinds of weather. Use a 2-3 inch thick layer of organic mulch, such as straw or wood chips, to prevent weeds and to ensure the soil is full of moisture. They grow most successfully when they have constant moisture, so this step is very important.
- If it’s a long, hot summer with little rain, then begin watering about three times a week with a generous amount of water. Try to avoid getting the foliage wet to prevent diseases. You can do this with a precision watering can.
- When it comes to how to grow healthy tomatoes, fertiliser is often needed. When they grow to about the size of a golf ball (for the larger varieties), fertilise tomato plants with organic fertiliser.
- Though tomato plants don’t need to be pruned, it’s always a good idea to remove any shoots that you see growing between the main stem and a branch. This is because they can take energy away from the plant that should be going into growing your healthy tomatoes!
Harvesting Your Tomatoes
When the fruit is firm and fully covered – it’s time to pick them. Tomatoes mature and ripen best when it’s around 75 degrees F. They’ll also ripen when picked at their mature size even if they’re green. Once picked, your tomatoes can be stored for up to two weeks.