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Grow Tomatoes Like a Pro

Grow Tomatoes Like a Pro

Selecting which tomato varieties you wish to grow depends on your preference for such things as sweetness, meatiness (as in Beefsteak types), and quickness to maturity. However, regardless of the variety you choose, these tips will set you on your way to growing a better harvest:

• The early tomatoes ripen 8 to 10 weeks after planting while the later varieties ripen in about 12 weeks.

• Tomatoes are very frost sensitive

• Tomatoes need to gradually get used to the light, wind, and variable spring temperatures. You can do this by setting them out during the day in shade and moving them into a bit more sun each day for 5 days. Take them back inside or into the garage overnight if freezing temperatures are predicted. This is called “hardening off”.

tomato sprout

• You can plant them directly into the garden on the May long weekend or when all risk of frost has passed.

• For all varieties (except Cherry Tomatoes) insert a strong stake into the ground right beside the plant so you won’t damage the root system with insertion later. Another option is to place a tomato cage over the whole plant. As the tomato grows larger, tie the main stem securely to the stake with rags or old pantyhose. Don’t use rope or a twist tie that can cut into tender plant tissue.

• Since diseases can build up in the soil, grow your tomatoes in a different part of your vegetable garden every year or at least every 2 years. This is known as “crop rotation” and it’s a good idea for all the vegetables you grow.