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How to Grow Tomatoes

Learn how to grow tomatoes from seed to harvest. Homegrown tomatoes are so flavorful and so much better than store bought tomatoes.

How to Grow Tomatoes 1

Tomatoes! Glorious homegrown Tomatoes! Have you ever noticed that the tomatoes from the grocery store do not taste like homegrown tomatoes. Homegrown tomatoes are full of flavor. Tomatoes are one of my favorite things to grow. 

Selecting Variety:

There are SO many varieties of tomatoes. I like to plant heirloom, non-GMO tomatoes. But even with that there are a lot of varieties to choose from.  3 years ago I bought the heirloom pack from Botanical Interests. It has 7 varieties in the collection. I planted them all the first year. Then we learned that we don’t really like grape tomatoes. Not sure why and know that a lot of people love them. But they just aren’t our style. Since then we have narrowed it down to 5 varieties that we like. Just do a little research to find what works best for you. Most people like the beefsteaks. They look like what we buy in the store but are so much better tasting. I ran out of beefsteak seeds and the store was out too. So this year we are trying Moneymakers. I think The Hardworking Husband will love them.

Planting:

Tomatoes can be grown in the ground, raised beds, or containers (large ones). Tomato plants need to be supported once they get bigger.

Starting seeds inside: I always start my seeds inside. Seedlings need a lot of light. So make sure you use a grow light or plenty of sunlight. The soil needs to be warm until the seeds sprout. A cover over them will help keep the soil warm. I start mine in the greenhouse. Our greenhouse can get up to 135 degrees, but generally stays 80 degrees during the day. 

4-6 weeks prior to average last frost plant 3 seeds per container. Water consistently. Tomato plants do not like to dry out. Once the plants are 2″ thin to 1 plant per container. Transplant them outside when night time temperatures are above 45 degrees. Plant them 2′ apart and the next row of plants should be 3′ away. As I said earlier, tomato plants need to be supported once they get taller. I have build my own tomato supports, but you can use tomato cages as well. 

Harvesting: 

Tomatoes are ready to harvest once the tomato is bright in color according to it’s variety and they are firm but not too firm. They will come off the vine with a gentle tug.  

Toward the end of the season, you can cut back the plant to help the tomatoes ripen before the first frost. Cut the branches that do not have tomatoes on them. Your plant will look terrible, but it will help get those last tomatoes ripe.  If you have any tomatoes left on the vine when the first frost threatens, you can either cover them at night, or you can pick all that are left. Place those tomatoes in a warm place. The warmth will help them ripen. Last year our first frost came late and we had had so many tomatoes that we just picked all that were left and let them ripen in the greenhouse. 

I planted 24 plants last year. We had tomatoes coming out our ears. When I picked all that was left, I had more than would fit in the wheel barrow. This year The Hardworking Husband told me 10 plants only. I’m having  hard time with that. I think I will push it and do 12. 

Cooking with tomatoes: 



 
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