Growing your own tomatoes is a great way to save money and keep your body healthy. When you grow the tomatoes, you know exactly what you’ve put into growing them. No guessing about what pesticides have been used and no wondering whether the item is safe to serve your family.
Fresh-grown tomatoes are juicy and delicious and can be eaten right off of the vine (with only, perhaps, a quick rinse to remove any backyard dirt!). What a fresh addition to any summer meal!
Here are some quick tips to help you grow your own:
- Make sure to choose a bright spot with lots of room between your plants (about 48 inches in between plants). They need at least ten hours of sunlight per day.
- Look for healthy plants with strong roots and then make sure to bury the stems when you plant. You will want to plant the seedlings up to the first true leaves so that they will have strong roots. New roots will grow from those bottom leaves, giving you more fruit.
- Stake your tomatoes high, using six-foot stakes for all varieties. Put in your stakes at the beginning to avoid any damage later on.
- Make sure to water your plants deeply, but not too often. Tomatoes plants need to be soaked about once every five days. Also, you will want to water the soil, not the leaves. Soak the plant bed rather than spraying the plant with the hose.
- Feed your tomatoes! Use a slow release fertilizer pellet at planting time so that your young tomatoes are well fed. Tomatoes demand lots of fertilizer once the fruit sets, but if you over feed them early in the season you will have a large plant but with fewer tomatoes. Slow release fertilizer will fix that problem.
- Use a natural pest control so that you don’t have to worry about pests or about harming your health.
- Pinch off non-fruiting branches that you see on your plants. This will help direct your tomato plant’s energy back to the fruit that is growing.
- Add compost to your soil! Tomatoes thrive on the nutrients found in compost.
- Harvest your tomatoes when they are fully ripened: They should have reached full size and will be at full color.
With a little time and attention, you can use these tips to grow fresh, juicy tomatoes that will enhance your homemade meals.