A perfectly ripe and succulent tomato can be hard to come by. Your local grocery store may have a wide variety of fruits and vegetables on hand, but these products are too often shipped over long distances and carry pesticides. An excellent alternative to store bought tomatoes is to grow your own. At first thought you may think this is difficult and costly, but that just isn't so. With a few tips and tricks, anyone can learn how to grow tomatoes both indoors and outdoor, depending on the space you have available.
The first step is to determine the best place for your plant to grow. Remember that harsh weather conditions like excessive heat and cold can kill tomato plants, especially seedlings. If you live in an area with moderate climate, then you will have no trouble. A small patch of dirt or garden space will work well for tomato planting. Hard dirt should be broken up with a hand tiller so the seeds can properly establish. A couple inches deep of tilling will allow the seeds' roots to take hold. Pour a layer of vegetable top-soil onto the area to add important nutrients.
Seed spacing will depend on the tomato variety you choose. Be sure to follow the spacing requirements on the package, or the mature plants may become overcrowded. When the seeds are in place, cover them with just under an inch of topsoil and water until moist. Seedlings will need to be kept consistently wet until they mature. Within a week or two, seedlings will appear.
After a few months, your plants will reach maturity and start flowering. Each flower has the potential to turn into a luscious tomato fruit. At this point, it would be wise to support the plant with a tomato fence or support dowels. The large, heavy tomatoes tend to weigh down the plants, making them sag or topple over. To prolong the life of the plant and yield the best harvest, some sort of support structure is a must.
Watering frequency depends on the climate you live in. Particularly hot areas may need watering once or twice a day. The best advice on watering is to maintain moist ground. Feel the ground frequently to get an idea of how often to water. Every month or two, it is important to infuse the ground with nutrients using fertilizer. This comes in many forms, including powder and dissolvable stakes. Either will work well, just be sure to choose the kind specifically designed for vegetables for best results.
Pest infestation is all too common among edible plants, which is why farmers have chosen to use pesticides to protect crops. However, we are trying to avoid using these chemicals so we can enjoy a fresh, garden-grown tomato. Many home-brewed, natural remedies are available that can be sprayed onto the tomato leaves. You can also buy food-safe pest spray from your local home improvement store. When harvest time rolls around, you will need to pick tomatoes as they ripen. The key is to pick them when they are half red/half green. The tomato will continue to ripen after being picked.
If gardening in the ground just isn't for you, don't be discouraged. They are many other ways to grow tomatoes both indoors and out. Consider using a large pot for your plant. A pot can provide a more manageable way to grow a tomato plant without getting on your hands and knees. Also, plants grown in the ground can be subjected to chemicals and other waste in the dirt. Individuals with limited space can grow plants this way, because different varieties of tomato species grow different sizes.
If you have a porch or patio, consider using the "upside down" tomato method. This method uses a special pot that can be hung basically anywhere. The roots of the plant are contained within the pot, while the tomato leaves grow out the bottom. The plant is allowed to grow fuller and without constraint, providing a bountiful harvest.
If you just don't have any outdoor space, you can take the growing indoors. There are lighted growing units designed for table-top use that can grow anything from vegetables to herbs. Smaller varieties like Cherry Tomatoes are perfect for this purpose. Usually there is not enough indoor light to properly grow tomatoes, which is why many of these units have built-in lights. Keeping your plants indoors eliminates the risk of frostbite, heat and pests. It's also a great way to keep a closer eye on your harvest and pick when needed.
Gardening is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, especially when you get to enjoy the taste of a sweet tomato as the result. Getting the whole family involved in tomato gardening can be a wonderful experience. Utilizing a few simple tips and tricks, anyone can have a green thumb.