Did you know there was a time when tomatoes were considered poisonous? Now, tomatoes are considered the ‘Food of the Gods’ and Mediterranean cuisine certainly owes a lot of its flavor to tomatoes. Also, nothing looks more cheerful in the garden than a plant full of bright, juicy tomatoes. Here are some easy steps to growing tomatoes.
1. Starting with Plants
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If you wish, you can start the tomato growing process by buying baby tomato plants from the nursery and transplanting them into your garden. The best plants to buy are those that have been seeded 6-8 weeks prior. This is, of course, a better option if you prefer easy steps to growing tomatoes.
2. Starting with Seeds
If you wish to start tomato planting with seeds, you will first need to use peat pots or plugs and let them grow for 6 weeks before transplanting them into your garden.
3. Choosing the Right Spot
Choose a spot in your garden that gets ample sunlight. If your garden soil is too wet, create mounds of 4-6 inches and set your tomato plants in them. If your garden soil is too dry, make a depression in the ground and set your tomato plants in them. Provide at least 2 square feet for each plant.
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Watering is one of the most important steps to growing tomatoes. You need to provide at least 16 ounces of water every day for at least 10 days. Tomato plants need 1 to 3 inches of rain daily. If they are not getting this, ensure that you provide 1 gallon of water every 2 days. Water the plants 2-3 times a day.
5. Providing Support
Providing support to the tomato plants is also one of the crucial steps to growing tomatoes. All you have to do is make stakes that are at least 4 feet tall and tie the tomato plants to their stakes with strings. You may need to use more than one stake to hold a tomato plant.
6. Pruning and Shaking
Both these practices are heavily debated. Some believe that tomato plants should be pruned after the first tomatoes appear. This may reduce the number of tomatoes, but will increase the quality. Also, some people believe that shaking the tomato plants gently once or twice a week after flowering has begun helps spread the pollen more evenly.
7. Friendly and Unfriendly Neighbors
Planting your tomato plants nears borage or calendula will protect it from tomato bugs. Planting them near basil plants will actually enhance their flavor. You can also plant them near celery, carrots, mint and cabbage, but never plant them near fennel or corn.
If you follow these steps to growing tomatoes, soon you will have fresh, ripe and juicy tomatoes in your own vegetable garden. I have always believed that tomatoes grown in one’s own garden are definitely tastier and more flavorful because of the deep care and love we put into them.
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