Use of fresh juicy tomatoes can make a meal colorful and yummy. Garden fresh tomatoes have a flavor that no store bought or canned tomatoes can match. If you are a garden enthusiast, you have already grown tomatoes, but this information is for those new to tomato growing.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, tomatoes are the most popular home grown vegetable in the country, simply because they are easy to grow and easy to harvest. With over 2,000 varieties of tomatoes, selecting is not that difficult, plus the new hybrids introduced are significantly disease resistant as compared to the ones grown a decade ago.
Choose your variety; indeterminant or determinant. The difference is that the formers growth stalls by the formation of flower clusters at shoot tips, hence tend to be smaller, not meant for prolonged fruiting, whereas in the latter flowering, shoots are formed along the sides of the main stems, so plant continues to flower and fruit until frost sets in.
Indeterminate types need to be staked or caged for support, as they can spread wide. Another variety is a semi-determinate, which combines the qualities of both; determinate and indeterminate types. Before we get down to actually tomato growing, a few pointers to get you ready.
Which month is best for planting tomatoes?
Tomatoes should be planted around the month of May, a few weeks ahead or later depending completely on the zones one stays, or the climate conditions.
What is the right temperature for planting tomatoes?
The temperature is an indicator to determine the best time to plant tomatoes. Ideal temperature would be a uniformly moderate, 70-75 ºF during the day and 65-68 ºF at night, a few degree variations are quite acceptable.
Once a fair idea regarding the best time of year for planting is clear, it is a matter of soil preparation and planting seedlings. Tomatoes are suited for both; container gardening and vegetable beds. Make your own raised bed vegetable garden.
Make sure you select soil that has been tilled well. The soil should be slightly acid soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7.8. Although, tomatoes grow in most types of soil, a light, well-drained fertile soil, high in organic matter, is considered best.
Tomato plant stared from seeds should be stared 5 to 6 weeks before the intended outdoor planting date. Transplanted seedlings should be at a six leaf stage. One can purchase ready seedlings of specific stock from garden centers. Select healthy plant with lots of foliage that have no flower set.
Plant the seedlings for indeterminate tomatoes at 3 to 4 feet in rows spaced at five feet (make space for trellis and cages), whereas for determinant, plant them two feet apart in rows that are spaced apart four feet.