If you’ve been looking for nutrient-rich foods that are delicious too, you don’t need to look much further than the tomato. Tomatoes are packed with vitamin C, lycopene, potassium, vitamin K, and folate, and they’re so versatile in recipes and simple meals. You can practically always find tomatoes at the grocery store and local farmers’ markets. But there’s also something very satisfying (and surprisingly easy) about growing your own tomatoes at home.
Starting Tomato Seeds Indoors
Many people start growing tomatoes from seeds, which is best done indoors. Learn when the last frost date is in your area and plant the seeds inside about six weeks before that.
There are special mixes that are good for seed starting, while good containers to use can be anything with drainage holes. Seeds need a constantly warm temperature of around 70 to 75 degrees. Tomato seeds like plenty of sunshine, but you may want an LED grow light if your home doesn’t get a lot of natural light. While they’re in the indoor containers, keep the soil moist but not soaking wet. Also, rotate the plants regularly so they grow straight up rather than leaning towards the light.
Moving Plants into the Garden
After the last spring frost, it’s safe to move your indoor plants outside in the garden. Garden fabric will help protect the new seedlings, as well as row covers or plant covers just in case a surprise frost happens later. It typically only takes a couple months or less for tomatoes to be harvested once you move them into the garden.
Harvesting Tomato Plants
It’s a good idea to wait until tomato plants fully ripen before picking them because the flavors improve and get more complex with time. Once you pick them, keep the tomatoes at room temperature because anything under 55 degrees can cause them to become less flavorful. However, you can also freeze, can, and dry tomatoes for future use if you have enough to enjoy both now and later.
Avoiding Problems with Tomato Growing
Some varieties of tomatoes are more heat tolerant than others, so choose a hearty type if you live somewhere where temperatures often exceed 90 degrees. It’s important to maintain even soil moisture for your plants to prevent rot and overcome drought conditions.
The best fertilizer for tomato plants is pure fish. So, to give your tomatoes the best opportunities to grow and keep chemicals out of your homegrown food, use Seagate’s Fish Fertilizer and Seaweed & Fish SoilTabs for your tomato plants. You’ll also want to inspect your plants regularly for any pests or disease so you can address those issues early with organic pesticides and fungicides. Make sure your plants always get plenty of light as they grow throughout the season too.
Have you grown tomato plants at your home? Share your experience with us in the comment section below!