Tomatoes are one of the most popular veggies for food gardeners, and rightly so–there isn’t much in life better than a fresh tomato straight from the garden to your mouth. However, like with any plant, tomatoes have their preferences. Before you start digging up dirt, check out these simple tips for growing tomatoes to ensure you have a large, healthy crop:
1. Plant your tomatoes at least 4 inches deep to promote an extensive root system; plant deeper than 6 inches if you live in a hot climate zone–the deeper you plant, the cooler and more moist the soil.
Photo from Ark Country Store
2. Use plastic water tepees to moderate the effects of cold and heat on your plants. They also protect the plants from blowing over in the wind.
Photo from Garden Experiments
3. When the plant is just starting to grow, help it devote most of its energy to creating the root system by plucking the first flowers. By the time the second round blooms, the roots will have had a chance to form a strong system to support the rest of the plant.
Photo from Redwood Barn
4. Use cages, trellises, or stakes to encourage upward growth instead of horizontal sprawling. This will make for easier harvesting and even help prevent diseases and pests from destroying your tomato plants.
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5. Tomato plants need about 8 hours of full sun per day. The soil should be well drained, hold water evenly, and be enriched by compost.
Photo from Growers Supply
6. Water at the base of the plant, never from above because wet foliage can make your plant susceptible to infection from spores.
Photo from Grow Better Veggies
7. Cover the soil with mulch to regulate soil temperature and prevent the soil from drying out.
Photo from Gardening Know How