Tomato Gardening 101
Tomatoes are a popular vegetable that are grown and consumed worldwide. They are known for their juicy, sweet taste and are often used in a variety of dishes, from salads and sandwiches to sauces and soups. To successfully grow tomatoes, it's important to understand the basics about this plant, including its history, growing requirements, and how to care for it.
History of Tomatoes: Tomatoes originated in South America and were first cultivated by the Aztecs. The fruit was introduced to Europe by Spanish explorers in the 16th century and quickly became popular. Today, tomatoes are grown all over the world and are a staple in many kitchens.
Growing Requirements: Tomatoes grow best in warm climates. They require full sun exposure, well-draining soil, and consistent moisture. Tomatoes also need support to keep their stems from breaking as they grow tall and heavy with fruit. Trellises, cages, or stakes can all be used to provide support.
Products we sell: Tomato cage, micromesh tomato tube
Soil Preparation: Before planting, the soil should be enriched with compost or other organic matter to improve soil health. The soil should also be well-draining to prevent water from pooling around the roots, which can lead to disease and root rot. Your tomatoes can be planted directly in the garden after the last frost date, or planted in containers if you have limited space. When planting, space the plants 18-36 inches apart, depending on the variety.
Products we sell: Pulp Pot, Malibu potting soil, malibu compost, G&B potting mix, G&B planting mix
Care: Tomatoes require consistent moisture, so make sure to water regularly, especially during dry spells. If the soil is consistently moist, tomatoes will not have to work as hard to find water and will be able to focus on producing fruit. If planted in the ground, it is important to mulch the soil around the base of the plants to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
Products we sell: Traditional watering can, water wand with one touch valve
Pruning: To maximize fruit production, it's important to prune your tomato plants. This involves removing any dead or diseased branches, as well as any suckers that grow in the crevices between the stem and branches. Pruning also helps improve air circulation, which can help prevent disease.
Products we sell: Corona thinning sheer and the Corona branch and stem pruner
Fertilizing: Tomatoes are heavy feeders, so it's important to fertilize them regularly to ensure healthy growth and maximum fruit production. Fertilize the tomatoes in the ground every 6-8 weeks. Once a month in containers A balanced, all-purpose fertilizer can be used. If in raised bed add some fish bone meal to prevent blossom end rot also once a month when planted in container.
David Rizzo Tip! Stop fertilizing once they start setting fruit
Products we sell: All-purpose fertilizer, containing 10% calcium (which tomatoes need a lot of) to prevent blossom-end rot.
Pests and Diseases: Tomatoes are susceptible to a variety of pests and diseases, including aphids, cutworms, and blossom end rot. To prevent these problems, make sure to keep your plants healthy and well-cared for, and take steps to remove any affected fruit. If a pest or disease becomes a problem, we have a variety of organic treatments available.
Products we sell: Monterey liquid copper spray, Monterey take down and end all
Harvesting: Tomatoes are usually ready to be harvested when they are fully ripe and have a deep red color. To harvest, gently twist the fruit from the stem, taking care not to damage the plant. Tomatoes can be stored on the counter for a few days or in the refrigerator for longer storage.
Growing tomatoes can be a rewarding experience, as they are a delicious and versatile vegetable that can be used in many different dishes. By understanding the basics of tomato growing, you can ensure that your plants are healthy and productive, providing you with a bountiful harvest.