we start our tomatoes indoors in mid-March, about 6 weeks before the last frost and 7 to 8 weeks before transplanting into the garden.
Though it’s very tempting to start earlier, we’ve found that it doesn’t provide a significant advantage.
In early May, when nighttime temps are in the 40’s or above, we move the tomatoes outside, preferably on an overcast day, and place them in the shade.
This begins the hardening off process.
Over the course of the next week or two, we gradually move them out of the shade and into the sun.
This allows them to adapt to outdoor conditions and reduces subscale.
Sometime around mid-May, when nighttime temperatures are mostly in the 50’s or above, we transplant the tomatoes.
Much of our garden is partially shaded, so we save the sunniest spots for tomatoes.
We also practice crop rotation and don’t plant tomatoes where tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, or eggplants grew the prior year.
Tomatoes can grow new roots along the stem, so we plant them fairly deep, leaving only about 4 to 6 inches above ground and snipping branches if needed.
We space our indeterminate tomatoes one per square foot and prune suckers to prevent overcrowding.
This helps maximize yields per square foot.
When the plants get taller, we also prune the lowest branches to reduce blight.
As the plants grow, we weave them through the trellis grid, which usually provides more than enough support for the plants.
When they reach the top of our 8 foot trellises, we top them off to encourage fruit production.
Tomatoes need moderate to high watering during the growth stage and light watering at harvest time.
We have a lot of rain in the extended forecast, so we probably won’t have to water much in the near future.
In a couple of weeks, when soil temperatures are higher, we’ll mulch the tomatoes to reduce watering requirements.
This will also reduce soil splash, which will protect the plants from blight.
Finally, we’ve found through experience and a soil test that compost, worm castings, and mulch from free local resources provide more than enough nutrients for our tomatoes and the rest of our plants.
that’s all for now.
19 Perfect Tips How To Growing Tomatoes in Pots.
- Use Biodegradable Pots Peat pots make planting extra easy: Just dig the hole, put in the plant, and fill in with soil.
- There’s no need to take your plants out of the pot.
- Feed Them Well Like growing kids, tomatoes are heavy feeders, so add plenty of organic matter (such as compost) to the soil.
- Give them an early boost by working a little fertilizer into the soil at planting time.
- Plant Deeply Tomato plants form roots all the way along their stems, so you can give your plants an extra-strong root system (especially the tall, leggy ones) by planting them on their sides.
- Do remove any leaves that would be covered under the soil, though.
- Buried leaves could rot and encourage disease.
- Water Well It’s always a good idea to give freshly added plants a little extra water the first week or two after you plant them to help them get established.They’re most susceptible to drying out when they’re young.
- Stake Them There are two basic categories of tomatoes: determinate and indeterminate.
- Determinate tomatoes, sometimes called bush tomatoes, put on most of their growth before they start to bloom and produce fruit.
- Indeterminate tomatoes keep growing after they start to bloom — so the plants can become quite large (more than 6 feet tall).
- Stake indeterminate tomatoes to keep them standing.It will help keep the plants healthy and make the fruits easier to harvest.
- Plant in Pots Try planting your tomatoes in containers if you’ve had trouble growing them in the past.
- Large containers filled with a high-quality potting mix give your plants more protection from fungal diseases.
- Try Red Mulch We know mulch is good for the garden — but university research suggests that red plastic mulch may make your tomato plants more productive.(One study showed yields increased by 20 percent by using red mulch.) Red mulch also helps the soil conserve moisture longer during hot, dry periods and inhibits weeds.
- Keep Out Cutworms Hungry cutworms attack young vegetables.
- Protect your tomatoes by giving them a collar of newspaper.Or cut the top and bottom off a tin can and sink that into the soil around your plants.It creates a barrier that forces the cutworms to go looking for another dinner.
- Protect Them from Cold You can use a variety of devices to protect your tomatoes from the cold if you want to get a jump-start on the tomato-growing season.
- One of the easiest is a simple cloche made from an old milk jug; simply cut the bottom of the jug and set it over your tomato plants.Leave the top open so the cloche doesn’t get too hot inside during sunny days.
- Keep the Foliage Dry Tomatoes are susceptible to a number of diseases.
- To keep your plants healthy, water with a soaker hose.This helps the foliage stay drier; wet foliage (especially in late afternoon, evening, and nighttime hours) can encourage common fungal diseases such as blight.