Showing posts with label The Ultimate Guide to Growing Organic Tomatoes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Ultimate Guide to Growing Organic Tomatoes. Show all posts

May 25, 2017

The Ultimate Guide to Growing Organic Tomatoes

I have to confess that my green thumb does not extend to vegetables or indoor plants. Herbs, shrubs, and flowers are my specialty. One year I tried to grow tomatoes and was not very successful. The following year the bugs killed it and now I go to the farmers market and call it a day. There are many people that have that patience and green thumb for vegetables. I am so not in this group and that's okay but if you do then this guest post by Jackie Edwards is perfect for you. 
Happy Growing! 

The Ultimate Guide to Growing Organic Tomatoes
What garden is complete without a vine of fresh, juicy tomatoes just waiting to be plucked and eaten? As a delicious and nutritious addition to almost any cuisine, it’s no surprise that tomatoes are the world’s most popular fruit. Tomato plants are hardy and relatively easy to cultivate, making them an ideal addition to any organic vegetable garden.
Types of Tomatoes
When deciding what type of tomato you want to grow, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by all of the different varieties you can find. You should take into consideration not only personal taste preferences, but also how a species grows, when it matures, its full size, and whether or not the strain is disease resistant. You can find both determinate breeds, which ripen all at once, and indeterminate tomato plants, which continue producing new fruit on the vine until the first frosts start to arrive in early winter. There are almost endless varieties of tomato, from tiny Sungolds to hefty Brandywine pinks, but there are a few main categories that plants fall under:
     Cherry and Grape Tomatoes: These plants produce cute little fruits that are crispy, sweet, and go great in salads. Their size makes them ideal for potting and small spaces, while their hardy nature makes them easy to grow in cooler climates.
     Salad Tomatoes: Larger than cherry tomatoes, this plant produces fruit that is tart, acidic, and perfect for slicing. Despite the name, they’re great in much more than just salads. Use them to make a loose tomato sauce, slice them for sandwiches, or make a delicious tomato soup.
     Beefsteak Tomatoes: A popular tomato variety, this plant's name really does the plant justice. It produces fruits that are large and meaty, but they require a long summer growing season and may not thrive in gardens further north.
     Roma Tomatoes: Also known as paste tomatoes, these fruits are sweet and firm, with more meat than juice. They’re perfect for Italian sauces and as a roasted topping.
Planting and Transplanting
No matter what variety of tomato you choose, you should plant seeds two to three weeks after the last frost, around mid-spring to early summer. It should be long enough after the last frost of the summer that the soil is warm enough for germination to happen. Plant seeds 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch deep in starter compost, preferably in a seed tray. Once you see the first leaves sprouting, transplant the seedling into a small pot. You should keep moving your plant into larger pots as it grows so that a healthy root system has room to develop. As the plant grows older, you may have to stake it for extra support.
Soil
If you’re planting your tomatoes from seed, start your plant in some specially crafted soil designed for germinating plants. You can switch to regular potting soil when the plant begins to mature. Use quarter strength fertilizer when you move your plant to your garden, and then again every one to two weeks once it starts producing fruit. If your plant’s leaves start turning a purple color, it means they aren't getting enough nutrients from the soil, and you should reapply fertilizer regardless of whether the plant is fruiting or not.
Sunlight
Tomato plants need plenty of sunlight in order to produce fruit. Without enough light, plants can become leggy and unhealthy. Tomato plants should get at least eight hours of direct sunlight each day, whether they’re kept indoors or outdoors.
Water
Seedlings need plenty of water as they grow, preferably from the bottom of the container so that no leaves are damaged. After the plant has sprouted, soil should remain moist to the touch, but not soggy. Too much water in the soil can lead to root rot. With proper care and a little bit of TLC, you can grow delicious organic tomatoes in your garden to enjoy in salads, sandwiches, and other meals.

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