Locally grown tomatoes are a little piece of heaven. Their flavor and texture far surpass that of store-bought tomatoes, and they come in seemingly endless colors, shapes and sizes. Grape-nut tomatoes are the jewel of the summer garden.
Gardeners have been working hard to improve the health and yield of tomato plants, collecting tomato plant techniques from fertilization and pruning to pest control. But not every secret of tomato cultivation is worthy of attention.
To put you on the path to the best tomato crop ever, we've compiled six amazing tips on how to grow tomatoes without wasting a lot of time and energy. Plus, we have to start by telling you one of the best tomato-growing secrets: you don't even need a garden.
Secret #1: Use Fabric Aeration Containers
Fabric aeration containers are the ideal place to grow tomatoes. Made of porous, lightweight fabric, these containers are not only easy to handle, but they also allow for quality plants to be grown. Tomatoes grown in ceramic, terra cotta or plastic containers are often trapped and their coiled roots may reduce plant growth and yield. However, the permeability of fabric aeration containers means that the soil is always well aerated, leading to the development of large amounts of fibrous roots and preventing plants from becoming rooted.
Fabric aeration containers are portable and allow you to easily move tomato plants for maximum exposure to sunlight. Plus, they are inexpensive and don't require a lot of space.
Tip 2: Use a good growing medium mixed with compost
A very important step in growing tomatoes successfully is to fill your containers with the correct growing medium. Tomatoes grown in the ground are highly susceptible to soil fax fungal diseases whose spores can easily spill onto the leaves, while tomatoes grown in aerated fabric containers are planted in the ideal growing medium for optimal growth. As well as disease prevention and suppression.
To fill containers, use 60/40 fine-screened compost and high-quality peat or coconut husk potting soil. Because fabric aeration containers are made of porous fabric, there is no need to worry about a high percentage of compost being too dense, which is not conducive to root growth. This is a concern with other types of containers. The roots always get good aeration in the fabric pot.
The compost in this mixture has a high water holding capacity, which reduces the need to water the tomato plants. The large amounts and micronutrients contained in it will be released slowly for the plants to use over a long period of time. Compost is a known disease suppressant. Many studies have indicated that plants grown in compost-amended soil can significantly reduce disease, especially that caused by soil-borne pathogens.
Potting soil added to compost improves drainage and helps prevent containers from becoming too heavy. If fertilizer is included, the mixed potting soil composition will also help to feed the growing tomatoes.
Tip 3: Plant the right variety
When growing tomatoes in fabric-ventilated containers, consider which variety is best for you. Although any type of tomato can be grown in aerated fabric containers-from steak or salad to paste or cherry-you'll need to choose the right variety of tomato for whatever size aerated air you have.
For each decisive patio-type tomato, use a five- or ten-gallon fabric container. Larger indeterminate tomato varieties work best in larger containers, while miniature cherry tomatoes can be grown in bags as small as two or three gallons.
Tip 4: Water wisely
Don't be petty when watering your tomato plants. Regular irrigation will result in the healthiest plants and the highest yields. Conversely, unsustainable irrigation can lead to a disease called "blossom end rot," which is a black rot that appears at the base of the fruit.
Tomatoes are grown in ventilated containers with the proper growing medium and may require daily irrigation during the hot summer months. It is not necessary in cooler weather. Deep, thorough irrigation is best for plants. When watering tomato plants, avoid simply "sprinkling" the water. Instead, completely saturate the root system with each watering.
For best disease suppression, keep leaves dry when watering. Wet foliage promotes fungal diseases.
Tip 5: Use scaffolding to promote growth
To maximize the yield of tomato plants and keep developing fruit off the ground, use mounds or grids to encourage vertical growth. While some gardeners choose to cut off excessive plant growth, others do not. Whether or not you choose to prune tomato plants, their stems should be enclosed in wire cages or tied to grids or other support structures.
Tip #6: Repot and plant tomatoes year-round!
Our final tomato growing tip: Tomato plants can be "potted" into larger containers throughout the growing season. Moving unfixed tomato varieties into slightly larger inflatable fabric containers will produce huge and surprising "tomato trees" that can even be moved to a greenhouse for the winter and grown year-round.
With these great tomato growing skills, you'll find that growing tomatoes successfully is a breeze.