Requires six hours or more
of strong, direct sun per day.
Requires two to six hours
of direct sun per day.
Growing perfect tomatoes
A fine source of the vitamins A and C, the common tomato is easily grown in almost any home garden. Because of its food value, many uses and ease of culture, the tomato is probably the plant most widely grown by the home gardener.
In order to produce top quality produce special care must be taken in the maintenance of the tomato patch. The application of organic gardening techniques is essential to growing great tomato plants in the home garden. Growing perfect tomatoes requires that you give your plants the full range of natural conditions that they require.
Natural tomato cultivationIf you plant a six-pack of the tomato variety recommended by your garden store, and all plants grow and produce well, you can count yourself lucky. But if your experience hasn't been all that successful, the following advice should be helpful.
Holistically in order to achieve the optimum results from your tomato plants you must mimic nature as closely as possible in your tomato patch. Developing a microclimate in your garden, that is beneficial to tomatoes, will enhance the growth and health of all of your plantings. Maintaining these conditions is imperative to the full maturation and development of the ultimate tomato and other garden vegetables. The following information will explain the basics of this type of cultivation.
Maintenance of your tomato patch
To produce a superior crop of tomatoes you will need to monitor their progress throughout the growing cycle. The following points are critical to achieving a natural balance for your plants.
To a plant, light is life. Sunlight is used by the leaves to convert raw materials into useable plant food, and provides the light requirements needed for photosynthesis. The tomato should have 8 hours of continuous sunlight, but can get along with less. However the less sun that the plants receive the more it will negatively affect their rate of growth and the amount of fruit that they will produce.
Most tomato varieties require night temperatures between 55░ and 75░ to set their fruit. But there are varieties that will set fruit at lower and higher temperatures. Always select seeds that produce plants which are suited to your local climate. Read the seed planting and growing tips found on your seed pack for this information.
Protection of leaves and roots:
Leaves and roots need protection from temperature extremes, strong winds, birds, beasts and weed competition as well as pests and diseases. If you start with healthy seedlings, provide them with well composted soil and beneficial companion plants your tomatoes are in a good position to protect themselves from any danger. Only a minimum of attention by you will be required to keep the tomato patch in tip top shape.
Beneficial companion plants
Certain plants are beneficial to tomatoes for both growth and insect control. Growing basil, chives, onions, parsley, asparagus, marigold, nasturtium, carrots and limas throughout your tomato patch will keep your crop healthy and insect free. For information on other vegetable companion plants see the companion planting chart.
There are two types of tomato plants. "Inderterminate" varieties continue to produce fruit throughout the growing season and taste better than determinate types. "Determinate" types of tomato plants die out after attaining a certain size.
The proper soil for tomatoes:
The most important factor in the growth of tomato plants is proper soil preparation. Roots breathe the way you do. Deprived of air, roots, or portions of roots die of suffocation. When tilling the soil make sure it is loose and friable, permitting good drainage for your tomato plants.
Neither too much, nor too little is key to the tomatoes water requirements. Too much water can drown tomato plant roots, especially if soil is heavy. Too little water can stop tomato production. Always maintain as steady a supply of water as possible. Growing perfect tomatoes requires that your plants maintain steady and uninterrupted growth throughout the growing season.
Nutrient requirements of tomatoes:
The daily requirements of tomato plants for fertilizers is small, but that amount should be available when the plant needs it. Organic fertilizers are always your best bet. They release their nutrients slowly, over time, and mimic the natural feeding conditions in which the plants can thrive. Always follow package directions of the fertilizer you are using for best results.
Moon Phase planting of tomatoes
The best results will be achieved by gardening according to moon phases. Tomatoes should be planted when the moon is in the 2nd Quarter (i.e. waxing) and in one of the following Zodiac Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Growing the best tomatoes
You don't have to be a horticulturist to grow perfect tomatoes. You have only to follow the basic rules of plant growth. What trips up many a grower of tomatoes is a lack of concern with one or another of the needs of the plant.
You can go into the garden, look at a tomato plant, and decide that it needs more fertilizer. But, you should bear in mind that fertilizing, the nature of the soil in which the tomato vine is planted, and your watering habits are all interdependent.