Five Tips for Growing Tomatoes at Home

How to grow your own tomatoes

Growing tomatoes is often the motivation for starting a vegetable garden, and every tomato lover dreams of growing the best tomato: juicy, sweet, aromatic and, of course, blemish free. Perfection.

Unfortunately, tomatoes are prone to more problems than other veggies in your garden. The trick to growing the best tomatoes is to ensure you start them off right and control problems before they begin. Follow these growing tips for a harvest worthy of your dreams this summer.

1. Sunshine=Success

A limiting factor for some tomato growers is big trees that block the sunshine from getting to the tomatoes. Low sunshine levels do not allow the plant to thrive, so a requirement of six to eight hours of sunlight per day is essential for your tomato plants. 

2. NOT a Cool Weather Crop...

Tomato plants don’t tolerate cool air and soil temperatures. So, the ideal planting time for tomatoes is mid-May. By this time of the year, the chance for frost is low and the soil has warmed up enough for the tomatoes to prosper.

3. Cage ‘em Up

Because tomato plants grow upright, they need a cage or stake to hold them up and support the weight of all that wonderful fruit. Tomatoes can get heavy enough to pull the entire plant to the ground. We’d hate to see that happen!Additionally, diseases that can damage the fruit thrive in moist soil, so letting the fruit touch the ground makes infection far more likely. The best tomato cages are homemade from concrete and wire to sustain the weight of all the tomatoes. A T-post is recommended to hold the cage upright against our Kansas winds.

4. Consistency Is Key 

To ensure a healthy and hydrated tomato plant, maintaining a consistent moisture level is crucial. Ensure your plants are never sopping wet, nor completely dry. Tomatoes are adapted to the summer Kansas conditions and grow best with an even supply of moisture. Uneven moisture throughout the growing period can result in lower fruit quality and quantity. 

5. Prevent Those Pests

This garden favorite can also suffer from attacks and infestation by a wide range of pests. Sevin Dust is a brand-name insecticide used on tomato plants and other crops. It kills tomato armyworms, fruit worms, hornworms and stinkbugs, as well as bugs that attack other vegetables. Dust your tomato plants with Sevin prior to harvest as needed.

Whether you’re a seasoned grower, or this is your first time, tomatoes are an easy crop to grow in backyard gardens. For the most part, tomatoes are low-maintenance and, with proper care, produce loads of delicious fruit. Just thinking about tomatoes makes my mouth water for a slice, or even better, a BLT.

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