With the warming weather, I’ve been able to get out and do a little digging in my garden. In fact, last Saturday I began planting my tomatoes in my vegetable garden. As I was out digging in the dirt, I thought I’d like to share my simple tips for successfully growing tomatoes.
Do you garden or have a veggie garden? Or are you new to gardening and are looking for some helpful tips? In my opinion, digging in the dirt is good for my soul, gardening is my therapy. In fact, I believe it’s good for everyone.
Health benefits of Growing a Garden
As a child, I worked along side with my parents in the garden. At the time I didn’t have the love that I have for it now.
However as I’ve grown and matured I recognized the health benefits of gardening.
I believe it to be a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. Along with the benefits of caring for and harvesting your own food.
What Growing Tomatoes or Any Vegetable can do for you...
Health benefits for you:
- helps fight disease
- builds strength
- promotes sleep
- helps maintain a healthy weight
- improves memory
- calms you after stressful events
- boosts mood
- fosters human connections
- heals and empowers
Does that make you want to get out and plant a garden?
Well let’s get into my garden and start growing tomatoes.
Tips for Growing Tomatoes
First of all you’ll want to prepare your soil. I like to keep my garden free from chemicals and pesticides.
I like to amend my soil with composted manure. There are many options available, I usually choose a composted chicken or steer manure. This is something that I add to my soil every year.
The first year we planted a garden at this home, we also added vermiculite or perlite. This helps break up hard and compacted soil.
We’ve also installed a drip irrigation system, which directs water at the roots of the plants. Not only does this conserve water, but also cuts down on weeds.
Another quick and easy way to add nutrients to your garden when growing tomatoes is eggshells. Not only do eggshells add nutrients to your soil like calcium and potassium, but they also keep slugs and snails from your plants.
I believe the temptation when you purchase a large tomato plant is to plant it level with surface of the pot. Then it looks like your plant is big and healthy.
But in fact, when growing tomatoes, planting them deeper is better.
Dig your hole so that only the top 2 or 3 branches of the tomato plant are above the soil.
Pinch off branches
Before you place your tomato plant in the hole, pinch off all of the lower branches. You’ll just want the branches that will be above the soil left on.
By doing this, your tomato plant will grow roots all along the stem. Clearly making for a more stable and healthy tomato plant.
Planting the Tomato Plant
Once all of the lower branches have been removed, place the plant into the hole and make sure you’ve dug it deep enough.
Then remove the pot, place the tomato plant back in the hole and replace the dirt around the tomato plant.
Surely, growing tomatoes this way makes for a healthier tomato plant, which will mean more tomatoes to harvest.
After planting the tomato plant, place the drip emitter near the stem of the plant.
Growing Tomatoes: Companion Plants
Growing tomatoes with companion planting will not only help your tomatoes grow and taste better, but also it can help deter pests.
Best Companion Plants When Growing Tomatoes
Basil and bee balm are both great companion plants to plant near tomatoes. Not only to they enhance the flavor of the tomatoes and but also encourage growth.
Lettuce is another great companion plant when growing tomatoes. First of all, it doesn’t compete for the same nutrients, but it can also act as a living mulch around the base of your plants.
Peppers are another great companion option. They have similar care and nutrient requirements.
Carrots can also help loosen the soil around tomato plants. Which will allow more nutrients to get to your tomato plants. This is a great way to utilize your space.
Pest Control Companions
Garlic and onions are a great pest control when growing tomatoes. They can repel spider mites and aphids.In fact, any member of that plant family including leeks and chives are great companions. Onions can also add more flavor to your tomatoes.
Marigolds and Nastursiums are great planting companions for many garden plants. Not only do they deter pests, but they also attract beneficial insects. Plus Nastursium flowers can also be added to your salad.
As we talk about pest control, one of the biggest pests we’ve struggled with in our garden is deer. Can any of you relate? While, I love to enjoy the deer in my yard, they’d eat every tomato plant!
But, last year we finally got a handle on this problem with our Deer Fence.
What Not to Plant by Tomatoes
Finally when growing tomatoes, there are plants that your tomatoes do not like.
Broccoli, cauliflower, kale and any plant from the cabbage family are not great friends with the tomato. They will inhibit the growth of your tomato plants.
Fennel is another plant that will inhibit the growth of your tomato plants.
On the other hand, Corn is another plant you don’t want to plant near your tomatoes. They have a common pests, the tomato worm and corn ear worm. Planting them together will attract these pests.
Stress your Plant
I came across this tip while researching about growing tomatoes. While I’ve been gardening for over 30 years, this is a new one for me.
At the end of the growing season, stress your tomato plant. This will help it to produce more fruit.
Simply take a shovel to cut through the roots. You want to be about a foot to foot and a half away from the main tomato stem.
I will definitely be trying this tip this fall.
Tools For Growing Tomatoes
If you are new to gardening, or need a few new tools, here are some of my favorites.
Share Your Tomato Growing Tips
Do you have tips for growing tomatoes? We’d all love to hear them. You know we are always looking for tips and new ideas to improve our home and garden space.
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