Growing tomatoes is one of the most popular gardening activities, with many new gardeners opting for tomato planting over other fruits and vegetables. Why? I hear you ask… Well because growing tomato plants is easier than you think! Tomatoes are renowned for their versatility in the kitchen, and just imagine what you could do with your very own home-grown tomatoes.
Now it’s all well and good me saying growing tomatoes is easy, but surely you will have many questions regarding how to grow a tomato plant. So in this simple, complete guide on how to grow tomatoes in your garden or greenhouse, I will aim to answer them!
How To Grow Tomatoes In Your Greenhouse?
First things first, not everyone has a greenhouse. That is why we’ve also added a section called ‘How do you grow tomato plants in your garden?’ – see below. For now, we will focus on tomato growing in your greenhouse.
What Do You Need?
Making sure you have all the correct equipment when growing tomatoes is very important to ensure successful growth, particularly in the early stages. So pop to the closest gardening center or order online and grab yourself these essential items.
- Bamboo or twine sticks for supports
- Large containers or suitable borders
- Small containers for sowing
- Potting mix
- 9cm pots
How To Plant Tomatoes?
Greenhouses are arguably the best way to plant tomatoes as you can control the climate and therefore make the growing conditions more akin to their preferred temperature. You are almost guaranteed a very successful crop if you do have a greenhouse.
When learning how to plant tomato plants it is important to know when to start. We recommend starting your seedlings in small containers mid to late February, they should be kept at around 18 degrees, and once the first 2 leaves start to show you should transplant your tomatoes into 9cm pots. After a few weeks, you should see some fruit starting to show, at this point you should do your second transplant into large containers or the borders of your greenhouse. Tie the main stem of your plant to the bamboo or twine and make sure it is sturdy. You will have to prune the vines that grow sideways as these will cause crowding.
When To Water A Tomato Plant?
Many people fall foul to irregular watering, almost all of us are guilty of forgetting to water our plants and compensating by overwatering. But this is a BIG no when growing tomatoes. The most common way to kill a tomato plant is by irregular watering. If you’re looking for crisp, fresh, ripe tomatoes then make sure you water your plant correctly.
How much water a tomato plant needs varies depending on size and location, so it may take a while to fully understand your tomato plants’ needs. The soil should be consistently wet but don’t overwater as this could cause oxygen deprivation to your plant resulting in root rot. A great way to stop root rot is by cutting plastic bottles in half and insert the neck into the soil next to each vine. Water directly into the bottles like a funnel, this will transport the water directly to the soil beneath your plant and will help avoid rising humidity levels in your greenhouse.
Hopefully, by following these guidelines on how to grow tomatoes in your greenhouse you will be seeing vast amounts of beautiful tomatoes ready to be harvested and enjoyed in your kitchen. One of the many reasons people choose to grow tomatoes from home is simply because they taste so much better. Don’t believe me? Just think about all the extra chemicals and preservatives used to ensure tomatoes can travel around the world in tip-top shape. Can you imagine what is used to make tomatoes all similar in shape, size, and color? Surely it can’t be natural! These extra chemicals may make tomatoes look nice, but they definitely diminish the taste quite significantly. So even if you struggle to grow a tomato plant the first time around, keep trying! It will be well worth it once you’ve started to produce delicious fruits the whole family will love!
How To Grow A Tomato Plant In Your Garden?
Growing tomatoes in your garden can be a tricky business, especially in the beginning stages, that is why we recommend starting your tomato plant indoors.
It is possible to buy tomato plants from garden centers already started, in which case you should transplant them directly into your chosen location when the weather is hot enough. If you are starting your tomato plant from seeds, then follow the below guide.
How To Grow Tomatoes From Seeds?
Growing tomatoes from seeds is the most common method of tomato growing, that doesn’t mean it’s fool-proof though! You should sow your seeds in small containers indoors anytime between Feb-April. Tomato plants love sunlight and cannot survive in low light conditions, so be sure to place your containers on a windowsill with plenty of access to sunlight. Your seedlings should be kept in temperatures reaching 23 degrees and should only be transplanted outdoors once the weather is suitable. If you notice your plant is growing rapidly but feels weak, then it is possible the conditions are too hot. Do not remove your plant from bright light in this situation, instead lower the indoor temperature and add an additional grow light to help your vines build strength.
Transferring Tomatoes Outdoors
In midsummer hopefully, the temperature will be suitable for you to move your seedlings outside. It is important to acclimatize your plant by leaving it outside during the day and bringing it inside at night the week before you plant your tomatoes in their final location.
The final location for your tomato plant should be somewhere in full sunlight, not shaded by other plants or trees. Dig a hole in the flowerbed deeper than the current pot it is in. Gently lift your tomato plant out of the pot being careful not to damage the roots and place it in the hole. Fill in the hole with extra soil and pack down lightly so your plant is sturdy. If needed, tie your vines to a cane of twine or bamboo to help with growth.
If it is a dry day, then water your plant immediately, if the conditions are wetter, then you can wait a day or two until watering.
How To Care For A Tomato Plant
Tomato plants are easy to care for once you get into a routine. It can be hard to recognize the vines that will produce fruits and the vines that are hindering growth, once you can identify these correctly your plant will flourish as you trim away the side vines. Watering regularly and maintaining steady moist soil is imperative to ensure your tomatoes don’t tear.
By fall you should have a wonderful selection of ripe tomatoes ready to be harvested, you will wonder why you never planted them sooner. Your kitchen will be full of lovely, juicy tomatoes ready to add to salads, pasta sauces, and soups. Once you’ve started planting tomatoes in your garden or greenhouse you’ll never stop, each year you will start new growth and reap the rewards come harvest time.
So the most important things to remember when growing tomatoes are to set up a regular watering schedule, give your plant plenty of sunlight, attach a support pole if needed, and always start your seeds inside if you’re looking for healthy growth.
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