Top Vegetable Gardening Tips For Tomato Growing
Vegetable gardening tips for tomato growing are readily available. Most gardeners are happy to share their tomato growing tips and even non-gardeners who attempt to grow tomatoes every spring will offer advice. The difficulty for the novice tomato grower comes in trying so sort the valuable vegetable gardening tips for tomato growing from the old wives’ tales.
One of the best sources for vegetable gardening help is a local nursery. Buying plants at a supermarket or a chain store with garden center may allow you to purchase plants at a cheaper price, but it is unlikely that the staff in these stores know a great deal about gardening. For reliable vegetable gardening help, visit a local nursery. Many nurseries carry plants that they themselves have grown from seed, and they will be knowledgeable about each variety of plant and can advise on local conditions.
Local Garden Club
Most towns have a local garden club and meeting together with other gardeners is a great way to obtain vegetable gardening help and improve your knowledge. Other gardeners from your locality will have abundant information about the requirements of vegetables in your zone. When you enlist the aid of gardeners that are local to your area, you will get vegetable gardening help that you can use because these gardeners understand the unique needs of your particular zone.
Local garden clubs often run workshops or classes on topics ranging from composting, to growing a particular variety of heirloom vegetable, to pest control in the garden. Many often sponsor projects such as community gardens which can provide gardening space to those who live in apartments and have no garden space of their own. and taking part in an altruistic endeavor with your fellow garden club members is a fantastic way to learn all sorts of gardening secrets and tips.
Even if you don’t join a garden club taking part in some workshops will provide you with an opportunity to meet fellow gardeners and form friendships with people with a common interest.
The County Extension Office
Another top resource for vegetable gardening advice is your local county extension office. They specialize in solving the gardening problems unique to your local environment. They can perform soil tests, identify plants and diseases and sometimes supply free seeds or plants
Once you’ve gained some gardening knowledge it’s time to get your hands dirty.
Tomatoes and other vegetables are easy to grow if you start with good soil. Before you plant your garden, till the soil to about a depth of ten inches and dig in some well rotted compost or other organic material. Complete this step several weeks before you want to plant your tomatoes.
For a larger garden, you can rent a tiller, but for a small garden space you can use a gardening fork to dig in the compost.
When risk of frost has passed, drive a ¾ inch stake into your prepared garden bed. Dig a hole a little deeper and wider than the size of the tomato plant’s pot next to the stake, gently place the plant into the hole and firm it in. A trellis or tomato cage can also be used for support in lieu of a stake. These are readily available at nurseries and hardware stores. Use soft twine or tomato ties to tie the plant’s stem loosely to the stake or trellis. As the tomato plant grows, check the ties regularly and loosen them occasionally to prevent stem damage. The tomato seedlings should be planted 18 inches apart to allow the sun to reach the ripening fruit.
Feed Your Tomato Plants
Feed your tomato plants regularly using a potassium-based plant food or you can create your own organic fertilizer mix. Planting basil adjacent to your tomato plants will assist in keeping pests at bay.
Watering is as important as feeding. Water your tomatoes regularly with a hand-held hose. Direct the water at the base of the plant and avoid wetting the leaves which can lead to rot.
Never let your tomatoes dry out to the point that they wilt. Although you can usually save the wilted plant by watering it, the dry period will take its toll on the plant and affect the quality of the fruit. Extended dry spells may cause your tomatoes to crack.
Regularly nip out by hand any side shoots that develop between the leaf and the stem. This will help to channel the plant’s energy into its fruit.
When your tomatoes have ripened, pick them by bending back the fruit at the notch on the stem. Ripe tomatoes can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Continue to water and feed the plant to help the remaining tomatoes to ripen and mature.
Alison Stevens is an online author and maintains Grow Great Tomatoes website to assist anyone who wants to get started growing tomatoes and other vegetables.