Growing tomatoes is easy and you’ll be amazed at the taste difference in home grown tomatoes!(And in home grown green beans, peas, lettuce, herbs, and peppers.) Growing tomatoes is one of the great pleasures of summer living. Most years they are easy to grow and almost every house has enough sunshine and soil to grow a bountiful crop.
Imagine being able to get Vitamin A & C, Iron, Folic acid, potassium, calcium, and vitamin K (for stronger bones) everyday with amazing flavor and the satisfaction that only another home gardener can understand. Spend your summers growing tomatoes! They are not only a poster garden vegetable, but also very easy to grow, and the taste you get with your own produce will never let you go back to grocers for the little red devil.
A few rules that you just cannot go wrong with:
Right from a seed to the final fruit, you’d need to follow a few rules that you just cannot go wrong with.
1. Long season or short that is the question! The foremost decision you face is whether to use short harvest or a long harvest variety. With long harvest, you have a lot of options. If you’re planning on becoming a serious tomato planter, go for varieties that will continue too produce in the hot season too.
2. Allow space for seedlings to branch out. If you over crowd them, chances are you’ll stunt their growth.
3. Arrange for sturdy sunlight supply. Heat and light will go a long way in ripening the fruit earlier and getting quality tomatoes.
4. In order to develop a strong structure, the tomato plants need to move a bit with the wind. In case mother nature is not in the mood, put up a fan.
5. Once the seedlings are ready to be planted out separately, plant ’em deep. You don’t have to worry about the last bits ending up in soil as the plant has an ability to root from anywhere on its stem. Deeper the better!
6. Mulching at the right time helps keep the soil borne diseases from affecting plants, saves water, and is a good practice for crops that require more heat than usual.
7. As the plant develops, trim away the bottom leaves. Also remove the suckers growing in stem joints to allow sunlight to reach the plant as much as possible. Don’t over do it as you may compromise on the flavor of the fruit that way.
8. Water your crop regularly. Haphazard watering will make tomatoes more susceptible.
9. Allow the crop to fully ripen. You’d be losing a lot of flavor, and quality if you’re hasty with your tomatoes. Be gentle when harvesting the ripe fruit. The thin skinned varieties can easily bruise.
source: How To’s Organic Matters & Lifestyles, www.trc.dost.gov.ph
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