How To Grow Delicious Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a wonderful addition to any garden. With the right care, you can grow tomato plants that will yield pounds of healthy fruit all summer long.

Having fresh tomatoes to use in recipes or to eat straight off the vine is one of summer's true pleasures. Fortunately, with a little care and plenty of sunshine, tomatoes are easy to grow.

Tomatoes come in several varieties including cherry, medium, plum and beefsteak. The type of tomatoes you choose to plant is based on the flavor and size of tomato you hope to grow. For example, cherry tomatoes are small and sweet, the perfect bite size addition to a salad. Beefsteak tomatoes are big and are great for slicing.

Tomatoes are an annual and can be grown in any zone. The average tomato plant should grow to be one to four feet high and spread about two feet. Where you plant your tomatoes is extremely important to the success of the plant. Tomatoes should never be planted in the same spot for consecutive years. Tomatoes need plenty of sunshine and some protection from wind.

If you want to give your plants a headstart, you can sow them indoors eight weeks before the last frost. When buying plants at your local nursery, look for healthy, green leaves. Try not to buy plants that are taller than eight inches or have yellow stems.

The best time to plant tomatoes is after the last frost. Tomatoes need support to help keep the fruit off the ground and away from insects. You can use wire cages or sticks to support the plants.

Remember to water your plants. Tomato plants need approximately two gallons of water per week. Failure to provide your plants with consistent water can result in split skins. You should also give your plants a boost by adding compost or manure to the soil and by fertilizing regularly.

To help your plants produce more fruit, you should pinch off the top of the plant once it has produced four flower bunches.

The time it takes for tomatoes to mature depends on the particular type of tomato, anywhere from 50 to 100 days. You can continue to harvest fruit until the temperature falls. If you are expecting a frost, pick the green tomatoes. They will ripen off the vine.

Like all fruits, tomatoes are susceptible to insect damage. You can spray the plants to help eliminate such pests or plant Poppies or Marigolds around your tomatoes. These flowers will attract insects that eat other insects which might be eating your tomatoes.

Other problems you may encounter with your tomato plants include blight, which will most likely damage your tomatoes after a lot of rain. Tomatoes that have been planted in the same spot as previous year's plants may be more susceptible to this disease that turns the leaves brown. If your tomatoes have holes in them, you may have hornworms. Remove hornworms from your tomatoes whenever you see them.

The key to growing healthy, delicious tomatoes is consistency. Tomatoes require steady sunlight and regular watering.

By following these tips, you will have pounds of tomatoes for salads or salsa and plenty leftover to share with friends and neighbors.

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