Home Grown Tomatoes

Growing your own tomatoes is easy. Here are the simple steps for home grown tomatoes.

The rich flavor of vine-ripened tomatoes from your garden can be available for your salads all summer long. If you don't have a plot of ground, they are easily grown in containers. Cherry tomatoes and dwarf plants are perfect for 8" pots and hanging baskets. Two gallon containers can hold even the bushy variety.

Once the danger of frost is over, it is time to head for the local garden shop for supplies. You will need soil mix for your pots, or fertilizer to amend your garden. Tomatoes like a rich organic, well-drained soil. Also, pick up plant fertilizer for later.

Your nursery will stock tomato transplants that suit your climate. Tomato varieties are numerous, but there are two main plant types- vine and bush. If you choose a vine variety you will need a tomato cage or stakes and twine to prop up the plant.

Most nurseries will have descriptive tags, so you can browse the varieties. If not, you will need to know generally what you want before seeking help. Are you looking for large or small fruit, yellow or red, meaty or more compact, bush or vine? It is best to choose one early blooming and one late for tomatoes all summer long.

After deciding on the variety, pick the transplants carefully. Look for ones that are not leggy, with too much stem. Avoid plants that already have blooms on them. Find a healthy plant with 4 to 6 young leaves. Then, plant deep, just above the first leaves.

Care of tomato plants is easy. Go lightly on watering in the early stages. If blooms do not appear, allow the soil to dry out a bit. Once the fruit has set, apply a shot of fertilizer. Increase the watering to keep the soil moisture even. As the tomatoes ripen, cut back slightly on the water to avoid mushy fruit.

Then, pick and enjoy in your summer salads.

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