Tomatoes are among some of the most popular vegetables to grow in your backyard. Rightly so too, because for some reason, homegrown tomatoes taste about 500% better than store-bought ones. In fact, for a period of time when the tomato prices were unusually high, my husband and I boycotted store-bought tomatoes because they were simply a “cardboard tasting” habit for sandwiches. However, once summer started, we decided to grow our own beefsteak tomatoes. It was just too weird to have a burger without a tomato on it! If you’re interesting in growing some good-tasting juicy tomatoes as well, here are some tips to help you on your journey.
1. Starting the seeds. Tomato seeds germinate in temperatures 65F/18C or higher. They grow pretty easy from seeds. You simply get some small pots, put some potting soil in them, and bury the seeds according to the seed package directions. Keep the soil moist and keep them in a warm sunny spot where it can get at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. In a few days, you’ll see your seeds starting to sprout!
2. Starting from plants. The easiest way to start growing tomatoes is to get some tomato plants from the nearest home and garden center or nursery. Select dark green plants that look strong. Make sure it doesn’t have any tomatoes already growing on it, because that will keep the plant from growing to its fullest size. When you get home, re-pot the plant into a huge outdoor pot or simply place it in the ground where you want to grow it. It’s good to bury the plant all the way up to the top leaves so that it develops a good solid root base. Few plants can handle being planted this way, but for tomatoes, it works well. Be sure to plant your tomatoes in a place that gets full sun at least 6 hours a day throughout its growing season.
3. Watering your plants. Keep your plants moist, but don’t over water them. Over watering can do as much damage to them as under watering!
4. Fertilizing your plants. Fertilizing might be a bit of a pain, but it’s highly important. Most soil these days simply doesn’t have enough nutrients to produce nice sweet and healthy produce. You can get some good fertilizers at your local nursery or home and garden center that is made specifically for tomatoes. This works well because it’ll be sure to give your plant the most nutrients it needs.
5. Harvesting your tomatoes. The tomatoes will be ripe when they are nice and deep red. Don’t pick them green if you want the juiciest and sweetest tomatoes, however, they do last quite a long time if you need to harvest them early. Simply wrap them up in newspaper for long storage.
Enjoy! There’s nothing like home grown tomatoes!
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