Grow the Best Tomatoes
Summer means fresh fruit and vegetables, and plenty of BBQs at which to eat them. Whether sliced on a burger, chopped in a salad, or roasted on the grill, garden-fresh tomatoes signal summer as well as firecrackers and ice-cold beer. But growing delicious tomatoes at home hasn’t always been easy. Until now, that is! This spring, try our tips to grow tremendously tasty tomatoes and share your stories with us at #fit815cooks.
Choose a bright, airy space
Plant tomatoes in deep, healthy soil. Leave room between the plants to allow for air circulation, and be sure to plant in a space that will receive 10 hours of sunlight and heat.
Bury stems deeply and stake them high
Tomatoes are one of the few plants that sprout roots along the buried stem. Those extra roots strengthen a plant so it can support more fruit and survive extreme heat (we midwesterners know exactly how hot and sometimes miserable our summers can get). A tip from experienced tomato growers: six-foot stakes are an ample size for growing. Be sure to use the stakes when transplanting plants to prevent root damage.
Master the skill of watering
Every five to seven days, soak the tomato bed by watering the soil directly, not the tomato leaves.
Cut the slack
Keep an eye out for dead branches. When you see one, prune the non-fruiting ones. This will direct the plant’s energy into growing bigger, better fruit. And we all know happy and healthy plants taste best! When your tomatoes are first ripening, scratch any compost around the stem to encourage new growth. Harvest your tomatoes once they’ve reached full-size and are fully colored.
Plant more than once
If you enjoy an abundance of tomatoes throughout the summer, consider planting another set of plants three weeks after your initial planting. You can always share the fruits of your labor with your neighbors or jar some marinara sauce for the winter months!