Tips on Growing Tomatoes:
Tomatoes can be demanding relative to many other garden vegetables. They generally require more light, water and nutrients than other crops. In addition, they often require the support of a cage or similar structure.
Starting Tomato Seeds
Most tomato varieties require a long growing season; at least 65 days or more. Starting your seeds indoors or in greenhouse, on a heat mat, is recommended. For best results, start your seeds approximately 6 weeks prior to transplanting, after the final frost of the spring. Keep the sowing medium warm (70-90 degrees F), and use a peat-based soilless medium to discourage soil-borne diseases that can trouble tomatoes plants.
Transplanting your Starts
After the frost has passed, you will want to begin hardening off your tomato starts by gradually exposing them to increasing amounts of sunlight and outdoor conditions. This will promote stronger, more prepared plants during the remainder of the growing cycle.
Select a location that receives plenty of sunlight, preferably facing south to take advantage of the long hours of the afternoon. Additionally, tomatoes are heavy feeders that will show better, faster growth in a site with soil rich in compost and other nutrient-rich constituents. Fertilize your tomatoes throughout the season, preferably with an organic blend that is lower in nitrogen that can promote leaf health but will compromise fruit quality.
After hardening, transplant on an overcast day once soil temps do not drop lower than 55 degrees. For best results, plant can be placed into the ground so that only 4-6 inches extend above the surface of the soil. This will promote stronger root systems, quicker harvests, and sturdier plants. Over the growing season, make sure that your plants receive plenty of light and moisture. Happy growing!