I love growing tomatoes. Picking a ripe juicy tomato from the vine is one of the best things about summer. Some say they are difficult to grow from seed but I have found it easy to do. They just need a good soil starter mix, warmth, sunshine and a little attention. Learn more about propagating vegetables here. If you are not that brave yet, you can buy healthy plants from most nurseries in the spring.

I believe in growing organic vegetables. I plant in my backyard vegetable garden under plastic covers. I live on the Canadian West coast and blight is too much of a risk to grow them without any protection. If you do not want to go to all this trouble or the only sunny spot you have is a balcony or patio, they are easy to grow in containers. Here are some free vegetable gardening tips I have put together to help your grow your own tomatoes.

Botanical Family - Solanaceae/Nightshade Family

Soil - Light, porous and well drained with pH 6.0-7.0. If soil is acidic add lime.

Soil Preparation - Dig in 2 inches of compost or aged manure before planting. Put in a handful of compost with each transplant. Mulch with compost every 6 weeks. Spray with compost tea every few weeks. Water with epson salts (1/2 cup to 1 gallon of water) to hasten ripening of fruit

Seed Info

  • Seed Spacing - 18 to 24 inches apart
  • Germinate in soil temperature of 24 – 32 C
  • Days to Maturity average 70 –100 days

Planting Times - Sow indoors February to late March; transplant late May when soil is warm. Plants should be 6-10 inches tall with at least 4 leaves.

Planting Instruction - Plant deep, burying lower leaves. Add a handful of compost to the hole when transplanting. They need to be staked (we tie them up with twine in the greenhouse). Water well.

Companion Planting

  • Positive affects: asparagus, basil, cabbage, carrot, onion, parsley, peas, sage
  • Negative affects: fennel, potato

    Watering - Water deeply when weather is hot. If the fruit is splitting it is a sign they are not getting enough water.

    Weeding - Keep weeded while plants are small.

    Disease & Insects - Keep covered after July to avoid blight.

    Harvest - Pick fruits that firm and red, yellow or any other color the variety may be. Green fruit can be harvested and will ripen inside your house.

    Storage - Store ripe fruit on the counter or shelf. Firm green fruit can be wrapped individually in paper and stored in a cool dark place. Check regularly for ripened fruit. Do not wash before storing.>

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