Healthier tomato plants yield abundant, juicy and delicious tomatoes. So what’s the trick to growing tomato plants that are huge and healthy?
The following tomato growing tips will show you how to do just that. Follow them and you will grow superior tomato plants year after year.
Heat the Soil
Here’s one tip you may not have seen before. Two or three weeks before you intend to plant your tomatoes, cover the area with a black plastic sheet. The black sheet will absorb the sun’s rays and heat up the soil. Tomato plants thrive in a warm environment and will respond very well to pre-heated soil, resulting in earlier tomatoes.
Growing a healthier tomato plant requires growing a plant with a very strong root system. Tomato plants can develop roots along their entire stem, so when your seedlings have developed at least six leaves, transplant them deep enough so that only the top four leaves are above ground. The bottom two leaves will develop into roots and will create a stronger plant with a stronger root system.
Prune the Suckers
As your tomato plants grow and develop more complex branch systems, you should prune the “suckers” that develop in the joints between two branches. These are simply baby branches that will never bear fruit, so their growth will just take nutrients away from the more productive parts of the tomato plant.
Prune Some Leaves
Take care here. It goes without saying that the leaves are essential to the tomato plant’s survival since they provide the photosynthesis that all plants need for life. However, too many leaves can sometimes take away from the plant’s development if they block some of the sunlight from reaching the fruit. So only prune excess leaves that many be blocking some of the ripening tomatoes.
The Watering Conundrum
Healthy tomato plants require a great deal of water. so water them deeply and regularly as they develop, but be careful not to deluge the plants. Also, remember that if you miss too many days of watering and try to make up for it with too much watering later, you can cause blossom end rot and cracks. Keep your watering regulated.
Lessen the watering a bit as the tomato plants ripen, so they will be coaxed into concentrating their sugars. This produces delicious fruit. Once again though, don’t lessen the water too much as this will lead to the plant dropping its blossoms and potentially dropping the tomato fruit as well.
Use Tomato Supports
Tomato plants are not ordinary plants or bushes – they are vines. This means that most tomato plants will be healthier and grow more productive, healthier, juicier fruit if they are supported off of the ground. This will make them easier to pick as well. You can use simple wooden stakes, but you will find that you can get more plants into a smaller space if you use tomato ladders.
Tomato ladders are simple metal structures usually consisting of three or more long thin metal rails connected together horizontally by metal supports, forming the “ladder” like structure. They are relatively inexpensive and can easily be picked up at your local gardening store or even Amazon.com.
These simple steps and tips have been used by many tomato growers to produce consistently superior, healthy and delicious tomatoes.