How to Grow Tomatoes

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While the debate about whether the tomato is a fruit or a vegetable continues, there is no waning in the popularity of this fruit/vegetable. With over 100's of varieties and many different types to choose from, an average American eats around 22 pounds of tomatoes every year, and this includes the tomatoes present in soups, sauces, and ketchup. Buying tomatoes in the supermarket can turn out to be fairly expensive, and one never really knows how fresh the batch in question is. With the entire country facing tough fiscal times, an increasing number of people are beginning to grow their own produce, and tomatoes feature on almost every of these lists.

Growing tomatoes can be accomplished fairly easily, and if done right, you can have your own batch of juicy succulent tomatoes. What you would essentially need is a good pot or some space outside your home, good drainage, and some dirt/compost In growing tomatoes, try and get a loose dark soil. Acidity levels of around 6.2pH are good especially if you want big tomatoes.

If you intend to grow the plant's in pots as opposed to the ground, make sure that you do not add to much fertilizer; a rule of thumb is that around one tablespoon of fertilizer should be enough for a ten gallon pot, and this fertilizer should ideally be added to the soil a couple of weeks before planting the plant.However, please consider the label recommendations for the particular fertilizer you are using.

Buying your young plants is an important aspect in the final outcome. It is important that you get your young plants from a trusted source, as this would largely affect the produce of your efforts. While there are scores of trusted providers to choose from, try and get you requirements met by providers who specialize in their given field.

Once you�ve planted your tomato plants, it is a good idea to stake your plants as this improves the production and also makes getting to the tomatoes after they�re ready easier. In doing so, use minimal force in pushing the stakes beside the plant because excessive force could hurt the plant�s roots. Use a yarn or a soft twine to tie the stake to the plant, and ensure that you leave some room for the plant to grow.

If you are growing your plants outdoors, make sure that you plant them at least 24� apart, as planting them too close to each other could result in reduced air circulation, and can result in diseases breaking out. Since tomatoes have a very high percentage of water (around 95%), it is necessary that you water your plants every day. In growing your tomato plants outdoors, try and cover the soil with hay, mulch, etc, so that evaporation in minimized.

With the following details taken care, you should have your own batch of fresh tomatoes in no time, and might probably never have to buy a tomato again.

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Mark Hamby is involved in tomato transplant production in the Coachella Valley of California and specializes in growing tomato transplants organically without using commercial fertilizers. For more information please visit

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