You Can Do This! Growing Tomatoes For Newbies.
You don’t need to be a farmer or have a large garden to grow fresh, juicy tomatoes at home. With a little instruction and the right environment, you can grow your own and enjoy tasty tomatoes as a reward for your efforts. Ask anyone with experience, store bought tomatoes simply can’t compare to the flavor of a homegrown tomato!
Start with a planting location. Most tomatoes grow best in a sunny location (4 hours or more of direct sunlight) and rich, moist but well-drained soil. Tomatoes also prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil. Select tomatoes will grow in a container that allows for plenty of root space. Look for tomatoes that grow to a fixed size or labeled as determinant.
We recommend fertilizing with Espoma Tomato-tone, an organic plant food formulated specifically for growing plump and juicy tomatoes. Tomato-tone is all natural and contains Bio-tone®, a special blend of beneficial microbes.
Choosing The Right Plant For You
Almost everyone likes tomatoes in one form or another. Some enjoy their natural form while other prefer tomatoes as a sauce or as a condiment.
The Health Benefits
» Rich in Lycopene – A vital anti-oxidant that helps fight certain types of cancer and other health issues.
» Rich in Vitamin K – Regulates blood clotting, protects bones from osteoporosis and helps reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.
» Rich in Vitamin C – helps lower the risk of cancer and aids in the absorption of iron.
The Benefits of Growing Your Own
» Immediate Gratification – Having vegetables handy means you are more likely to go out of your way to use them.
» Healthier – If grown organically, or chemical free, you’ll get a higher concentration of vitamins and lycopene.
» Tastier – Studies show organically grown vegetables have more flavor than store bought fruit.
» You Know What You Eat – You have more control of the types of pesticides and chemicals being used on them.
» Great For Children – Kids are more likely to eat food grown in their own garden versus store bought.
Terms To Help You Get Started
DETERMINANT – Plants will only grow to a fixed size (tall/wide). These are sometimes called “bush” tomatoes. Most grow to a compact 4-5’ tall and you receive most of your tomatoes at once, which is useful when making sauces. These are good plants to use when growing your plant in a container.
» Patio – A dwarf variety with cue ball sized fruit. One of the most popular varieties for growing in containers on decks, patios or wherever space is limited. Produces a small but flavorful bright red tomato.
» Roma – One of the most popular varieties for paste, sauces and canning. Bright red, pear-shaped fruit with a meaty texture and few seeds.
» Celebrity – A great well-rounded plant. Baseball sized fruit, very flavorful and disease resistant. Great for containers or small spaces.
INDETERMINANT – May require staking as they keep growing and producing fruit until frost.
» Sweet 100 – A sweet round cherry tomato, about 1″ in size. Grow in clusters.
» Red Grape – A small and sweet, grape shaped tomato. Delicious in salads!
» Big Boy & Better Boy – Very popular and easy to grow hybrid tomato. Softball-sized, great for slicing, disease resistant and flavorful.
» Early Girl – As the name suggests, the first slicing tomato to produce fruit and a customer favorite. Great flavor and disease resistant.
» Big Beef & Beefmaster – Delicious meaty tomatoes, baseball-sized and perfect for sandwich slices
HEIRLOOM/INDETERMINANT – Non-hybridized, very flavorful tomatoes. There are many varieties, but to be certified heirloom the tomato must be grown from a seed of the same variety for at least 50 years and deemed organic. Some won’t produce the abundance of fruit that hybridized varieties do, but they make up for this in flavor. These are just a few popular varieties:
» Cherokee Purple – Large, meaty tomato with purple flesh.
» Brandywine – Large fruit with a classic tomato flavor.
» Golden Jubilee – A yellow medium size fruit.
» Marglobe – A determinant heirloom with large, globe shaped fruit. Disease resistant.
» Mortgage Lifter – A pink medium to large beefsteak tomato.
» Mr. Stripey – A red and yellow medium to large beefsteak tomato.
» Rutgers – An old favorite with medium sized, round fruit.
» Yellow Pear – A small yellow pear shaped fruit.