There is nothing more delicious than a fresh home grown tomato straight out of your backyard garden that I know of and this is just the beginning. There is no end to the many uses of a fresh garden tomato, sandwiches, salads, sauce, juice, fried green tomatoes, salsa, pickled and more. Tomatoes have something for everyone that's what makes them so popular. The temptation of the delicious tomato is way many home gardeners plant a few too many. So let us discuss some facts about how to grow backyard garden tomatoes.
Your Soil: Tomatoes grow best in a light, fertile soil with plenty of organic matter but not too much nitrogen. Loosen the soil about 10 inches in depth then turn in a 2 to 3 inch layer of compost and tomato plants need lots of sun give your plants the best exposure that you can and plenty of water.
What type of tomato garden plant should we grow? Are we looking for a early harvest, large fruit, best flavor or an extended harvest but no single variety provides all of these qualities. So if you have the space grow several varieties with different characteristics. Terms that describe tomato plants are determinate, indeterminate and semi determinate that describes how the tomato plant develops.
Determinate plants are the bushy 3 footers that side branches are short produces a flower cluster at the tip and ripen in 3 weeks.
Indeterminate plants produce a lot of suckers (A secondary shoot produced from the base or roots of a woody plant that gives rise to a new plant) from the main stem. The branches flower bear fruit as long as the conditions are good.
Semideterminate plants have of the characteristics of both. They stop growing at 3 to 4 feet tall.
Other varieties to grow backyard garden tomatos are categorized as early season produce fruit as early as 60 days, mid season take up to 75 days, or late season producers which need 75 plus days to produce fruit.
Sowing: Your can start your tomato garden with plants you have grown yourself or ones you have bought at the greenhouse or garden center. Buy early that way you have the best selection. Buy young the larger the plant the more likely it will be stressed and set back.
Your plants should be six to eight old and here's a helpful tip avoid tall leggy plants or ones with open flowers or fruit.
The usual recommendation is to plant after the last frost. Soil temperature should be at least 55 degrees and the night temperature should not go below 45 degrees in your backyard garden.
Set the plants you plan to support with cages or trellis 15 inches apart down the middle of a 30 inch bed. When using supporters allow 2 feet for determinate and 3 feet for indeterminate. Determinate are sensitive to transplant so do not disturb the roots and water with compost tea.
Tomatoes are a plant native to South America where they have longer warmer growing seasons than we get here in the United States. To successfully grow a tomato garden we need to set out well started plants and to trick them into thinking the season is longer and warmer than it actually is.
I will continue later with my next article grow backyard garden tomato tips on care, harvesting and some storing tips that will be useful.