Tomatoes are one of the easiest plants to grow at home. Of course, you will certainly want them to be as delicious as the tomatoes that you get at the grocer. It is not too difficult to start growing tomatoes at home provided you know what you are doing. Here are a few tips to help you start your own tomato garden.
Maintain Space between Seedlings
If you are growing tomatoes from seeds, you should make sure that the seedlings have enough space to grow. Crowded environments make it difficult for them to grow properly. In fact, it will be better if the seedlings are transplanted into individual pots as soon as they get their first leaves.
Provide Lot of Light
Tomato seedlings require a strong and direct light source so that they can grow properly. If you are planning on growing them during winter, you need to give them enough light. Sunlight may not be enough as days tend to be shorter. A greenhouse can be a good option. Alternatively, artificial plant lighting can be used.
It will be better if you keep the seedlings close to the light source as it allows them to grow stocky. Of course, the lights need to be raised to maintain sufficient height as the plants begin to grow. When the plants are ready to be transplanted outside, ensure that they are transplanted on to the sunniest areas of the garden.
Ensure that the Soil is Warm
Warmth is essential to the growth of tomatoes. Therefore, you should take steps to ensure that the soil has been properly warmed before the tomato plants are transplanted on to it. The area you have planned for placing the tomatoes can be covered with a plastic a few weeks in advance of the event. The warm soil will help the plants produce tomatoes earlier. Clear plastic can be a better choice than black or colored plastic. Clear plastic allows the heat from sunlight to penetrate the soil and then retain it. Of course, this step may be unnecessary if you have a greenhouse.
Delay the Mulching
You should not add mulch to the soil before the ground is sufficiently warm. While mulch is certainly beneficial, adding it early can cool down the soil which is harmful to the growth of tomatoes.
Pruning the Tomato Plants
Pruning the bottom leaves can help in maintaining the health of the tomato plants. Once they have attained a height of 3 feet, remove the bottommost leaves. Apart from being the oldest, these leaves are more likely to become diseased by fungus. You should also take time to pinch and eliminate the leaves and branches that develop between the joints of two branches. These branches will not develop and fruit but they need to energy to grow. Therefore, the plant will have less energy to use in the growth of the tomatoes. Avoid pruning the rest of the plant.
The weather does play a vital role in the growth of tomatoes or any plant for that matter. However, with the proper steps and precautions, it is possible to get a good harvest from your tomato plants.