Homegrown, organic tomatoes are tasty, juicy, and healthy. In this post, I have condensed all of the information I have collected over the years to give you some helpful tips on growing tomatoes organically. Here are the top 17 things to consider when growing your own organic tomatoes at home:
Choose different varieties
Because of geographical differences in different regions, some tomato varieties might thrive in your yard, while others might not. Hence, by starting off with a few varieties, ideally two or three types, you can see which ones are best for your region and discover which ones are the most appropriate for your next season. Moreover, growing many different types of tomatoes gives you more flavor variety.
Choose the right varieties
Most growers choose their tomato varieties by looking at things like their level of disease resistance, growth habit, time to maturity, flavor, and size.
Grow your tomatoes in protected environment
Growing tomatoes in a greenhouse or polytunnel helps your avoid external threats such as heavy rains and strong winds.
Cherry tomatoes are the most suitable for growing outside
If you decide not to grow your tomatoes in the greenhouse or similar environment, choose cherry tomatoes and a variety called Black Krim. They are more productive than others when being grown outside since their time to maturity is generally shorter.
If you grow tomatoes from seedlings, provide them with enough space
This is essential as it allows the plants to grow well and produce efficiently. A higher density of seeds will overcrowd the garden, and the plants won't get adequate nutrition or airflow for their development.
If you grow tomatoes inside, use a fan for the seedlings
Use a fan twice per day for 5-10 minutes to provide efficient air for your tomato seedlings. This strengthens them, and the improved airflow reduces the chances of mold or mildew.
Pick the right varieties for your space
If you do not have a large space, here are some common tomato types for growing in pots or planters:
- Bush 506 is a compact and small plant with strong stems, which can carry a lot of fruits. It starts to produce after only eight weeks.
- 4th of July is outstanding with its delicious flavor and a shorter maturity time than other varieties.
- Liit’l bite is a compact variety that can produce plenty of tomatoes. However, the size of the fruit is not that big.
Heat up the soil before planting
Tomatoes love warm growing conditions. You can cover the garden bed with black plastic, or something else that can effectively absorb the heat, one or two weeks before your intended planting time. The warmer soil will definitely boost the growth of the tomatoes.
Tomatoes enjoy the sun more than the wind
Grow your tomatoes in direct sun, but do not expose them to strong winds. Tomato stems are not strong enough to resist high winds.
Tomatoes love lots of light
If you grow them outside, locate your plants in a place where they can absorb the most sun. It helps the plant grow better, and the fruits are tastier.
Support your plants
Since the stems of tomato plants are not that strong, it is important to use cages, trellis, pillars, or other similar tools to support them as they grow taller and wider.
Do not water the leaves, water the soil
Watering just the bases of the plants prevents them from developing problems related to too much moisture.
Do not tolerate the insignificant shoots
Insignificant shoots are the ones that grow between the stem and the main branches. Because they consume fertilizer, they lessen the productivity of your tomatoes.
Cut off the very tops of the plants
When the tomatoes grow high enough, you should cut very tops. This helps concentrate the plant’s energy on producing fruits, instead of spending it on the non-essential parts.
Pick the extra leaves off
When the plants start to produce, it’s better to eliminate some of their unnecessary leaves. This allows more sun and more air to directly reach the fruits. It also helps reduce some diseases.
Use bananas to help tomatoes ripen
If you have any fruit that is still green when you harvest the whole garden at one time, do not worry. Collect them and put them in the house with some bananas. The ethylene from the bananas will help the tomatoes ripen.
Don't rush the harvesting stage
It might be time-consuming, but it is better if you pick off the fruits individually and carefully. This ensures the final quality of the perfectly ripened tomatoes.
It takes a lot of time and effort to grow delicious tomatoes, but it is worth it in the end!