It's a good idea to grow a range of varieties, including at least one or two disease-resistant types, since, of all veggies, tomatoes tend to be the most susceptible to disease.Tomatoes run on warmth; plant in late spring and early summer except in zone 10, where they are a fall and winter crop.This will help protect fruit from blossom end rot, a problem that can occur when the plant isn't getting enough calcium.At the same time, mix in 3 to 4 inches of compost, which will provide minor nutrients and help hold moisture and fertilizer in the soil until it is needed by the plants.You can combine fast-maturing varieties with special season-stretching techniques to grow an early crop, but wait until the last frost has passed to plant main-season tomatoes.Cover the ground with 2 to 4 inches of mulch to minimize weeds and help keep the soil evenly moist.Meanwhile, promptly harvest ripe tomatoes to relieve stressed plants of their heavy burden.If summer droughts are common in your area, or you tend to forget to water, use soaker hoses, drip irrigation, or other drought-busting techniques to help maintain even soil moisture.Humid weather creates ideal conditions for fungal diseases like early blight, which causes dark spots to first form on lower leaves.By late summer, plants that began producing early in the season will show signs of exhaustion.With just a little effort, you can extend the life of those sad tomato plants by pruning away withered leaves and branches.As tomatoes begin to ripen, their colour changes from vibrant medium-green to a lighter shade, with faint pink or yellow blushing.These "breakers," or mature green tomatoes, can be chopped into salsas, pickled, or pan-fried into a crispy appetizer.If it's too cool (below 55˚) or too hot (above 90˚), the flowers of most varieties will pause from setting fruit until the temperature is back where they like it.These great little yellow cherry tomatoes, which are actually orange at peak flavor, will add color to salads and fresh pasta dishes, if they make to the table. .

How to Plant, Grow, and Harvest Tomatoes

Tomatoes are commonly grown from seedlings started indoors that are later transplanted into the garden.Tomato seeds are commonly planted indoors as early as 8 to 6 weeks before the average date of the last spring frost.Vining tomatoes produce a succession of flowers along the branching spurs; fruit forms from those blossoms.Vining tomatoes can be left to sprawl on the ground but fruit may become susceptible to diseases and be more difficult to find and pick at harvest time.Fruit size and shape: Besides being bush or vine-like, tomatoes are further classified by the size and shape of their fruit: currant (the smallest), cherry, plum, pear, heart-shaped, oblong, oblate, round, and large or beefsteak.Besides being bush or vine-like, tomatoes are further classified by the size and shape of their fruit: currant (the smallest), cherry, plum, pear, heart-shaped, oblong, oblate, round, and large or beefsteak.Seeds can be started in a bright window or under fluorescent lights set about 2 inches (5 cm) above the plants.About two weeks after germination seedlings can be transferred to larger 4-inch (10cm) pots; be careful not to disturb the roots.Garden soil is usually warm enough for tomato transplants about 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost in spring.Set young plants out protected from direct sun during the day for two weeks to harden off and acclimatize before transplanting.Planted in containers tomatoes require the most soil you can provide–a large container–and good drainage.Grow tomatoes close to basil, chives, asparagus, carrots, marigolds, nasturtiums, onions, and parsley.Provide a stake, cage, or trellis for support at planting to avoid the risk of damaging the growing root later on.Side dress tomatoes with dilute fish emulsion or kelp meal every 3 to 4 weeks.Leaves may curl on hot days; this is a way for plants to conserve moisture and is not necessarily a sign of distress.If leaves wilt in the morning, tomatoes need an immediate slow, deep watering.Mulch with straw or aged compost around plants to prevent soil moisture evaporation.Side dress tomatoes with dilute fish emulsion or kelp meal every 3 to 4 weeks.Blossom-end rot can be the result of uneven watering or a lack of calcium in the soil.Crushed eggshells added to spot watering every two weeks can provide the calcium needed.Compost tea applied every two weeks will provide nitrogen and other nutrients needed.Tie stems to stakes with elastic horticulture tape or garden twine.Tie stems to stakes with elastic horticulture tape or garden twine.Prune staked tomatoes to one or two stems by pinching out the growing tip of each side branch after it has sprouted at least two leaves.Do not pinch back side shoots until two leaf sets develop; this will provide foliage cover from sunburn for fruits and stems later.Note that pruning will reduce the total crop and is likely to increase the incidence of blossom-end rot.A five-foot (1.5m) width cut five feet long and bent into a cylinder and tied off will support a six-foot-tall (1.8m) tomato plant.Remove the bottom horizontal wire and push the cage into the ground six inches deep surrounding the tomato plant.Caging, like staking, allows tomatoes to be grown in tight spaces, the fruit is kept up off of the ground and open to air circulation.Early in the season protect young tomatoes from cold and frost under plastic tunnels.Mulch around the base of tomatoes with aged compost to slow soil moisture evaporation.For stronger plants and bigger fruit, pinch out all suckers that start to grow in the crotch of the main stem and side branches.Tomato hornworms are large green caterpillars that can defoliate a plant; handpick and destroy or spray with spinosad.Tomato fruitworms bore into fruits; spray with insecticidal soap or Bacillus thuringiensis.Tomato blight is a fungal disease that begins with the yellowing and dieback of lower leaves.To stave off disease plant disease-resistant varieties and keep the garden clean and free of debris.These diseases usually strike during warm, humid, or wet weather, Yellowing of lower leaves and the discoloration of stems is a sign of blight.Mosaic virus or herbicide injury can cause tomato leaves to grow distorted, twisted, and stunted.Disease resistant varieties are identified by a letter code which will be found on seed packets or transplant identification stakes: “V” (verticillium wilt), “F” (fusarium wilt), “N” (nematodes–microorganisms that cause root cankers); and “T” (tobacco mosaic virus).To control blossom end rot, water regularly and add crushed eggshells to the soil or an organic fertilizer than includes calcium.‘Mature green’ tomatoes have reached full size and are just beginning to turn color.Note on a calendar when you plant then count ahead of the number of days to maturity to know when harvest will begin.Harvest tomatoes before the first frost; you can lift whole plants and hang them upside down in a shed or garage to ripen.If possible, plant both early and late cultivars and determinate and indeterminate tomatoes to allow for a staggered and continuous harvest.Green tomatoes harvested before the last frost can be set in a cool, moist, place for up to one month as they ripen.Choose tomatoes for fresh eating, cooking, canning, preserving, or drying.Choose a bush or determinate tomato for a small garden or container or a short harvest.Depending on the variety, fruits vary in size from marble-sized to apple-sized and in color from red to yellow to orange to white. .

Growing Tomatoes 101: How to Plant and Grow Tomatoes

No matter which variety you choose — beefsteak, heirloom, cherry, and so forth — put your green thumb to work by giving your plants the right amount of strong, direct sunlight (at least six to eight hours of sun per day) and frequent watering. .

A Beginner's Guide to Growing Tomato Plants

Kryssy is a stay-at-home wife, a mother of two boys, and is happily enjoying every second of her chaotic life.With tomatoes, growing and caring for the plant can seem to go either way, but they're good for beginner gardeners.While it is sometimes joked about that plants are like people and that they need care and love too, it turns out that that idea is not as far-fetched as it quite seems.You can keep a container, which can be as simple as an egg carton or a can, and place a decent amount of dirt inside.Because every home and area in the world is different, check to see if the soil is moist, but not soaked.If you are starting to plant tomatoes from a seed, this may take much longer than expected.With planting in your garden, you will want to find an area full of sun, and you will need to aerate the soil.You can do so by taking a shovel and digging up the soil, chopping it up so it is not so clumpy and hard.As they do produce a juicy, fruit product, it doesn't mean that they always need a lot of water.As your tomato plants grow, you will need cages for them, so they do not fall over, break, or die.This will help encourage their growth, and support the plant as the flowers begin the process of becoming tomatoes.Placing the cages too early will cause a need for adjustment of them, as the plant may shift due to high wind, storms, and tend to lean off to the side a bit.Soil movement may also cause a change in the way the plant is growing, leaving it also lopsided a bit.You will eventually have to remove this whole branch of leaves, as it is slowly dying off to conserve water.Although, if the leaves are curling, in addition to turning yellow, it could be that the plant is becoming oxygen-starved and has too much water.Suckers side shoot, and are growth that happens between the branch and the stem of the plant.And at times, even though you are alert and caring, it may be completely out of your control when problems arise.Rushing to solve the problems, or any accident or misunderstanding can harm the plant.Most pests can be dealt with by a mixture of water and a few drops of soap in a spray bottle.And if worse comes to worst, many swear by using Sevin brand pesticide.If you do take the route of using pesticides, remember to wash your veggies off before consumption.When this is the case, you will notice that the plant has greatly grown in size, but again, no flowers.late-blooming tomato plants (be it that it's too late for a supply, or that they produce later in the year), too much nitrogen or fertilizer, or not enough sunlight.To neutralize having too much nitrogen, bonemeal, and/or soft wood mulches like pine bark, will help bring the amount down.Type of Pest: What to Look For: Hornworm Species Chewed Stems and defoliation Psyllids Purpling veins in leaves Stalk Borers Holes in stem Flea Beatles Holes in leaves Leaf Miners Zigzag patterns or tunneling in leaves Aphids Curled leaves and yellowing, also may leave a white stick residue ("Honeydew") Whiteflies "Honeydew", a white sticky residue Stinkbugs Light or discolored patches on tomatoes, may also leave holes in fruit and dark pinprick marks Slugs Holes in tomatoes Tomato Fruit Worm Dark colored pinpricks, or holes in fruit.: Type of Problem: Solution: Anthracnose Small, circular area on tomatoes that seems indented.Fungicide (that is okay for tomatoes) Septoria Leaf Spots Circular spot, small in size, black spots in center or a gray to white center with dark edges (which will cause leaves to yellow and die) Fungicide (that is okay for tomatoes) Verticillium and Fusarium Wilt (Root Rot) Leaves on the very bottom or very top of plant, will curl up, wilt back, and die The plant is doomed and cannot be saved.Alternaria (Early Blight) Looks like a target on leaves, but with brown to black spots with dark edges.Tomatoes will have odd shaped blotches that are brown in color, and rot away quickly.As your tomatoes grow, you will begin to notice a green star shape forming on a branch, with several of them nearby.After that change, you will notice a green little ball beginning to appear, which is worth getting excited over...Soon, you will have plenty of red tomatoes, ripe for picking, and something refreshing on a summer day!If you continue to feel discouraged as you grow your plants, just remember that you are starting to create a delicious, and healthy reward.In fact, just remember to tell yourself when you take a bite out of your first tomato that you have grown "Wow.This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.They get 6 Hr sun and watered at base with drip system.,daily temperatures are 92- 100. .


The specific name lycopersicum (from the 1753 book Species Plantarum) is of Greek origin (λύκοπερσικων; lykopersikon), meaning 'wolf peach'.[citation needed] In this capacity, it has even become an American and British slang term: saying " " when presented with two choices can mean "What's the difference?".Indeterminate types are "tender" perennials, dying annually in temperate climates (they are originally native to tropical highlands), although they can live up to three years in a greenhouse in some cases.Tomato vines are typically pubescent, meaning covered with fine short hairs.Their flowers, appearing on the apical meristem, have the anthers fused along the edges, forming a column surrounding the pistil's style.[12] As a true fruit, it develops from the ovary of the plant after fertilization, its flesh comprising the pericarp walls.The fruit contains hollow spaces full of seeds and moisture, called locular cavities.On the other hand, hybrids of tomato and diploid potato can be created in the lab by somatic fusion, and are partially fertile,[19] providing evidence of the close relationship between these species.[23] The latest reference genome published in 2021 had 799 MB and encodes 34,384 (predicted) proteins, spread over 12 chromosomes.The first commercially available genetically modified food was a tomato called Flavr Savr, which was engineered to have a longer shelf life.Scientists are continuing to develop tomatoes with new traits not found in natural crops, such as increased resistance to pests or environmental stresses or better flavor.These efforts have resulted in significant regionally adapted breeding lines and hybrids, such as the Mountain series from North Carolina.Encyclopedia Britannica, tomatoes are a fruit labeled in grocery stores as a vegetable due to (the taste) and nutritional purposes.According to, tomatoes are a fruit labeled in grocery stores as a vegetable due to (the taste) and nutritional purposes.[28] Tomatoes are not the only food source with this ambiguity; bell peppers, cucumbers, green beans, eggplants, avocados, and squashes of all kinds (such as courgettes/zucchini and pumpkins) are all botanically fruit, yet cooked as vegetables.The confusion on whether tomatoes are fruits or vegetables has led to legal dispute in the United States.In 1887, U.S. tariff laws that imposed a duty on vegetables, but not on fruit, caused the tomato's status to become a matter of legal importance.[30] The holding of this case applies only to the interpretation of the Tariff of 1883, and the court did not purport to reclassify the tomato for botanical or other purposes.The wild ancestor of the tomato, Solanum pimpinellifolium, is native to western South America.[31] The first evidence of domestication points to the Aztecs and other peoples in Mesoamerica, who used the fruit fresh and in their cooking.In France, Italy and northern Europe, the tomato was initially grown as an ornamental plant.It was regarded with suspicion as a food because botanists recognized it as a nightshade, a relative of the poisonous belladonna.[34]: 13 The Pueblo people are thought to have believed that those who witnessed the ingestion of tomato seeds were blessed with powers of divination.[36] Bernardino de Sahagún reported seeing a great variety of tomatoes in the Aztec market at Tenochtitlán (Mexico City): ".The earliest discussion of the tomato in European literature appeared in a herbal written in 1544 by Pietro Andrea Mattioli, an Italian physician and botanist, who suggested that a new type of eggplant had been brought to Italy that was blood red or golden color when mature and could be divided into segments and eaten like an eggplant—that is, cooked and seasoned with salt, black pepper, and oil.It was not until ten years later that tomatoes were named in print by Mattioli as pomi d'oro, or "golden apples".The recorded history of tomatoes in Italy dates back to at least 31 October 1548, when the house steward of Cosimo de' Medici, the grand duke of Tuscany, wrote to the Medici private secretary informing him that the basket of tomatoes sent from the grand duke's Florentine estate at Torre del Gallo "had arrived safely".[citation needed] Tomatoes were grown mainly as ornamentals early on after their arrival in Italy.For example, the Florentine aristocrat Giovanvettorio Soderini wrote how they "were to be sought only for their beauty", and were grown only in gardens or flower beds.The tomato's ability to mutate and create new and different varieties helped contribute to its success and spread throughout Italy.[40] In certain areas of Italy, such as Florence, the fruit was used solely as a tabletop decoration, until it was incorporated into the local cuisine in the late 17th or early 18th century.Gerard's Herbal, published in 1597, and largely plagiarized from continental sources, is also one of the earliest discussions of the tomato in England.Nonetheless, he believed it was poisonous (in fact, the plant and raw fruit do have low levels of tomatine, but are not generally dangerous; see below).Gerard's views were influential, and the tomato was considered unfit for eating (though not necessarily poisonous) for many years in Britain and its North American colonies.Even today, in Bengal, the alternative name is "Biliti Begun" (Bengali: বিলিতি বেগুন), meaning "Foreign Eggplant" It was then adopted widely as it is well suited to India's climate, with Uttarakhand as one of the main producers[citation needed].The tomato was introduced to cultivation in the Middle East by John Barker, British consul in Aleppo circa 1799 to 1825.The earliest reference to tomatoes being grown in British North America is from 1710, when herbalist William Salmon reported seeing them in what is today South Carolina.Possibly, some people continued to think tomatoes were poisonous at this time; and in general, they were grown more as ornamental plants than as food.[34]: 28 Some early American advocates of the culinary use of the tomato included Michele Felice Cornè and Robert Gibbon Johnson.Early tomato breeders included Henry Tilden in Iowa and a Dr. Hand in Baltimore.Alexander W. Livingston receives much credit for developing numerous varieties of tomato for both home and commercial gardeners.[48] The U.S.

Department of Agriculture's 1937 yearbook declared that "half of the major varieties were a result of the abilities of the Livingstons to evaluate and perpetuate superior material in the tomato.".Because of the long growing season needed for this heat-loving crop, several states in the US Sun Belt became major tomato-producers, particularly Florida and California.In California, tomatoes are grown under irrigation for both the fresh fruit market and for canning and processing.This change occurred after discovery of a mutant "u" phenotype in the mid 20th century that ripened "u"niformly.Prior to general introduction of this trait, most tomatoes produced more sugar during ripening, and were sweeter and more flavorful.Hence genetic design of a commercial variety that combines the advantages of types u and U requires fine tuning, but may be feasible.[58][59] However, these breeding efforts have yielded unintended negative consequences on various tomato fruit attributes.For instance, linkage drag is a phenomenon that has been responsible for alterations in the metabolism of the tomato fruit.Linkage drag describes the introduction of an undesired trait or allele into a plant during backcrossing.Thus, breeding efforts attempting to enhance certain traits (for example: larger fruit size) have unintentionally altered production of chemicals associated with, for instance, nutritional value and flavor.However, this tactic has limitations, for the incorporation of certain traits, such as pathogen resistance, can negatively impact other favorable phenotypes, such as fruit production.Handling cigarettes and other infected tobacco products can transmit the virus to tomato plants.Another particularly dreaded disease is curly top, carried by the beet leafhopper, which interrupts the lifecycle.As the name implies, it has the symptom of making the top leaves of the plant wrinkle up and grow abnormally.Systemin activates defensive mechanisms, such as the production of protease inhibitors to slow the growth of insects.Although not a disease as such, irregular supplies of water can cause growing or ripening fruit to split.In addition, a deformity called cat-facing can be caused by pests, temperature stress, or poor soil conditions.Several species of umbellifer are therefore often grown with tomato plants, including parsley, Queen Anne's lace, and occasionally dill.As a floral device to reduce selfing, the pistil of wild tomatoes extends farther out of the flower than today's cultivars.That tomatoes pollinate themselves poorly without outside aid is clearly shown in greenhouse situations, where pollination must be aided by artificial wind, vibration of the plants (one brand of vibrator is a wand called an "electric bee" that is used manually), or more often today, by cultured bumblebees.[80] The anther of a tomato flower is shaped like a hollow tube, with the pollen produced within the structure, rather than on the surface, as in most species.In an outdoors setting, wind or animals usually provide sufficient motion to produce commercially viable crops.Meiosis is central to the processes by which diploid microspore mother cells within the anther give rise to haploid pollen grains, and megaspore mother cells in ovules that are contained within the ovary give rise to haploid nuclei.Fertilization leads to the formation of a diploid zygote that can then develop into an embryo within the emerging seed.In more temperate climates, it is not uncommon to start seeds in greenhouses during the late winter for future transplant.In 1994, Calgene introduced a genetically modified tomato called the FlavrSavr, which could be vine ripened without compromising shelf life.As of 2008, the heaviest tomato harvested, weighed 3.51 kg (7 lb 12 oz), was of the cultivar "Delicious", and was grown by Gordon Graham of Edmond, Oklahoma in 1986.The plant has been recognized as a Guinness World Record Holder, with a harvest of more than 32,000 tomatoes and a total weight of 522 kg (1,151 lb).[90][full citation needed] It yielded thousands of tomatoes at one time from a single vine.Yong Huang, Epcot's manager of agricultural science, discovered the unique plant in Beijing, China.Huang brought its seeds to Epcot and created the specialized greenhouse for the fruit to grow.[citation needed] The tree developed a disease and was removed in April 2010 after about 13 months of life.In 2020, world production of tomatoes was 187 million tonnes, with China accounting for 35% of the total, followed by India, Turkey, and the United States as major producers (table).Though it is botanically a berry, a subset of fruit, the tomato is a vegetable for culinary purposes because of its savoury flavour (see above).Ripe tomatoes contain significant umami flavor and they are a key ingredient in pizza, and are commonly used in pasta sauces.It is used in diverse ways, including raw in salads or in slices, stewed, incorporated into a wide variety of dishes, or processed into ketchup or tomato soup.The leaves, stem, and green unripe fruit of the tomato plant contain small amounts of the alkaloid tomatine, whose effect on humans has not been studied.[33] They also contain small amounts of solanine, a toxic alkaloid found in potato leaves and other plants in the nightshade family.Compared to potatoes, the amount of solanine in unripe green or fully ripe tomatoes is low.100 g of raw tomatoes supply 18 kilocalories and are a moderate source of vitamin C (17% of the Daily Value), but otherwise have no significant nutrient content (table).There is no conclusive evidence to indicate that the lycopene in tomatoes or in supplements affects the onset of cardiovascular diseases or cancer.[105] In a scientific review of potential claims for lycopene favorably affecting DNA, skin exposed to ultraviolet radiation, heart function and vision, the European Food Safety Authority concluded that the evidence for lycopene having any of these effects was inconclusive.Female P. operculella use the leaves to lay their eggs and the hatched larvae will eat away at the mesophyll of the leaf.The town of Buñol, Spain, annually celebrates La Tomatina, a festival centered on an enormous tomato fight.Flavr Savr was the first commercially grown genetically engineered food licensed for human consumption.Embracing it for this protest connotation, the Dutch Socialist party adopted the tomato as their logo. .

Growing Tomatoes: Everything I Wish I Knew Before Starting

I made a lot of rookie mistakes my first year growing tomatoes and I'm sharing all of them in my complete seed to harvest guide.This was the first year that I had enough room in my yard to grow an actual garden, so I went at it full force.I also picked out seeds for broccoli, red onions and bell and jalapeno peppers.By mid-February I had a small jungle growing on top of my washing machine (the only area in the house that the cats couldn't reach the plants).Fast forward to March and transplants are headed to the garden, and by August they are flourishing and still producing.I learned a lot this season and I made a bunch of mistakes, but somehow my tomatoes still thrived.Give them some water, healthy soil and the heat of the summer sun and they'll grow.Check out your local county extension's website for specific gardening advice for your region.This was my first year in my house and I underestimated the size of the pecan tree in my neighbor's backyard.Tomatoes need a lot of sun but I learned that they will still produce and do well with less than 8 hours of direct sunlight.My tomato plants ended up quite leggy due to the variable sun, but they still produced well.What I learned: Visit the plot to where you plan to plant your tomatoes at different times throughout the day to see how much sun the spot truly receives.In planning for my fall garden, I went ahead and ordered from Baker Creek because they have a huge variety of rare and just plain fun seeds.This is a nice departure from choosing between the two to three varieties that the big home improvement stores have.I don't have a good south facing window in my house so I purchased an inexpensive grow lamp (this is the one that I used).Hardening off seedlings means slowly acclimating them to the outdoor temperatures before planting them in the garden.I transferred my 10 tomatoes plants to a cookie sheet so that I could easily bring them out to my porch.My dad visited in early February and built me two 6 by 3 feet raised beds using untreated cedar fencing.One planter filled up with cow manure and raised bed soil cost almost $100!I decided to experiment with the tomato plants that didnt' make it into the raised bed.I think this is because it was "good" soil and the garden dries out more slowly, which accounts for my sometimes neglectful watering methods.Random holes appeare, thanks to friendly neighborhood squirrels and birds.Soil washed away due to dramatic rainstorms and an overzealous watering hose."Oh, how about two 24 inch tall cages on a couple of the plants and the rest I can tie to a few sticks I found in the yard?".As the plants grew, and oh did they grow (as I write this they are at least five feet tall), they started leaning from the weight of the tomatoes.My neighbor saved the day with three old and rusted, but definitely workable, six feet tall tomato cages from Tractor Supply.Side note: Proper pruning can prevent giant and gangly tomato plants.Good news: a simple mix of 1 teaspoon dish soap and 2 cups water in a spray bottle, applied liberally and daily in the morning shade, wiped those babies away.What I learned: Use a mix of high quality organic soil and compost (I used Black Cow manure).Growing outdoor plants in a hobby garden is an equal balance of relaxing, rewarding, confusing and at times overwhelming.I am still tickled every time I harvest a bunch of cherry tomatoes and add them to my dinner.I started out with very little experience and relied heavily on my county extension's website for advice.I recommend googling your city + "county extension" and "gardening" for more location specific advice.In the mean time, I'll be making cherry tomato pasta sauce on the regular! .

Growing Tomatoes From Seed: A Step-by-Step Guide

When flipping through your favorite seed catalog, you’ll probably notice descriptions like ‘heirloom’ (or sometimes ‘heritage’), ‘open-pollinated’, and ‘hybrid’.Understanding the different types of seeds will help you pick the right tomato varieties for your garden.Popular heirlooms include Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, Pineapple, and Big Rainbow.Popular heirlooms include Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, Pineapple, and Big Rainbow.Most hybrids offer improved traits, like disease resistance, vigor, higher yields, earlier harvest, and uniform ripening.They grow two to three feet tall with fruits that mature around the same time (perfect for canning or sauce!).They grow two to three feet tall with fruits that mature around the same time (perfect for canning or sauce!).You can grow them in containers, but I’d suggest finding a large pot and supporting them securely with stakes or a trellis.As you flip through seed catalogs, notice that tomatoes are categorized by how long they take to mature — early, mid-, and late-season.If you’d like to figure out the length of your growing season, check out this handy calculator on the National Garden Bureau website.I like to make several batches of sauce, but most of our tomatoes are enjoyed fresh from the garden in sandwiches and salads.Therefore I plant a mixture of types, including those for sauce, some super-sweet cherry or grape varieties, and beefy heirlooms for slicing.Starting seeds indoors too early results in leggy, overgrown seedlings.I aim to transplant my seedlings into the garden about a week after my last expected spring frost date.Moisten the mix before filling pots or cell packs to avoid uneven wetting.These growing mixes offer good drainage and are a combination of materials like peat, vermiculite, and perlite.Too little light results in legginess where the seedlings reach and stretch, eventually flopping over.You can use a sunny window to start tomato seeds, but due to low light conditions in late winter, expect some stretching.If you plan on making seed starting an annual event, consider investing in a grow light, like this fluorescent fixture or a SunBlaster.Overwatering is one of the quickest ways to kill delicate seedlings, so keep an eye on soil moisture.As indicated in my previous step, air circulation is important when growing healthy tomato plants.This could lead to fungal issues if I didn’t have a small oscillating fan in the room to move air.Carefully read and follow all labels on potting mix bags and fertilizer containers.Once you’ve reached the final spring frost date, it’s time to harden off your tomato seedlings. .


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