Tomato is one of the easiest things you can grow in your backyard. All you need is a sunny spot, good soil, and tomato seedling.
If you follow these tips, you can harvest a bumper tomato yield.
1. Choosing a Container
The container size for growing tomatoes depends upon the variety. Choose a large container that is 12-16 inches deep. Do not use small pots, as the plants tend to get root bound, resulting in low yield. Ensure that the container has enough drainage holes to let out excess water, as it can cause root rot.
Tomatoes want 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. Do not place the pots too close because air circulation is necessary to control fungal diseases. Rotate the plant now and then so that all plant part gets enough sunlight. Although tomatoes thrive in moderate temperatures and prefer warm conditions, avoid placing tomato seedlings outside in the full sun as it causes heat shock.
Use soil with good organic matter. You can also enrich the soil by adding compost and organic manure. Tomatoes prefer soil that has a good moisture-holding capacity and, at the same time, has adequate water-draining capacity.
Fertilizing your tomato plants ensures they receive the proper nutrients needed to produce fruit. Use chemical-free organic fertilizers. You can also use fertilizers such as espoma, which are specially made for tomato plants. Alternatively, you can also use all-purpose liquid and slow-release fertilizers. When you grow tomatoes in containers, ensure to provide fertilizers at every stage of their growth.
5. Choose Healthy Tomato Plants
Choose healthy tomato plants. Select plants that are vigorous and sturdy. Avoid weak, sickly plants. Avoid plants that are small and thin. Smaller plants tend to be weaker and won’t produce as much fruit. Choose 4-8 inches-tall tomato plants that are ready to be transplanted. You can choose Determinate, Indeterminate, Heirloom, or Hybrid varieties. For containers, determinate varieties are best.
Plant tomato saplings deeply. Cover the stems and roots of saplings with soil so that only one-third of the plant is visible.
While sowing seeds, sow it 1/4 inch deep.
7. Remove Suckers
Suckers, fruitless and crossing stems, and yellow leaves should be removed regularly. This encourages the plant to develop its full potential and provides good airflow.
Providing support to Tomatoes is necessary as the plant has weak stems. You can use trellises, thread, or stakes to provide support. This method helps the plant grow well without bending and reaching the ground.
9. Cracking of tomatoes
Fruit cracking is commonly seen in tomatoes. To avoid fruit cracking, water the plants evenly and not let the soil dry out completely. Also, harvest tomatoes as soon as they mature to protect the fruits from various diseases. In addition, conserve the soil moisture using mulching materials.
Dr. Vandana K.