I LOVE tomatoes, and I use them very often in my cooking. However, there isn’t anything worse than tucking into a fresh tomato salad to find that the fruit is tasteless and has that nasty mushy texture. Even if you follow the golden rule of not storing your tomatoes in the fridge, they are sometimes still displeasing to the taste buds. One of the best ways to make sure you get delicious and succulent tomatoes is to grow them yourself. It will take a little effort and lots of love to get them at their best, but boy will it be worth it! Here is my advice on how to produce ripe and juicy tomatoes from home.
Types of tomato plant
You may not be aware, but there is a huge variety of tomato plants. These include types you are probably familiar with, like plum, cherry and beef, and those that you may know less about, like black krim, great white and San Marzano. So, with tomato plants you can really have fun trying out different colours, sizes and shapes. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a specific recommendation for which plants to choose. Their success will depend on the climate you live in and whether you plan to grow indoors or outside. The best thing to do is ask at your local garden center for advice, or look up specific tomato growing recommendations for your area online.
You can buy young tomato plants from your garden centre and transplant them into your garden soil or indoor pots. However, more experienced gardeners may wish to start from seed. Tomato plants can flourish when grown outside and indoors. The key to success in either cultivation environment is to give your seeds or young plants plenty of space when planting. Tomato plants need plenty of room to stretch. If you don’t provide ample space between plants, you will curb their progress which can result in a poor crop.
Tomato plants need plenty of light. The stronger and more direct it is, the better. So, when planting outside, make sure you give them the sunniest spot of your garden. If you are growing them indoors, you may wish to purchase grow lights. Even placing them next to a window may not provide them with enough natural light (especially during the short days of winter).
Tomatoes love heat just as much as they love light. Bear this in mind if you are growing indoors. A conservatory is the best option, however, next to a window in a sunny room will also help your plants to flourish.
You need to provide your plants with plenty of love and attention as they grow. Water regularly while your seedlings are developing. Around one inch of water a week is satisfactory, but during a hot, dry spell, more will be required. As the fruit ripens, less water is needed. Wilted leaves are a good indication that your plant is thirsty.
The bottom leaves can be removed as soon as your plant reaches around three feet tall. General thinning out is okay to let more light at your fruit, but do this sparingly.