This article summarises some golden rules of how to grow tomatoes in order to get the absolute maximum yields from your crop.
The chances are, if you are growing your own food at home, you will have tomatoes on your list. They are one of the most popular home-grown fruits in the world.
They are fairly easy to grow in the standard way - i.e. just add soil, water and sunlight and hey-presto, you’ll have a few tomatoes.
However, with just a little bit of extra attention paid to learning how to grow tomatoes properly, you can significantly increase your yields.
This page is just a very brief summary of some golden rules on how to grow tomatoes for a fantastic, high-yielding crop. I have written a more comprehensive article that goes into much greater detail on each of the points listed below.Click here to see my full article.
How to grow tomatoes in bigger quantities than you have ever grown before...
1. Always start off your seeds in good quality potting compost
2. Water your freshly planted seeds gently. Splashing water may dislodge them and make them float away!
3. Prepare the main growing soil using high quality soil/compost (this is very important). Mix in pearlite or vermiculite, plus rich organic material such as well rotted manure and/or peat moss.
4. Make sure your main soil has excellent drainage. It must be able to stay moist, but not wet. (A 'riched-up' version of Mel's Mix from the Square Foot Gardening method makes an ideal candidate here).
5. Make sure you add calcium (lime) to your main soil – a handful or two of crushed oyster shell is perfect. This will help prevent blossom end rot and leaf curl.
6. Trim away the lower branches and plant deeply so the trimmed stem is part-buried. The trimmed areas will form roots making a stronger plant.
7. Bigger pots mean happier healthier tomato plants
8. Do not use canes or any straight support that requires the tomato plant to be tied to it. Use either a tomato cage, or a spiral where you don’t have to tie.
9. Make sure your tomatoes get at least 6 hours of sun a day
10. Do not over-feed (this is a common mistake) - see my main article here for a full description
11. Do not Over-water, again this is a common mistake. The soil may appear dry on top, but check several inches below the surface. If still damp - do not water.
12. Water from the bottom and avoid getting the foliage wet - this can encourage blight.
13. Hand pollinate for a bigger crop. Tap or flick the flowers once they have opened, or use an electric toothbrush to vibrate the flower stem.
14. Keep pruning to a minimum. The more leaves you have the more food the growing tomatoes have.
15. Harvest a few days after turning red. Cut the tomatoes with a couple of inches of vine still attached. They will last longer.