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Killer Tomatoes! Tips for Growing Great Tomatoes

From plant selection to harvest, our tips will help you grow amazing garden tomatoes.

| July/August 2011



Tomatoes are one of the most popular home garden plants, and for good reason. Homegrown tomatoes are flat-out, hands-down, guaranteed more delicious than any tomatoes you can buy. You can grow your favorite kinds and harvest them at the peak of ripe juiciness. Plus, they’re truly easy to grow—for any level of gardener.

A Planting Primer 

Plant tomato seedlings as soon as the last chance of frost has passed and you’ve had a short stint of warm weather (around 50 degrees for a week or so). If you want to start tomatoes from seed, do it indoors under grow lights about eight weeks before your last frost. Visit your local nursery for organically grown seedlings, or purchase seeds from a reliable seed source such as Seed Savers Exchange.

Choose a growing spot with loose, fertile soil that gets plenty of sun all summer. Raised beds allow you to fully control the quality and content of your soil. Set tomato plants, along with a scoop of compost, into holes about 18 inches apart in each direction. Bury plants so only the top few sets of leaves are above ground (even if a lot of the stem is buried), then tamp the soil down gently around the stem and cover the base with thick mulch. Unlike most vegetables, tomatoes prefer to grow in the same place every year, so plant in the same spot unless you have had a disease problem.



Companion planting can help tomatoes grow. Tomatoes are compatible with chives, onion, parsley, marigold, nasturtium and carrot. Planting garlic between tomato plants can help protect them from red spider mites, and planting stinging nettle near tomatoes improves their longevity after picking.

Tips for Success 

Helen
5/9/2019 12:51:35 PM

I always get fungus on my tomatoes. What should I do to help this.


Juanita
5/31/2016 8:38:05 AM

Can you replant tomato plants that show the disease because I planted in the same spot as last year?




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