How To Grow A Tomato Plant

Michelle RobertsGardening, Planting Tips

heirloom-tomatoes

The word tomato comes from the Aztec word ‘tomatl’.  When Cortez visited Montezuma’s gardens he discovered tomatoes growing there.  He brought home seeds to Europe where they were planted and enjoyed as ornamentals because the Spaniards thought the fruit was poisonous.  Eventually they realized tomatoes were in fact not poisonous and took them off the lethal list.

There are over 7500 varieties of tomatoes today and it is the most preserved food in the world.  The Spanish Explorers were responsible for distributing seeds of the tomato plant all over the world.

Tomatoes are high in numerous vitamins and minerals including lycopene which has been linked to the prevention of cancer and chronic diseases. Tomatoes are eaten in a variety of ways from raw to cooked, sauced, made into condiments, juices, salsas, salads, on sandwiches and more.

Tomato leaves are very susceptible to winter kill and you should wait until all danger of frost is gone before setting them out in your garden unless you plan to protect them.

Choosing Which Tomato Plant To Grow

My suggestion is the one you like best whether that be a cherry tomato, grape tomato, roma or paste tomato, salad tomato, or just a great big slicing eating tomato.  Many people are finding the variety of flavors in heirloom tomatoes  outstanding and prefer to risk negative characteristics as far as disease resistance or yield go.

Once you’ve decided the variety you want to plant, then pay attention as to whether your tomato plant is determinate or indeterminate.

Determinate

A determinate plant will bear all its fruit at once.  They need to be caged and not staked. By taking off some of the sucker vines, your caged tomato plant will not become too unruly! There will be more light and oxygen in the interior and a better harvest. Determinate tomatoes are great for those desiring to preserve by canning or juicing.

Indeterminate

Indeterminate tomatoes can be staked or grown vertically. They will bear fruit until the vine dies. Indeterminates need to have suckers removed and can grow up a stake or a string and can reach 15 – 20 feet.  They are great to grow if you just want a juicy eating tomato, salad tomato, or hamburger tomato now and then.

How To Plant Tomatoes

tomatoThe best way is to take off all the leaves except the top 3-4. Then dig a deep hole or a trench.  If planting in a trench, lay the tomato plant on its side in the trench and cover the entire stem up to the leaves with soil.  The stem will root all along the way and the plant will be much hardier as it has more root system to support it.  Sinking the plant deep into the soil also accomplishes the same thing.

Before placing in the trench or hole you might want to sprinkle a bit of epsom salts and crushed eggshells in the hole.  Mulch around the base of the plant during the growing season to keep the soil at a more constant temperature and try to avoid huge swings between waterings.

Thats the low down on how to grow a tomato plant!

Happy tomato growing.

Post your comments and questions below!