Information Guide to Grow the Best Tomatoes in Town

Believe it or not, botanically speaking, a tomato is a fruit. But the tomato has a significantly lower sugar content than most fruits, and is therefore not as sweet. Tomatoes are typically served as part of a salad or main course of a meal, and is considered a vegetable for most culinary purposes. Tomatoes are eaten throughout the world, and their consumption is believed to benefit the heart among other things. Tomatoes contain lycopene, one of the most powerful natural antioxidants . Tomatoes are extremely healthy and many different recipes require tomatoes, or tomato products such as tomato paste, catsup ( ketchup ), salsa , bruschetta, tomato sauce, and canned tomatoes.

While there are many food crops gardeners can grow, perhaps none is as beloved as the tomato. Tomatoes are incredibly popular, and even beginning gardeners can grow delicious tomato plants successfully. One of the great things about tomatoes is that unlike many other food crops, tomatoes can be grown virtually anywhere, from a small window box or container to a huge patch of garden . No matter where you choose to grow your tomatoes or what varieties you choose to grow, it is important to take the special needs of these plants into account. Taking the time to learn about the needs of these plants can help you be more successful, and before you know it you will be feasting on the fruits of your labor.

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One of the most important considerations for tomato growers is sunlight. Tomatoes are sun loving plants, and it is important for gardeners to give them access to plenty of direct sunlight. Tomatoes should never be grown in shady areas – they need to have direct sunlight in order to be happy and healthy. Planting your tomatoes on a southern facing slope is one of the best ways to ensure they get the sunlight they need. Placing the plants on a slope can also give them the support they need to grow healthy and strong.

The pH level of the soil is another important consideration for tomato growers. Most varieties of tomatoes will do very well in a pH range of 6.0 to 6.8, although they will grow in soils with a pH as low as 5.5. If the pH level is not conducive to growing tomatoes it is important to use soil additives to adjust the pH level to a more acceptable level.

Gardeners should also be sure to support their plants properly. A tomato plant can easily reach six feet in height, and without support the weight of the fruit will quickly drag the plant to the ground. Allowing the stems and vines to lie on the ground invites both disease and insect infestation, but by staking the plants and supporting them gardeners can avoid these problems. Gardeners can use cages, stakes and trellises to support their plants – the most important thing is to have the plants supported in some way.

Gardeners have a number of choices when it comes to starting their tomato plants. Beginning gardeners may find it easier to purchase seedlings from the local garden center or nursery, while more experienced gardeners can save money by starting their plants from seeds . When choosing seedlings it is important to look for the strongest looking and sturdiest plants at the nursery – these strong plants will be better able to withstand the rigors of the open garden.

If you do plan to start your tomatoes from seed it is important to use a quality seed starter, along with a quality compost and potting soil. It is also important to have a warm place to start those seeds, whether that warm spot is a patio room in your own home or a heated greenhouse. When you start tomatoes from seed it is also critical to provide plenty of light – using a grow light will help your seedlings grow stronger than simply placing them in a south facing window.

Tomato plants should not be started too early. Instead those seeds should be started six to weight weeks before you plan to put them in the garden. When you do put the plants in the garden it is important not to rush them. Make sure that the nighttime temperatures in your garden are above 45 degrees Fahrenheit on a consistent basis before attempting to plant your tomatoes. If the soil is not sufficiently warm it is a good idea to lay down a piece of black plastic to warm the soil before you transplant those tomato plants.

It is also important to harden your seedlings before placing them in the garden. A few days before the expected transplant date be sure to reduce the amount of water and fertilizer the plants are getting. This will help to harden the plants and get them ready for transplant. Gardeners should use this technique for hardening instead of exposing the plants to cold weather – cold hardening can cause severe stress for those young plants.

Unlike many plants, tomatoes do better when they are planted deeply. Tomato plants should be placed in the soil so that only the leaves around above the soil level. The stem should be completely buried, as this will encourage that stem to grow thicker and stronger, as well as encouraging a stronger and deeper root system.

When planting those tomatoes in the garden it is also important to space them properly. Determinate varieties of tomatoes should be spaced between one and two feet apart, while indeterminate varieties should be placed 24 to 36 inches apart if unstaked and 14 to 20 inches apart when staked.

Tomato plants should be mulched only after the soil has warmed sufficiently. After the soil is warm it will be better able to contain the moisture and suppress weeds that would otherwise damage the plants. Mulch can be a very good addition to the tomato garden, but it is important to use it correctly.

Those plants will need to be protected from common diseases and garden pests as well. Tomatoes are prone to a number of fungal diseases, so it is important to watch out for signs of trouble. Gardeners who notice spots on the leaves, stems and fruit of the tomato plants should take the necessary steps to eradicate the infection as quickly as possible. The same is true of insects like aphids and stink bugs – nipping an insect problem in the bud by spraying the plants with a good insecticidal soap is the best way to keep a small pest problem from becoming a larger one.

By planting your tomatoes properly and caring for them the right way you can enjoy happy healthy plants all season long. . Growing tomatoes is a great hobby, and growing your own homegrown tomatoes can be very rewarding.

One of the simplest, easiest, and most popular tomato uses and recipes is tomato soup . Tomato soup is an excellent way to stay healthy. Although Wikipedia states, "It is commonly used as an ingredient in more complex dishes, and, unlike most savory soups, it may be served either hot or cold. It can be made from chunks of tomato or with only a puree." I could NOT imagine eating tomato soup cold. Introduced in 1897, Campbell's Tomato soup was the first condensed soup in the company's history and to this day remains an American favorite. It is one of the company's top-selling soups and is eaten by more than 25 million people at least once a week, according to Campbell's website.

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