Grow the BEST Tasting Tomatoes
By Judy Williams
Tired of tomatoes that are rock hard and taste like cardboard? Stupid question! Use these tips to grow your own tomatoes bursting with flavour.
Tomatoes are the most popular home garden vegetable grown for good reason. They are easy to grow and will tolerate a wide variety of soil types. They are also incredibly versatile. The methods described here will suit most tomato varieties. And what a variety! Big fleshy 'Ox Heart', sweet cherry-type 'Tom Thumbs', Grosse Lisse, Roma, the list goes on and on.
If you are starting your plants from seeds, put them in trays with a good quality seed raising mixture and cover lightly. Water very gently, perhaps using a spray bottle, so as not to disturb the seed. They will germinate best in a temperature of low 20's Celsius (about 70F). In cooler climates start your seedlings indoors or use a cold frame. (see www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com/start-seedlings-indoors.html)
Try to introduce them to periods of sunlight as quickly as possible to harden them off. You don't want them to be too spindly. Once they are large enough to handle, repot them into their own small containers of potting mix. Water them in well, but gently. Make sure the containers drain well. Tomato plants hate to sit in water. Small regular dressings of sulphate of potash will help your seedling form flowers and resist disease. Just a pinch a week watered in should do it.
In about 6 weeks, your tomato seedlings should be ready for the garden. If you are growing tall varieties, put your stakes in before the seedling so as not to damage the plants roots.
Tomatoes need full sun to grow. They also have plenty of fiberous roots just under the soil so don't allow them to dry out. But again, don't let them sit in water either. Water deeply to encourage deep root growth and mulch around the plant to protect the soil from drying out. Every few weeks, water in another dressing of sulphate of potash. A couple of tablespoons per plant (under the mulch) should keep them happy.
Harvest your tomatoes when they are pink and bring them indoors. Temperature rather than sunlight is what allows them to ripen to their rosey red. Put them inside in a dry place OUT of the sun to ripen. Putting them on the windowsill or in the fridge will rob them of their full flavour. Enjoy!
Judy Williams (http://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com) splits her time between being an executive and an earth mother goddess. No Dig Vegetable Gardens represents a clean, green way to grow your own food. The site covers all aspects of growing, cooking and preserving your harvest.
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