Tomatoes are one of the most consumed fruits in the world and they are greatly cultivated by farmers and gardeners all over the world.
Tomatoes have so many nutritional benefits that make it recommendable for virtually everyone and they produce antioxidants in large quantities.
Tomatoes just like every other fruit vegetable are required in great proportion in our diets as they have been proven to be of great benefit in reducing the risk of developing heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer.
Generally, tomatoes are of great benefit in our diets and they are rich in some key carotenoids such as lycopene and lutein which are of great benefits to the eye.
Now, even though this fruit is very beneficial to us all, the question is that what does it really take to produce a well-developed and healthy tomato plant?
Tomatoes as a plant require proper care and maintenance to attain the right and most suitable plant quality for the market and the people at large.
There are different growing techniques that are employed in growing tomatoes depending on the place where planting is to be carried out, the season of cultivation, and the variety of tomato you decide to plant.
The production of a fresh, good-looking tomato which will meet the market demand at all times requires proper maintenance and care and your level of expertise and readiness to follow the proper guidelines for a good production season will be of good benefit to you.
In this article, we are going to discuss more on the various steps involved in growing a healthy tomato garden and we will also take our time to discuss more about the things that help harness a good and lovely production.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Tomato?
- 2 When is the right time to plant tomatoes?
- 3 How to Plant Tomatoes
- 4 What are the steps involved in Growing a Healthy Tomato Garden?
- 5 Conclusion
What is a Tomato?
Tomato is botanically known as Solanum lycopersicum and it can be classified as either a fruit or vegetable.
Tomatoes are rich in a chemical known as lycopene which is a carotenoid that gives them their characteristic red color.
They belong to the plant family Solanaceae and this flower is usually regarded as a vegetable when consumed in foods while they are technically regarded as fruits. Tomatoes are mostly classified under vegetables as Fruit vegetables.
When is the right time to plant tomatoes?
Determining when to plant tomatoes depends on how and where you want to plant it. Tomatoes are mostly grown from their seeds and they can as well be transplanted – this requires more technical know-how.
Deciding to plant tomatoes from seeds does not require much expertise but requires proper preparation of seedbeds on which the seedlings can easily germinate on the field.
In the case of growing seedlings, planting of seedlings will be carried out indoor for the first 6 – 8 weeks before the last average spring frost date.
After the specified indoor growing period make sure that the plant is then transplanted to the field where it will adapt to the required environmental conditions.
Growing should be carried out during the last week of frost when the soil will be warm.
How to Plant Tomatoes
The process involved in planting tomatoes is not too hard to understand as long as you are ready and willing to give it your all.
Here, we will go through the method involved in the successful planting of tomatoes in gardens so you should read further to know more. It goes does:
- Hardening off seedlings and transplants: this is to be carried out a week before the final planting in the garden. This is carried out by exposing the seedling to outdoor shade for hours for the very first day and in subsequent days; the seedlings should get a bit of direct sunlight.
- Give proper spacing.
- Ensure proper maintenance from transplanting to maturity.
What are the steps involved in Growing a Healthy Tomato Garden?
To get the best out of a tomato production process or season, there are some steps we need to follow so as to get the best possible yield.
The condition of produce after harvest matters a lot in terms of its marketability if we do not want to be at the mercy of the consumers.
Here, we will take you through the steps involved in growing healthy tomatoes for consumption. The steps are listed and discussed below:
Proper spacing and planting in a tomato garden
Ensuring a good space for the plant to grow in the garden will help produce a plant that is healthier, less susceptible to diseases, and much more productive.
The type of tomato plant you decide to plant will have a really big impact on the spacing you give to the plants; determinate tomato plants require a spacing of 24 inches between them while the indeterminate types require a spacing of 18 – 24 inches which will help them to grow much more effectively.
The spacing of tomatoes in the garden does depend on how the plants are to be staked and also the selection of very good space or point to plant in the garden do matter.
Tomatoes require a well fertile soil and they have the ability to form roots on the stems when grown beneath the soil.
For this reason, it is required that you plant about two-third of the seedling when transplanting so as to avoid having a shallow root system because this can affect the ability of the plat to take up soil water and nutrients required for its growth and development.
Staking and providing supports to the plants
Staking involves the attachment of tomato plants to a support system which helps them to grow in a vertical and controllable manner.
Providing stakes to plants allows for the proper growth of the tomato plants and they also allow for efficient air circulation to the plant.
This process also ensures that the leaves are free from soil-borne diseases that regularly affect tomatoes and this will also ensure growing a much more healthy plant.
There are different staking materials that you can make use of in the tomato garden so you can visit any gardening store to purchase the one you prefer.
If you are growing determinate types, tomato cages are highly recommended but for indeterminate types that can reach about 7 feet tall, 8-foot tall fiberglass or wooden stake is recommended as they allow for easy twinning.
Mulching Tomato plants
Mulching is by far one of the most important operations to be carried out to ensure growing healthy tomatoes. This operation involves covering the earth’s surface with organic materials like shredded leaves or straw.
This can also be carried out by using plastic mulch which could either be red or black in color. This helps to avoid the spread of soil-borne pathogens on the plant’s leaf surface, minimizes weed, and holds soil moisture.
As an addition, plastic mulches help to increase plant growth and keep the soil warm at all times which is good for tomatoes.
Watering Tomato plants
It is no news that all plants require water for very good and essential growth and for a plant like tomato, water is very important for their survival.
In tomatoes, there is a condition known as the blossom end rot which causes black, leathery patches on the bottom of the fruit and this is only caused when sufficient water is not provided to tomatoes.
To avoid such a condition in your garden, make sure that you regularly water the plant at all times.
Watering should be done very early in the morning and water should be directed towards the root of the plant rather than the foliage/leaves. Spraying water on leaves can aid the spreading of diseases so it is not advisable.
Fertilize the Tomatoes
The supply of the necessary nutrients needed by the tomato plant for better growth is very much essential. Before planting in the garden, make sure you ad organic fertilizers to the soil so as to supply adequate nutrients needed for the plants’ growth.
The addition of liquid organic fertilizers every three weeks during the growth period or season will ensure that the fruits grow well and they come out healthier than normal.
Pest and Disease Management
The management of diseases and pests on the field is very important for a good and bountiful harvest.
Pests and diseases can have a really big impact on the tomato plants are they are not well monitored and inspection to check for possible problems should be carried out either on a weekly basis or bi-weekly.
There are different pests and diseases of tomatoes and the pests include aphids, tomato hornworm, flea beetles, and whiteflies while diseases include late blight and mosaic virus.
You should also pay attention to things like cracking and blossom-end rot which are very disastrous in tomato production.
Yellowing or curling of the foliage, brown spot, etc. should be paid attention to as they also affect the health of tomato plants.
Being able to grow a well-developed and healthy tomato plant is very easy if you can follow the above-mentioned steps.
Tomato has a high market value if you are present high-quality products to the consumers. Therefore, the basis of attaining good market value all depends on how healthy and edible your produce is.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article !