How to Grow Tomatoes in Your Garden

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Gardening is so much fun, and my favorite vegetable to grow is tomatoes. Today, I am sharing my tips on how to grow tomatoes in your garden.

It’s not a secret that fresh tomatoes are delicious. What might be a secret, however, is how easy it is to grow your own tomatoes at home. Whether you’re a first-time gardener or an experienced pro, I’ve got some tips for you. Let’s get gardening!

How to Grow Tomatoes
Grow Tomatoes

There is nothing better than a homegrown tomato. You can’t get that great taste when you buy a tomato at the grocery store.

These cherry tomatoes on the cutting board are the same ones pictured below on the vines in my garden. I love it when the tomatoes are ripe and I can pick them from my garden. Of course, many tomatoes didn’t make it to the cutting board. That’s because, besides “farm to table,” we have “farm to mouth” at our house.

 Learning to grow tomatoes makes sense. I have been doing it for years, and tomatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow.

And they taste amazing. 

The tomatoes in the photo below are San Marzano, the best for homemade marinara sauce. I can’t wait for them to ripen! (I will tell you that I have four more San Marzano plants in my raised vegetable beds!)

Grow a Variety of Tomatoes

What Do You Need to Grow Your Own Tomatoes?

Tomatoes need full sun and warm, rich, well-drained soil. They grow well in the ground, raised beds, pots, and even hanging upside down. I have grown tomatoes in pots, in the ground, and raised tomato beds. All three worked great.

You should plant your tomatoes in the summer. The timing varies by the planting zone you live in, but almost everyone still has time to plant their tomatoes this summer! Just plant them in the next few weeks.

It’s a bit late to plant seeds directly in the ground since you likely don’t have time to germinate them, so start with medium to large-sized tomato plants. You can buy them now at every nursery and hardware store.

How to Grow the Best Tomato Plants

Which tomatoes should you buy? That depends on which tomatoes you like to eat. I always plant a variety, but I always get some hearty tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, and some fun and exotic tomatoes. If you love tomatoes and intend to plant many of them, plant different varieties with staggered fruit-bearing dates. This will allow you to enjoy tomatoes all summer and not at once! 

When planting a tomato plant,, you need to ensure you have tomato supports. These supports are called tomato cages, and they come in plastic, metal, and wood. I recently made my own wood tomato cages, and you can find the complete DIY here. Recently I acquired some square wire tomato cages, which are pictured here.

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How to Plant Tomatoes

Dig a deep hole two times the size of the root bowl, place the plant below the soil level, and cover it with healthy soil. I usually use the best vegetable soil at my local nursery, which combines peat moss, mushroom compost, and a small amount of sand.

You are supposed to place your plants 4′ apart in rows of 5-6 feet apart. But I have to be honest. I never follow this rule.  I have 4′ x 8′ beds and I plant eight tomato plants in each bed.  You can do the math. So far, my plants have been just fine.

You should water your tomato plants thoroughly after planting and then about two times a week. In dry spells, water them more often. Drip or soaker hoses are best, and you can see I put them in my vegetable beds in the photo below.

My newly planted kitchen garden has grown 4" - 6" in one week!

How to Grow Plentiful and Healthy Tomatoes

A variety of leafy vegetables growing in a sunlit raised garden bed.

It is really important to use fertilizer!

I have used Epsom salt and crushed eggshells. But I think the best is Sea Magic Dry Soluble Seaweed Extract Fertilizer. Get the smallest size you can because mine makes 66 Gallons. And it still needs to be diluted more. I am convinced my Seaweed Extract Fertilizer is going to last a lifetime. 

Why does the  Sea Magic Dry Soluble Seaweed Extract Fertilizer work? Adding seaweed to your current fertilizing program may be the most important thing you have ever done for your home garden and houseplants. The seaweed in Sea Magic, Ascophyllum nodozum, is harvested from the cold, clear waters of the North Atlantic and is quickly dried under a special procedure designed to keep its natural qualities intact.

The directions are: Dissolve the contents of the package into a 1-gallon jug filled with warm water. This is your liquid concentrate. Store in a cool place. Add three tsp. of liquid concentrate to each quart or liter of water to use on plants in your garden. Or 1/2 cup of standard 2-gallon watering can. Apply every 2-3 weeks.

Adding Sea Magic Fertilizer

I bought a One-Gallon Lawn, Garden, and Multi-Purpose Sprayer with foam and adjustable nozzles to spread fertilizer on all my plants and vegetables. It’s so easy! I like that you can fertilize the roots rather than the entire plant.

How to Make Sea Magic Fertilizer

Crushed eggshells can be a beneficial addition to the soil around tomato plants, providing a slow-release source of calcium, balancing soil pH, improving soil drainage and aeration, and acting as an organic fertilizer. Just rinse the eggshells, chop them in a blender or food processor, and sprinkle them in the hole before you plant.

Mulching is good for tomato plants. I haven’t mulched my gardens yet because I plant my plants so close together.

Be sure to pick your tomatoes when they are ripe. Otherwise, they will fall into the dirt and be unusable.

Tomato Supports or Cages

What Kind of Tomatoes Should You Grow?

How to Grow Tomatoes

My favorite varieties of tomatoes are Roma, Cherry,  Early Girl, Brandywine, Black Cherry, Beefsteak, Sungold, and San Marzano. San Marzano tomatoes make the best tomato sauce. I planted four plants of San Marzano plants this year!

Right now is the best time to buy your tomato plants. In Southern California, Tomatomania is happening everywhere, and it is likely happening in your town, too. Tomatomania is when many nurseries and growers offer weekend tomato plant sales.

Don’t wait because you can find heirloom and rare tomatoes for sale this month!

Raised Tomato and Vegetable Beds

Don’t think you have to grow these same varietals. Check out the tomatoes at your local nursery or hardware store and plan out your tomato garden.

I love it when the tomato plants are hearty and grow tall. Our tomato cages are 58″ tall, but many tomato varieties grow taller than that! To make these wood tomato cages, click here.

You might want to try my Best Ever Marinara Sauce if you grow many tomatoes. If you think homegrown tomatoes are good, you should try this recipe for the sauce.

Growing Cherry Tomatoes

What Should You Buy to Grow Your Own Tomatoes?

I think I included everything you might need to plant a vegetable garden. Enjoy! This is a fun hobby, and you will get so much joy from your vegetables.

Lots of Tomato Plants

For more tips about growing tomatoes, head to my blog post How to Grow the Best Tomato Plants Ever.

All my Favorite Gardening Must Haves!

You can pin the image below to your Gardening or Summer boards on Pinterest (click the Pin button in the top left corner) or follow me on Pinterest!

Home grown cherry tomatoes sitting on the counter top.

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  1. What a gorgeous space for growing your tomatoes! This year I am growing Italian Heirloom, Cherokee Purple, Roma, Red Cherry, and Black Cherry. I actually grow the black cherry for bouquet fillers in my flower bouquets!

  2. Leslie,
    Ok, I have to buy some of the seaweed fertilizer! Does it add nutrients that you can’t get from other soil supplements? Your tomatoes and garden are fabulous!

  3. Just came inside from picking tomatoes! Here in SC we grow a lot of Celebrity tomatoes and a few Cherokee Purples. I’m going to try the seaweed fertilizer you recommended.

  4. Leslie- I love your raised beds! We planted tomatoes for the first time in years since we won’t be traveling this year! I hope my cherry tomatoes are successful as yours! There’s nothing better than a fresh picked tomato.

  5. Oh, beautiful photos. I love growing tomatoes, and the cherry tomatoes are really fun to grow. Yours are gorgeous! My favorite to eat are the Romas. I know you are calling them vegetables, but they are actually fruit. Thanks for sharing your garden with us. I enjoyed seeing it! 🙂

  6. Your ideas are always so inspiring!
    Thank you for sharing the seaweed fertilizer with us – I’ll have to try it this year. Your raised beds are so pretty, too!

    1. Thank you so much Jan! So glad you’re enjoying it all 🙌🏻☺️ Let me know how it goes for you!

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