How to Grow Tomatoes in Your Garden
Gardening is so much fun and my favorite vegetable to grow is tomatoes. Today I am sharing all of 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!
There is nothing better than a homegrown tomato. You just can’t get that great taste when you buy a tomato at the grocery store.
Today I am sharing my tips on how to grow tomatoes in your garden.
These cherry tomatoes on the cutting board are the same cherry tomatoes pictured below on the vines in my garden. I picked them this morning. Of course, a lot of the tomatoes didn’t make it to the cutting board. That’s because in addition to “farm to table” we have “farm to mouth” at our house.
I think it makes sense to learn how to grow your own tomatoes. 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, which are the best tomatoes for homemade marinara sauce. I cannot wait for them to ripen! (And I will tell you that I have four more of these San Marzano plants in my raised vegetable beds!)
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, in raised beds, in pots, and even hanging upside down. I have grown tomatoes in pots, in the ground, and in 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 for almost everyone, you still have time to plant your own tomatoes this summer! Just plant them in the next few weeks.
You can’t plant seeds directly in the ground since you don’t have time to germinate the seeds, so start with medium to large-sized tomato plants. You can buy them now at every nursery and hardware store.
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 a lot of them, plant different varieties that have staggered fruit-bearing dates. This will allow you to enjoy tomatoes all summer long and not at once!
When planting a tomato plant you need to make sure you have tomato supports. These supports are called tomato cages which come in plastic, metal, and wood. I recently made my own wood tomato cages and you can find the complete DIY here. I also have some square wire tomato cages which are pictured here.
How to Plant Tomatoes
Dig a deep hole, two times the size of the root bowl, and place the plant below the soil level. Cover with healthy soil. I usually use Amend.
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 will want to water your tomato plants thoroughly after planting and then water them about two times a week. In dry spells, water them more often. Drip or soaker hoses are best, which you can see I put in my vegetable beds in the photo below.
How to Grow Plentiful and Healthy Tomatoes
It is really important to use fertilizer!
I have used Epsom salt and crushed egg shells. But I think the best is Sea Magic Dry Soluble Seaweed Extract Fertilizer. Get the smallest size you can because the one I have 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. To use on plants in your garden, add 3 tsp. of liquid concentrate to each quart or liter of water. Or 1/2 cup to standard 2-gallon watering can. Apply every 2-3 weeks.
I bought a one Gallon Lawn, Garden, and Multi-Purpose Sprayer with Foaming and Adjustable Nozzles to use to spread the fertilizer on all of my plants and vegetables. It’s so easy! And I like that you can fertilize the roots and not the entire plant.
Mulching is good for tomato plants. To be honest, I haven’t mulched my gardens yet. Maybe next year?
Be sure to pick your tomatoes when they are ripe. Otherwise, they will fall in the dirt and not be edible to eat.
What Kind of Tomatoes Should Your Grow?
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!
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 growing tall. Our tomato cages are 58″ tall and many of the tomato varieties grow taller than that!
If you grow a lot of tomatoes, you might want to try my Best Ever Marrinara Sauce. If you think homegrown tomatoes are good, then you should try this recipe for the sauce.
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 such a fun hobby and you will get so much joy from your vegetables.
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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!
That is an amazing selection, Jennifer!
Oh so amazing!! We need to add some
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!
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.
Awesome! Would love to hear what you think 🙂
Oh yum – I so want to try your marinara sauce recipe! Your tomatoes look fabulous too! We’re several weeks behind you, but I can’t wait until we can eat off the bush! Thanks for the seaweed tip too!
Of course! Good luck with yours, I am sure it will be great.
This is so helpful! Definitely have some great takeaways for my own garden!!
I am so glad. Good luck Amanda!
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.
There really isn’t! I bet yours will do just great.
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! 🙂
That is awesome, Tina! Romas are so great!
Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea its really help me a lot keep posting such amazing ideas
I am happy to share!