a cluster of tomatoes

How to Grow Better Tomatoes

Who doesn't love a bright red, juicy tomato picked from the backyard garden? Tomatoes are fresh, tasty, and good for you. They're rich in vitamin C and lycopene, which helps with bone health and is full of antioxidants. People who eat tomatoes have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than those who steer clear of these yummy summertime fruits. Here are a few tips on how to grow the absolute best tomatoes you possibly can.

Add Baking Soda

Baking soda helps lower acidity levels in the soil, which means your tomatoes will be sweeter. You can either sprinkle it into the soil around the tomato plant, or you can mix it with water and use the mixture to water the soil around the base of plant. By removing the acidity in the soil, the tomatoes lose some of the bitterness caused by a low pH level.

Water Early and Water Deep

Tomatoes don't like sleeping with wet feet! Stop watering before bed and start watering early in the morning. Tomatoes need a lot of water during those hot summer days, so watering in the morning gives them the long drink they need to make it through the hot day. If you wait until evening to water, the soil could become too wet and not have a chance to dry throughout the night, leading to tomato root rot. And remember, if your tomatoes start showing signs of splitting skin, you aren't watering enough! Make sure you water the base of the plant and not the leaves. Water slowly and for a long time to ensure the roots get a good drink.

Give Them A Secure Structure

Tomato plants are famous for growing upward and outward. Then growing some more! The tomato cages you find in stores are usually not sturdy or big enough to provide the right support. It's best to build your own out of chicken wire or to build tomato teepees with bamboo or boards. Use yarn, old pantyhose, or strips of old towels to tie the vines to the structure to keep your plants from drooping or falling over. Tomatoes can grow very large and will weigh down the vines, so providing your plants with solid cages is the best thing you can do for them.

Give Them Room To Breathe

Tomatoes need their space. As mentioned before, tomato plants have a tendency to grow outward; make sure you plant them with at least a 4-foot distance between plants. If you plant them too closely together, they won't be able to grow to their full potential. As long as they're tightly secured in cages, the bigger they grow the better your crop will be. Give them room to grow and watch them flourish.

Last Updated: February 10, 2016