Our front yard in Minnesota received the most sun, so it only made sense to create my garden there. I would head out in the spring mornings and work towards ripping the lawn up. My neighbors were horrified. But why would I choose the shady, damp far off reaches of my backyard? I did not even have to make any amendments to the dark, black soil underneath, I just began throwing all the seedlings in—tomatoes, of course, and as many as I could fit. By mid-summer the crop came bursting in, and it was obvious I had been a little overzealous with my plantings for a family of three! We harvested the fruit as quickly as they came in and shared our bounty with neighbors and friends. My two-year-old obviously thought we had an overabundance as I discovered him eating them quickly off the vine and throwing them just as quickly at his friend across the fence!
Once you start growing your own tomatoes, store bought tomatoes will be ruined forever for you. The two are so drastically different, you will wonder if they are even the same fruit! Tomatoes allowed to ripen on the vine (versus those bred to survive a country transport) are delightfully both sweet and savory, and full of nutrient goodness. Although it took very little thought to grow tomatoes in Minnesota, our Texas garden required a little more preparation, so I will share what I learned. Growing your own tomatoes will be so worth the effort!
Tomato Growing Recommendations:
Sun! Plant in an area that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight. (Morning sun preferably.)
Plant in the richest soil possible. In Texas my raised garden bed was half soil and half non-manure based compost.
Plant a variety of tomatoes. Choose varieties that are fairly quick to mature. If your growing season is short, make sure the time of harvest occurs before the first frost. I would also grow a couple varieties so the maturing time was spread over the growing season.
Planting and growing temperatures are critical. Plants are harmed by temperatures below 45℉ and will quit growing at temperatures above 90℉.
Watering is important. Keep the soil moist throughout the growing season and try to avoid wetting the leaves to prevent disease.
Your tomatoes need nutrients. I like to feed my plants with a seaweed spray to promote health and growth.
Once you start growing your own tomatoes it will become obvious why it is the most popular crop grown by the home gardener. Nothing can compare to the delicious eruption of flavors. Cheers to the end of the store bought tomatoes. Happy planting! xo