Growing Award Winning Tomatoes
by Lee Wyatt
(last updated September 18, 2019)
Tomatoes are one of the most beloved of all garden vegetables, and for good reason. If the proper steps are taken, then it is amazingly easy to grow some tomatoes. That being said, you will need to take extra special care if you are interested in growing award winning tomatoes. Just use the methods listed below to make sure that you do it the right way.
- Appropriate location (nice and sunny)
- Digging implement (shovel or trowel is best)
- Rototiller (optional)
- Compost (or equivalent in fertilizer)
- Starting fertilizer
- Nitrogen rich fertilizer
- Young tomato plants (seedlings or juveniles are best)
- Stakes or trellis for proper support
- Spray paint (any color will do)
- Gardening twine
- Choose the best location. The first step in growing award winning tomatoes is to select the best possible location for them. Typically tomatoes will need full sunlight to grow to their best, and this means that they will need a minimum of five hours of sunlight a day. Furthermore, the soil will need to have good drainage.
- Mark out the garden. Once you have chosen the area that you want to use as your tomato garden, you need to actually mark out the area that you will be using. The best way to do this marking is with some spray paint. Keep in mind that tomato gardens will need quite a bit of space, particularly when the plants are fully mature. A good rule of thumb for planning is that a fully mature tomato plant will need between two and three feet of space between it and the next closest plant, so plan accordingly.
- Prepare the soil. Using a shovel or garden trowel (whichever one is appropriate for the size of garden you need) start loosening up the soil to a depth of about two feet. Make sure that you get the soil nice and loose so that you have an easier time of mixing in the compost (or fertilizer) and the starting fertilizer. While it is completely optional to use a rototiller, it will definitely make the whole process of mixing the soil together easier. Spread the fertilizers around on the loosened soil, and then use the rototiller or shovel to mix it all together.
- Transplant the plants. Transplant the young tomato plants into the prepared soil of your tomato garden. When first transplanting the tomatoes, you don't need to worry as much about separation space, though they should still be a minimum of 12 inches apart from each other. This will allow the plants plenty of space to grow, and allow you to do a minimum amount of work at the start.
- Provide water and care. Once you have transplanted the tomatoes, you will need to provide them with the proper care and maintenance that they will deserve. For example, as tomato plants grow they usually require some support to keep from drooping and causing damage to the young fruit. This is where things like stakes, trellises, and the garden twine can come into play. Simply tie the plant firmly, but loosely, to the stake or trellis and this support will be provided. In addition, as time goes by you will need to also side dress your tomato plants with nitrogen rich fertilizer to help them grow even more. Usually this will only be required every four to six weeks. Tomato plants typically require a decent amount of water so you will need to water them daily, usually with a seep hose to be the most effective. Make sure that you keep an eye out for any signs of trouble, and take the appropriate steps to rectify the problem.
- Harvest when ready. Keep providing the care and water that the plants need until they are ready to harvest. It can usually be fairly easy to tell when a tomato is mature enough to harvest, but there are some special things to keep an eye out for. Typically speaking, tomatoes will be nice and firm to the touch and should very easily snap off of the vines when you want them to come off.