How To Grow Tomatoes At Home
Tomato is that one ingredient we use a lot in our day to day cooking. Having a supply of homegrown organic tomatoes can make all the difference to your meals and nothing compares to the juicy taste of a red, ripe tomato straight out of the garden. Tomatoes are one of the most widely grown in home gardens. As they are pretty easy to be grown from seeds and doesn’t require a lot of expertise.
While most vegetables can be grown in this way, let’s follow a step by step guide on to grow tomatoes at home –
- Plant young seedlings: Scoop out some seeds from a tomato (if you are not sure that the seeds are good quality, it’s better to buy them from a plant store). Take a seedling tray about ¼ inches deep or a few paper cups or coffee cups and fill the container half with Activated Cocopeat. Place 2-3 seeds in it and cover them with a loose layer of same medium.
- Find a sunny spot: For the seedlings place them in indirect sunlight for a couple of days and once you see true leaves shift it to a bigger container pot or planter. Tomato plants thrive in six to eight hours of daily sunshine. Containers can be moved throughout the growing season and are a great choice for home growers who have limited garden space.
- Consider climate and size: The ideal place required for germination of tomatoes seeds would be at a warm place which receives indirect sunlight. The seedlings should appear in 10 to 14 days. Each cultivated variety (cultivar) offers a unique set of characteristics. All heirloom cultivars are open pollinated, meaning that year after year their seeds can be saved and will grow into identical plants.
- Water only as needed: Seeds require very little watering till germination. Use a spray bottle to mist the seedlings to keep the top of the soil moist. A simple way to tell if your plant needs water is to put your fingers or a stick into the soil. It should feel damp several inches below the surface. When you start to see sprouts, you can water less frequently. More plants are killed by too much water (that rots the roots) than too little water so water sparingly after the plants sprout.
- Fertilize the plant: Fertilize the plants with an organic NPK fertilizer like Complete Grow (for growth stage) and Complete Bloom (for flowering stage). Then, water the plants thoroughly. You will need to repeat the fertilizing process each month. For better harvest and good soil health add vermicompost or homemade compost (as per pot size and proportion) after every 15-20days.
Pest care: You should periodically check your plant to make sure they are healthy. Tomato plants have many common pest and many of these insects can be easily removed by hand (wear gloves) or with the use of Activated Neem Oil spray. Chemical insecticides aren’t generally recommended as we aim to grow organic tomatoes. Planting flowers with strong aromas, such as Marigolds, can also help fight off pests.
- Provide support: Tomatoes are happy to grow any which way, right-side up, upside down, left and right. So to harvests those tomatoes before they become one with the earth provide them with support structures such as cages and trellises allow you to maximize your harvest by keeping the plants and fruit off the ground.
- It’s time to harvest: After transplanting a seedling into a larger growing space-pinch off the first yellow flowers that it produces. By pruning away this early production, you will encourage the plant to grow taller and wider before it produces fruit, ultimately leading to a more bountiful harvest. Pick the fruits when they give slightly and eat them as soon as possible.
Enjoy the freshly vine-ripened tomatoes which are sweet, juicy flesh with unmistakable depth of flavor to any soups, sauce, salads, sandwiches, pasta,rasam or chutney. With these few tips for planting seedlings, you'll be on your way to start with a variety of vegetables to grow and enjoy a delightful harvest from your home organic kitchen garden.