Harvesting Organic Fresh Tomatoes From Garden

Tomatoes: the quintessential summer garden veggie!When it comes to tomatoes, this is exceedingly true! Few things beat the flavor or satisfaction of eating a fresh, vine-ripened, juicy homegrown tomato! The good news is, growing tomatoes is pretty easy to do – even in containers! Yet there are always a lot of questions looming about how to grow tomatoes, especially for new gardeners. This article will answer all your questions!

Planting

Planting Tomatoes

Tomatoes require a long warm growing season. Therefore, when it comes time to plant tomatoes outside, it is best to plant established seedlings in your garden rather than sowing seeds directly outdoors. This gives them a great head start, and means you’ll be harvesting fresh tomatoes sooner! You can plant tomato seedlings that you raised indoors from seed, or pick up some seedlings from a local nursery.
To grow tomatoes from seed, follow the usual best practices for starting seeds inside. Plant the seeds in clean containers full of seed-starting soil mix, provide ample light, consistent moisture, and watch your seeds sprout and grow!

Temperature

For the most part, tomatoes are a heat-loving crop, grown during the summer months in most all locations. The ideal time to plant tomatoes outside is when the daytime soil temperatures are in the 60s and the overnight soil temperature is no colder than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Location

Full sun is usually the best option

When choosing a location to grow tomatoes, full sun is usually the best option.You may want to plant your tomatoes in a spot with good morning to midday sun, but afternoon shade if possible.

Soil

Tomatoes are not too finicky about soil type, though they will appreciate deep soil with plenty of room for their roots! Tomatoes grow best in neutral (pH) loam or sandy loam, and don’t love clay soil.

Caring

Watering

Tomatoes grow best when they’re provided deep and regular water. Here in the temperate fog, we can get away with watering tomatoes only twice per week. Other places may need significantly more. Aim to keep the soil consistently moist, but never soggy.

Fertilizing

Farmers take care of tomato plants

The all-purpose organic fertilizer is great. Whatever you choose to use, read and follow the instructions on the package! Remember to avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers.

Prunning

You can choose to either heavily prune, minimally prune, or not prune your tomatoes at all. The decision to prune or not is a personal one, depending on how much effort you care to invest, the type of tomato grown, and how you plan to support it.

Marketing

Farmers harvesting tomatoes

When the end of the growing season is drawing near, you can stop watering the plant all together. The cessation of water triggers tomato plants to redirect their energy into quickly ripening the remaining tomatoes, rather than growing more. This is a great trick to use if frost is in the forecast, or if you simply want the plant to hurry up and finish!
Ideally, harvest tomatoes once they’re slightly soft to the touch (but still firm, not squishy). When removing ripe fruit from the plant, try to lightly break off the short stem that is attached to the top of the tomato along with it. If it doesn’t come easily, use pruning snips to cut it.

Preserving

The best way to preserve tomatoes depends on how you are planning on using your tomatoes. If you’re looking for a quick way to put up a windfall, freezing tomatoes is probably your best option.

Preserve tomatoes depends on how you are planning on using your tomatoes

If you’re looking for the most versatile way to preserve tomatoes, either canning tomato sauce or canning whole tomatoes is probably the direction you want to go. Both of those canned goods can be used in a ton of different dishes!
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