Growing Tomatoes

Growing tomatoes really is pretty easy when you have the right stuff. Good soil, plenty of water and a little fertilizer and you can be growing tomatoes in no time. Tomatoes are the most grown fruit/vegetable in this country so there can’t be too much to growing them. Tomatoes come in two types, determinate and indeterminate. Determinate tomatoes grow to a determinate height and then stop, also called “bush tomatoes.”

Indeterminate tomatoes have more vines and they usually need to be staked to support their weight. If you want to grow tomatoes in a pot, then the bushy type tomato plants are best and if you have some extra yard space outside, then indeterminate plants may be best. You can find young tomato plants at any garden center and this is recommended rather than buying seeds and growing them from “scratch” so to speak and most modern types of tomato plants have a better resistance to diseases.

When choosing your plants, make sure there are no yellowing leaves or brown spots on the leaves. If you know even a tiny bit about plants, you can usually tell the difference between a healthy looking plant and one with wilting leaves and yellow or brown speckles all over the leaves. When looking for good tomato plants, check the tags for letters that will tell you the plants resistance to disease, they are:

• L-Septoria leaf spot
• F-Fusarium wilt
• FF-Race (1) & Race (2) Fusarium
• A-Alternaria leaf spot
• N-Nematodes
• V-Verticilium wilt
• T-Tobacco mosaic virus

When you read the tag on the tomato plant you’re looking at and it has initials like FFLT, this will tell you this plant is resistant to common strains of fusarium wilt, septoria leaf spot and tobacco mosaic virus.

This is another good reason to buy baby plants instead of growing tomatoes from seeds; already started plants are usually healthier and will produce a good batch of tomatoes without you worrying about diseases and bugs attacking your plants. Unless you have lots of time to spend and you plan on growing about 100 tomato plants at once, then growing tomatoes from seeds is not recommended.

There are quite a few brands of tomatoes to choose from and the most popular are “Big Boy, Better Boy and Celebrity.” If you live in a hot state like Arizona, Florida or Texas there’s a breed of tomato called “Heatwave” that does well in those climates. Check with your local garden center where you live and they can help you choose the right tomato plants if you’re not sure what to get.

Depending on what you plan on using your tomatoes for will also help you choose what kind to grow. If you just want tomatoes for everyday eating, then your best choice may be the very popular Beefsteak or Big Boy tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes and Grape tomatoes are good choices too and if you have little ones, this is a favorite for them.

If you are interested in making things like sauces and paste, Plum or Roma tomatoes are a good choice to use in these recipes because they have very thick and juicy meat with small seeds. Whatever you choose, growing your own tomatoes will be a very rewarding experience for you and if you have children, this is an excellent project for you to do together. Growing tomatoes will also save money and you know how fresh they are since you grew them yourself.

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