Like many other home-gardeners, I love growing my own tomatoes! Did you know tomatoes are the number one vegetable grown in a home vegetable garden?
They’re just so simple to grow; even a novice gardener can have a successful crop with minimal work!
But there’s a distinct difference between great tomatoes and mediocre ones. As soon as you take that first bite, you’ll know if you’ve hit the mark. Here are my tasty tomato-growing secrets if you wish to see a garden packed with the juiciest tomatoes you’ll have ever grown!
My 5 Secrets to Growing the Tastiest Tomatoes
Healthy plants come with healthy soil – it’s as simple as that. Generally, you would incorporate compost in the top 2 inches of the soil and be done with it. This won’t work for tomatoes; they are deep-rooted plants and heavy feeders.
To grow the best tomatoes, amend the top 7 to 8 inches of soil with nutrient-rich compost. I like using Nature’s Care Organic & Natural Soil.
Consider Raised Beds or Planters
If your garden soil isn’t well-drained, consider a raised bed or planter for your growing tomatoes. There won’t be any risks of standing water with a raised bed that could cause diseases in the tomato plants. You’ll also be able to use a good quality potting mix in the bed for even better yields.
Since I only planted 3 tomato plants this season, we have ours in giant planters on our front porch. But, I really like some of the raised garden beds available online. I really like this tiered wooden garden bed. I was able only to purchase one tomato cage this season to support vertical growth.
Tomatoes love a good deep morning watering, especially during hot spells and hot summer days! Consistent watering will build a stronger root system to better access the nutrients in the soil. Garden tomatoes typically require 1-2 inches of water a week.
Water the plants as soon as the top 2 inches of soil dry out. If you let your soul stay dry for too long, it can cause the tomatoes to crack, dry out, and/or burn off.
I keep a milk jug near our front door so that I remember to fill it up and water our tomato plants every day. It is best to water early in the morning. We have our tomatoes planted on our front porch to get amazing sunlight, are easy to get to (for pruning, picking, and watering), and so that they won’t be bothered by the dogs.
Feed them Coffee!
You all know I am a huge coffee drinker – and so are my houseplants! 😉 Whelp! So are my tomato plants!
You can use diluted leftover drip coffee or your leftover coffee grounds. Both diluted coffee and coffee grounds are a strong source of nitrogen, which helps plants develop a healthy root system and aids in chlorophyll production.
Coffee grounds are very high in nitrogen and are a natural fertilizer and pest deterrent! You can simply water your plants with room temperature diluted drip coffee, or you can scatter your used coffee grounds in the soil around the base of your tomato plant.
Maintain Good Soil pH
If you’re a gardener, it’s high time you learned about the soil pH. To grow the best tomatoes, you need a pH value between 6 and 6.5. Anything that’s outside this range will diminish the plant’s ability to absorb the soil’s nutrients. It is super helpful to have a soil testing kit at home to check the pH level.
This is the one I use for my houseplants and my tomatoes. It is inexpensive and easy to use.
How do I get rid of aphids on my tomato plants?
Ah, aphids, the tiny troublemakers of the tomato world. Dealing with these pesky critters can be a challenge, but fear not! I’ve got some tips to help you bid farewell to those aphids and restore your tomato plants to their healthy glory.
- Gentle hose-down: Start by giving your tomato plants a gentle shower with a strong stream of water. Aphids dislike being blasted by water, so this can help dislodge them from the plants. Be sure to target the undersides of leaves, where they tend to congregate.
- Introduce natural predators: Nature has its own pest control army! Ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps are all beneficial insects that feed on aphids. Consider purchasing or attracting these helpful allies to your garden. You can find them at local nurseries or even order them online.
- Homemade remedies: Create your own organic spray by mixing a solution of water and a few drops of dish or insecticidal soap. Spray this solution directly on the affected areas of your tomato plants. The soap helps suffocate and control aphids. Remember to test the spray on a small area first to ensure it doesn’t harm your plants.
- Neem Moil: Neem oil is a natural insecticide derived from the neem tree. Dilute it according to the instructions on the package and apply it to your tomato plants. Neem oil disrupts aphids’ feeding and reproductive patterns, ultimately reducing their population.
- Pruning affected areas: If the infestation is limited to certain parts of your tomato plants, consider pruning and removing heavily infested leaves or stems. This can help control the aphid population and prevent them from spreading further.
- Companion planting: Consider growing aphid-repellent plants near your tomatoes. Herbs like basil, mint, cilantro, dill, and flowers like marigolds and nasturtiums can deter aphids with their natural scents.
Remember, prevention is key! Regularly inspect your tomato plants for signs of aphids or other pests. Healthy plants are less susceptible to infestations, so provide proper care with adequate watering, appropriate fertilization, and good airflow.
By following these tips and staying vigilant your tomatoes will thrive, and you’ll enjoy a bountiful harvest soon! Happy gardening!