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Growing Tomatoes At Home
For Fresh And Canning

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Growing Tomatoes The Vegetable Most Grown In The Home Garden

Growing Tomatoes

Tomatoes are usually categorized as early, mid-season or late and like potatoes this refers to the length of time it takes from planting to first harvest. When deciding which tomato to grow the end use must be a factor in your choice.

Tomato Varieties

Tomato varieties are roughly divided into several categories, based mostly on shape and size.

  • Beefsteaks
  • Globe
  • Plum
  • Pear
  • Campari
  • Cherry
  • Grape


Tomato Types

They are then categorized into two types, Determinate and Indeterminate:

Determinate

Commonly called bush tomatoes, they are often the best choices for growing tomatoes in container. Tomato plants of this type will top off, or stop growing, at a specific height.

Photo of picked mature brussel sprouts

Roll-over image to enlarge

Determinate tomatoes will bear a full crop of tomatoes all at once and for this reason often chosen by home growers interested in canning or preserving.

Photo of picked mature brussel sprouts

Roll-over image to enlarge

While many bush varieties don't require support there are advantages in doing so.

Support options available are many and varied. This tomato is growing inside a circle of wire mesh.

Photo of picked mature brussel sprouts

Roll-over image to enlarge

Doesn't have to be fancy. Some tree branches are hammered into the ground with shorter one  used as cross members and tied to them to support this plant.

Indeterminate

The varieties of this type develop into vines that never top off and will continue to grow until killed by frost, insect pests, disease, or lack of water and fertilizer. They are what is referred to as a tender perennial and although usually started from seed every year can continue producing under the right conditions for up to three years.

Photo of picked mature brussel sprouts

Roll-over image to enlarge

Indeterminate tomato types grow, flower, and set fruit over the entire growing season and for this reason are the first choice of home gardeners wanting tomatoes for daily consumption.

Photo of picked mature brussel sprouts

Roll-over image to enlarge

When growing Indeterminate tomatoes best results are achieved by providing some means of support.

Photo of picked mature brussel sprouts

Roll-over image to enlarge

Indeterminate varieties require a little more care than Determinate tomatoes.

Pruning is an important part of growing this long season producer.

Photo of picked mature brussel sprouts

Roll-over image to enlarge

To get the best production from all types of tomatoes. Plant seedling transplants rather than direct sowing seed in the garden.




Quick Reference Guide


Veggie Garden Dairy
Vegetable Tomato
Also Known As
Botanical Family - Solanaceae, Genus - Solanum, Species - S. lycopersicum
Plant Type Warm season - tender perennial - fruiting vegetable
Frost Tolerance Tender
Planting Position Grow in full sun - Requires at least 8-10 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Seed Viability 4 years
Germination 5-14 days at 60-90 F (16-32 C)
Growing Temp 70-95 F (21-35 C)
Seed to Transplant 5 - 7 weeks
Planting Method Seedling transplants
When to Plant Spring
Time to Plant Wait until at least 1-2 weeks after the last average 32 F (0 C) freeze in your area but not before soil temperature are consistently 60 F (16 C) or above.
Seed Sowing Sow seeds indoors only
Plant Spacing Determinates 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart in rows 2-3 feet (60-90 cm) apart. Staked indeterminates 18-24 inches (45-60 cm) apart in rows 3-4 feet (90-120 cm) apart. Trellised indeterminates 24-36 inches (60-90 cm) apart in rows 4-6 feet (120-150 cm) apart.
Soil Conditions Well drained - High organic matter - Rich fertility
Fertilizer High fertilizer needs, 5-6 quarts per 100 sq feet (5.5-6.6 liters per 9.3 square meters) preplanting of All-Purpose 5-5-5 Organic Fertilizer icon, same rate for each side dressing.
When to Fertilize 2 weeks before planting - use liquid starter fertilizer at time of transplanting - side-dress when the first fruit are set - repeat every 2-3 weeks until the last fruit set.
Days to Harvest 60-100 days - depending on conditions and variety.
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