Master Growing TOMATOES With This Mind-Blowing Guide

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Master Growing TOMATOES With This Mind-Blowing Guide

There is nothing more mouthwatering than walking into a greenhouse full of tomatoes during mid-summer. Everyone dreams about huge bunches of vine tomatoes just ripe for the picking A lot of folks really struggle getting huge tomato harvests, so in this video, I am going to give you a practical guide to take you through all the do’s and don’ts so you can get mind-blowing results too I’m Tony O’Neill and this is Simplify Gardening, where I show you how to garden in a simpler way. If you want that perfect garden to relax in, or just want to grow your own nutrient-dense food, then start now by clicking the subscribe button and the bell icon. Then click ALL to be notified each time I release new content just like this If you’re looking how to grow tomatoes like the professionals, stick with this video right to the end. I have spent a huge amount of time filling it with tips and advice right until the end. So, let’s get right to it The first thing we need to do is choose the types of tomatoes we wish to grow. In order to do this, we need to understand the tomatoes habit. There are many types of tomatoes such as Cherry Grape Roma Beefsteak Plum Heirloom Hybrid F1 Each of these types then fall into one of two categories. Determinate or indeterminate Let’s cover both of these terms so there is no confusion when it comes to your tomato plants Determinate tomatoes are tomatoes that are compact or known as bush varieties. Typically getting to around 3 or 4 feet in height. They stop growing as soon as the fruit on the top bud is set They require very little in way of support and because of this are ideal for container gardening. The fruit on determinate tomatoes usually all ripens at the same time usually within a week or so Indeterminate tomatoes grow very tall. Up to 8 feet high and some varieties can reach a greater height, as much as 12 feet. Indeterminates will continue to grow and produce fruit for the whole season until the plants are killed off by the first frosts Indeterminate tomatoes will continuously bloom, set new fruit and ripen this fruit at the same time. Due to the sheer size and weight of these plants, they require sturdy support structures such as tomato cages, or stakes We now know which types of tomatoes will do best for the area we have chosen to grow in There is a huge variety of tomatoes available and each of them has their own characteristics Once we have purchased our desire seeds, we can get on with sowing them Sowing When sowing your tomato seeds, you need to consider when your last frost date is. Aim for sowing your seed around 6 to 8 weeks before this last frost date. This will give your seed time to germinate and grow strong sturdy seedlings If you are growing in a greenhouse or polytunnel you can sow even earlier as the seedlings can be protected from frosts. To sow your tomato seed, fill a small pot or tray with a good potting soil or multi-purpose compost and water this and allow to sit for a minute to drain Place your seed onto the surface of this soil and then cover with a fine layer of compost or vermiculite press this down with a flat board or another pot to ensure the seed has made contact with the soil and mist with water Place into a south-facing window, greenhouse shelf or even better provide bottom heat with a propagator such as the Vitopod I am using here It is important at this stage to ensure adequate lighting. You may notice your seedlings will get very tall and spindly, this is known as leggy seedlings and it is not very good for your plants as they grow too quick searching for enough light and get thin and tall Ideally, we could provide adequate lighting by way of artificial light T5 fluorescents or even the more economical LED lighting units available today such as this one from spider farmer which I recently reviewed That reminds me. Before I continue, check out the show notes below for all the links to videos and products I mention in this video As I have already stated the last thing, we want is leggy seedlings, but with tomatoes, we can get a bit of grace when potting on

As we have sown before the first frost it is important to give your new seed starts more room to grow. This is where we need to pot on our seedlings. It is the perfect time to fix the issue of leggy seed starts too Tomatoes have the brilliant capability of producing roots right up the entire length of the stem. Each of the hairs you will see could potentially become a new root. By planting the leggy seedlings right up to their cotyledon leaves also known as seed leaves The tomato seedlings will produce a stronger root system, and this gives you a chance to grow a sturdier plant. However, you must get the lighting right after this time Planting out Whether you are growing outdoors or indoors you need to prepare the soil for your new plants. Tomatoes require a loose free-draining soil. If you have heavy clay or very sandy soils amend these with plenty of organic matter such as aged compost Tomatoes prefer the PH to be slightly acidic, Just below neutral on the PH scale. Aim for a PH between 6 and 7 Support structures Indeterminate tomatoes can become huge plants with very heavy crops. It is important that the support structures we build are capable of supporting the plants and their fruit There are many different ways to support tomatoes such as Bamboo canes, Strings, Cages, Fences, Trellis I am sure if you look around on the internet you will find many more. But all you need to consider is that this support needs to be installed at the time of planting so that the plant cant utilize it as it is required Tomatoes need full sun to grow and do best growing when temperatures are between 65 and 85˚F or 18 to 30˚C tomatoes will stop growing if the temperatures exceed 95˚F or 35˚C When sowing seed, they require a temperature of 70 to 80˚F or 21 to 27˚C to germinate Try to prevent this dropping below 50˚F or 10˚C or this could greatly affect the plants Mulching Tomatoes use huge amounts of water. It is imperative that we do everything we can to ensure the root zone does not dry out. I am a firm believer in mulching tomatoes to keep the root zone moist This will also help in combating blight but more on that later. There are many things you can use as a mulch for tomatoes. Such as Woodchips, Compost, Leaf mould, Straw, Hay (providing there is no seed) I really like using Rape straw, this is sold as bedding for horses. It’s great as it is broken into small strands so really helps to stop moisture loss. Another added benefit is that the much stops weeds forming. Making your life as a gardener much easier and the tomatoes do not have to compete for resources I hope you’re getting value from this video so far. If so, why not hit that subscribe button now so you don’t miss future videos Right back to the content Determinate tomatoes don’t really require pruning, these are grown like a bush and allowed to grow freely. The only time you need to consider pruning them is to keep their shape or to prevent them from sprawling into a walkway Indeterminate tomatoes, however, will require pruning. Removing the suckers will allow you to grow the plant as a cordon. The suckers are new stems that grow between the leaf axel and the main stem. This uses energy the plant could be putting into a crop If allowed to continue to grow these would produce their own tomatoes eventually but

the likelihood in most areas for a long enough season to ripen the fruit is low Once your tomato plants have reached the desired height then you can prune the top off. This is usually done after the 6th or 7th truss of fruit has set. It allows the plant to put the rest of its energy into swelling the fruit and later ripening it As discussed earlier temperatures play a huge role with tomatoes. If the temps are too hot as discussed then the tomatoes will not bloom the flowers required for fruiting, or they will even drop the flowers that did bloom before they are pollinated Pollination is usually done by insects such as bees or hoverflies, but the gardener can help this if there insufficient insects about due to poor weather Pollination by hand is not only easy to do, but it is very effective. There are multiple ways to do this. By far the easiest method is to use a vibrating toothbrush, place this behind the flower and this will cause the flower to release its pollen Another method is to use a cue tip or cotton bud, or kids paintbrush and collect the pollen by swabbing the flowers. Then placing this over the stigma of the flowers. Find out which method works best for you and stick with that Pollen will be available between early morning and early afternoon, with mid-day being the best time to pollinate your tomato flowers Hand pollination is usually practised every two to three days to ensure pollination occurs Upon successful pollination, the flowers will wilt and begin fruiting Tomatoes require huge amounts of water in order to sustain and grow huge trusses of fruit. We have covered mulch to ensure we don’t wastewater When preparing the soil if we incorporate large amounts of organic matter such as compost or farmyard manure this will act like a sponge holding water around the root zone Water in the morning as this will allow the plants to dry off and protect from disease Ensure that enough is given to keep the soil moist all day. Typically, tomatoes require between 1 and 1.5 inches of water per week For me, I find it easier to use the top two inches of soil as a guide. Stick your finger in and see if this is moist. If not water again. If it is then watering is not required Drip irrigation could be used for watering, this can be run under the much and this is an easier way to ensure adequate water is supplied to your plants Tomatoes are big plants and require good nutrition for them to do well. There are many propriety brands of tomato food on the market. I like to use my own comfrey tea which I make here A link will be in the show notes. Or liquid seaweed would also make a great feed for tomatoes When feeding avoid high nitrogen, this will give you foliage of fruit production ad is the number one reason for new growers not getting great harvests. Chicken manure pellets are great to use when you are growing the foliage stage of the plants However, as soon as the first flowers start to show this should be switch to high phosphorus and potassium feed an NPK of 6-24-24 would be perfect for tomato plants at their fruiting

stage. Feed weekly during the production stage of the plants right up until the frost kills the plants off Blood, fish and Bone meal can be added to the soil when preparing the growing areas as a balanced fertilizer. This is slow release and organic Once you have topped the plants after the 6th or 7th truss, you should remove all the leaves off the plant right up to the bottom truss of fruit. This allows air movement and light to get in around the fruit to help the ripening of the fruit on the vines It can also help prevent pathogens being splashed from the soil onto the plants as the leaves are much higher up the stem When harvesting determinate tomatoes, you simply remove them all pretty much at once as they all mature and ripen the same time With indeterminate tomatoes, you should harvest as each tomato ripens You can tell when a tomato is ready for picking when the skin has turned to its full colour, whether that’s red, orange, black, purple or yellow. They should be slightly firm to the touch. If they are too hard, they will require more time to ripen If you wish to save your own seed then leave the selected fruit on the plant as long as possible until it turns soft, this will ensure it is fully ripe, take this and scrape the seed into a glass jar of water and allow it to sit there for a few days This will break down the pulp and you can then wash the seed and dry it by placing it on some paper. I have a detailed video showing this process in the show notes It is possible to change the taste of your tomatoes by treating with baking soda this reduces the acidity of the tomatoes making them much sweeter After harvesting your crop of tomatoes, I get asked all the time can you compost the plants? You may have heard that tomatoes are dirty crops. This is because they usually get blight and they are worried that by composting these you will place the blight spores into the soil, and it will be worse the following year Some practices are myths, and this is one of them. Blight will not survive most composting processes providing the compost is completely broken down. The reason is that blight spores require living tissue to survive, therefore they don’t live through a full compost process I have composted all my tomato plants for the past 12 years and have never had blight because of this. But talking about bight lets cover some of the pests and diseases that can affect your tomatoes Before I cover the diseases and pests, I would just like to mention I have a very detailed blog post with a lot more information than I have covered in this video. I will place a link to the blog post in the show notes if this is of interest to you Here I am just going to mention some of the things to watch for when growing your tomatoes Aphids, Cutworms, Flea Beetle, Hornworms, Whiteflies I have a video on how to deal with a lot of pests and diseases so check that out after this video. The next big issue with tomatoes is blight. Blight is usually caused by poor ventilation. As you can see, I have windows the entire length of my tunnel to allow good airflow Airflow is important so when planting your tomatoes keep them at least 2.5ft apart and when pruning removes unwanted leaves or trim the length of leaves back by half. The mulch

you used will stop water from splashing up onto the plants. Water in the morning to allow plants time to dry Consider when watering that you do not get the leaves wet. A weekly spray of bicarbonate of soda could be used as a preventative against blight. But do this in time for it to completely dry before the sun goes down I hope you have enjoyed this video and it has answered your questions about growing tomatoes. I urge you to visit the show notes for all the links to the videos mentioned

If you got value from this video, you can subscribe here. And this video here is the next video you should watch for many more tips on growing tomatoes I’m Tony O’Neill. This is Simplify Gardening, where I show you how to garden in a similar way. Remember folks. You Reap What You Sow! I’ll see you in the next one. Bye, bye