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Best Tomato Growing Tips and Secrets to Better Tomatoes!

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I’ve heard many people talk about how hard growing tomatoes is.

I haven’t experienced the frustrations as much as others, but I also have been lucky to have tomato growing tips, advice, and the wisdom from my Grandparents, Parents, Aunts, and Uncles passed down to me.

One of my Aunts grows several hundred (maybe over a 1000 now, it seems like her customer list is always growing) tomato plants each year to sell. To say they know what they are doing is an understatement.

I thought others could benefit from this knowledge as well.

Tomato Growing Tips

Bright, ripe tomatoes growing on vine

Some of these tips are to increase the flavor of ripe tomatoes, a few are to help decrease plant disease relating to the plant and tomatoes, and there are some tips and advice to help your seedlings get off to a strong start.

Only Keep the Strongest Seedlings

My Uncle made sure I knew that it all starts with the plants you add to your garden. You want these plants to all be strong and healthy.

If you started your tomatoes from seed, make sure to only plant the strongest seedlings into the garden. If you are purchasing tomato seedlings to start, then make sure to buy healthy and strong plants.

Make Sure Seedlings Have SPace

If you are someone who likes to grow their tomatoes from seed, make sure your seedlings all have plenty of space for growing and for the tiny leaves to branch out.

Making sure each seedling has enough room will help prevent diseases and allow the seedlings to grow nice and strong.

Lots of Light

tomato seedlings under grow lights

Your tomato plants need lots of sunlight. Strong and direct sunlight will help your tomato seedlings grow big, strong, and fast.

It’s a good idea to use a growing light if you don’t have a good spot in your house that receives at least eight to ten hours of sun each day.

You can use the grow light while you are growing out your seedlings. Leave it on for 12 to 16 hours each day.

You can use a cheap timer to make sure your lights turn on and off at a consistent time each day.

Circulate Air

Use a fan to help your tomato seedlings develop stronger stems. The breeze a fan uses will mimic the wind your plants would experience if they were growing outside.

Make sure your fan is turned on low, you want your plants to experience a gentle breeze.

You only need to use a fan for a few minutes a couple times per day.

Compost

This is a secret my Uncle shared with me. When you plant your tomato plant, dig a large hole. In this hole, add in about half a bag of steer compost, then plant your tomato plant.

I’ve also heard to plant fish or fish heads under the tomato plants.

Plant Your Tomatoes Deep

Planting tomatoes in the garden

Something that you might not know if you are new to growing tomatoes, but is a great tip for growing tomatoes is to plant your tomato plants deep.

And when I say deep, I mean to plant the tomato plant all the ways to the set of top leaves.

Your tomato plants will grow roots on all the stems that are underground. This helps create a nice and strong root system for your tomato plants.

Get Rid Of The Bottom Leaves

A few weeks after planting your tomato plant, when it is around 3-ish feet tall snip off the lower leaves of the plant. The reasoning is the lower leaves don’t get as much airflow, which can cause fungus and tomato diseases. So, to help prevent this, you remove the bottom leaves.

Pinch the Top Off

Once your tomato plant is about 1″ taller than the tomato cage it’s in, pinch off the top the plant. This will help the tomato plant put more of its energy into production.

Companion Planting

tomato companion planting with marigolds

Make sure to add some tomato companion plants around your tomato plants.

Companion planting can do many different things and there are quite a few different plants to choose from.

Basil and bee balm are both great ones to plant near tomatoes as it enhances the flavor and growth.

Stress Your Tomato Plant

At the end of the growing season (September in the Pacific NW area), you can stress the plant into making more fruit.

To do this, use a shovel to cut through the roots. You want to be about a foot to foot and a half away from the main tomato stem.

Do you have any tomato growing tips to add? Please, let me know in the comment below.

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