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Here's what you need to know about planting tomatoes

2 March 2018
Planting tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of the most resourceful vegetable one can grow. Before you start pondering over the eternal question about whether tomatoes are a fruit or a vegetable, let us tell you something extremely simple: we basically harvest the fruit of the tomato plant, and they use it as a vegetable in cooking so they are considered a vegetable. They can be used a lot of different ways in food and they are fairly easy to grow as well. Although pretty much anyone can grow tomatoes, the tricky part is to provide them with sufficient care given their vulnerability to pests and diseases.

 

Sowing tomatoes

If you want the best yield, you better sow those tomatoes early. If you don’t have an area of the garden specifically allocated for the monoculture of tomato plants, you can grow them just as well in pots too. Just fill the pot with some seed compost, making sure there are no lumps. Tap down the pot to even out the soil surface then water it and let it drain out. Use three seeds per pot and sow them so there is adequate distance between each seed. This way, the growth of each plant does not physically interfere with the growth of the other since there is ample space in between them. Cover the seeds with a layer of fine compost and water the pot. Cover the pot with a plastic bag and place it in a warm sunny sport. You can take off the plastic bag when seedlings sprout.

 

Caring for your tomato plants

You have sown the seeds, and the crucial care period has begun. Make sure you generously water the pot the first few days after sowing the seeds. In the summer, water the tomato plants about 2 inches per week. This is the growing season for them and they need consistent watering to make the most out of it. If you need to protect your young tomato plants from drought, a simple way to do that is to place some flat rocks next to each tomato plant. The rocks will pull up water from the moist soil deep down and prevent it from evaporating. Additionally, water the tomato plants two weeks before its harvesting time. After harvesting the big plump and juicy tomatoes, fertilize the plant again two weeks after the first picking. Prune the tomato plants in a way that there are only two stems growing at every stake.

 

Tomato plant disease protection

Tomato plants are vulnerable to many different pests and insects. Tomato hornworms and whiteflies are the number one enemy for a tomato gardener. Aside from these insects, you have also got to look out for aphids, flea beetles, blossom end rot, late blight, mosaic virus and crackling. Late blight is caused by a fungus that produces grey mold spots on the tomato plant leaves and causes the tomatoes to turn brown. Prune away infected parts of the plant right away to prevent the fungal disease from advancing further. If a mosaic virus infects one of your tomato plant, it will cause distorted leave and narrow or twisting young growth. If you see these signs in one of your tomato plants, destroy the plant before the infection spreads to other plants. Furthermore, regular and consistent watering can prevent the crackling of the tomato plant skin in dry weather.