Friday, April 30, 2010

Rookie Tips for Growing Tomatoes

This Rookie Gardener has been experimenting with tomatoes for about a year now. I grow every one of my tomato plants from seed (mainly from store-bought tomatoes that I use for cooking). If I eat an interesting tomato, I try to harvest its seeds and grow it. When I first started, I really didn't know what I was doing, but over the last year, I've acquired some tips along the way, and am starting to see the "fruits" of my labor. These pics are from my tomato plants as they are today... as you can see the fruits are just arriving!

I can't say that I'm anywhere near experienced in growing tomatoes, but I think the following are basic tips in successful Rookie tomato plant growing.

1) If you start your tomatoes from seeds, wait until the seedlings are at least 3 inches in height before transplanting them. If you plan to grow your tomatoes in a container, and you see roots peeking out the bottom of the pot, move the plant to a bigger pot to encourage growth!

1-a) To answer TMCPhoto's question: How to harvest seeds... I've done it two Rookie ways: 1) Just take the seeds straight from the tomato and throw it right into the dirt. 2) Put the seeds in a glass of water. Stir twice a day for 2-3 days. By the third day, the seeds will have settled to the bottom of the glass. Sift them out on a paper towel and they are ready for planting! The second method gives you more control over where you plant the seeds, but either way works well, especially with fresh seeds.

2) Pinch off any leaves growing below the lowest flowers on your plant.

3) When you plant starts growing rapidly, use a tomato cage to guide its growth, so it doesn't get unruly.

4) Tomato plants LOVE coffee grounds! Sprinkle some in your soil.

5) Make sure your tomato plant gets LOTS OF SUN, and I mean LOTS!

6) Occasionally give the top leaves of the plant a light shake so that the pollen from the upper flowers make contact with the flowers below. Tomatoes self-pollinate with their flowers.

7) This is one I need to work on: Patience! Plant it, and the tomatoes will come!

If you've got some tips of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments section! I'd love to hear them!! And if you're a total rookie too, I hope these tips were helpful!


TMCPhoto said...

this is so helpful, we are starting our first garden this year, I am so looking forward to seeing the first blossoms on our tomato plants, teh hint about pinching off the leaves below the lowest flowers is one I'll be sure to make use of, that and the coffee. How do you harvest the seeds BTW, do you just collect them from the slice and wash them off or do you keep the juices that cling to the seeds?

Fuzzington said...

TMC - I've added the tip for seeds to the list!!

TheTinyGarden said...

Cool, I am going to grow a grape tomato plant this year...all for myself since the kid and hubby don't like them.

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