How to Grow Tomatoes

Indeterminate Tomatoes

These tomatoes are ones that bear their fruit over a long period of time and tend to be more of a vining type. They will need to be trellised or staked which will help reduce disease and insect damage.

Determinate Tomatoes

These tomatoes are ones that bear their fruit over a shorter, set period of time and tend to be more of a bush type plant. They will not need to be trellised.

Planting Tomatoes

Tomatoes are warm season annuals. They like hot, summer days. Start seed indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Lightly cover the seed (¼”). The best soil temperature for germination is 75-85°. Set plants out in the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Space plants 24-36″ apart and rows 36-48″ apart. Make sure plants will have plenty of air circulation to discourage disease. Keep plants well watered. Water directly to the roots and avoid water on the leaves if possible. Conditions, such as blight, are more susceptible in wet, humid conditions. Fertilize on a regular basis. Allow 7-14 days for germination.

Harvesting Tomatoes

Harvest tomatoes when they are fully ripe for best flavor. You can however, harvest tomatoes while they are still green or just turning color and set them in a warm window sill to ripen. Store tomatoes in cool, dry conditions. They will keep longer in the refrigerator, but tend to lose their flavor.

Saving Tomato Seeds

Seeds are mature when the fruit is ripe. Squeeze the seeds into a bowl and add water. Let this set in a warm place for about 3-4 days to ferment. Stir it daily. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Rinse the seeds off and allow to dry on paper plates. Seed should keep for 3-10 years if kept cool and dry.

Common Problems

  • Early Blight
    The best way to treat blight is to prevent it. Methods to remember include mulching around the plant to prevent water splashing up on the plants water from below, not watering in the evening, not working around the plants when wet, keeping weeds down, avoiding contact of leaves to the ground, removing and destroying infested leaves, using a baking soda spray, a diluted milk spray, or cornmeal tea spray. We do not recommend planting tomatoes in the same location where there was blight the year before.

Suggested Companions

  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Chives
  • Radishes
  • Parsley
  • Marigold
  • Nasturtiums
  • Garlic
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Roses
  • Lettuce
  • Asparagus
  • Basil
  • Borage
  • Celery

Poor Companions

  • Potatoes
  • Fennel
  • Corn


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