My Tested-and-True Tomato Growing Tips for Huge Harvests

If you’re planning to grow a summer garden, you’re most likely going to grow tomatoes in it.

These plump, juicy fruits are the pinnacle of every vegetable gardener’s summer harvest, but it’s not always easy to get the ultimate tomato of our dreams: firm yet ripe, sweet yet tangy, a blemish-free fruit that’s perfectly moist and warm from the sun.

This is what I do each year before I start planning my tomato crop, and I’ve listed the steps in order of what you should do, too. These simple tips are sure to boost your yields and help save time and money in the garden.

Decide if you want determinate or indeterminate tomatoes.

Determinate tomato plants grow to a predetermined size, usually 3 to 4 feet tall, and produce their fruits all at once.

Indeterminate tomatoes, on the other hand, can grow 8 to 10 feet tall (or more!) in a home garden and require caging, staking, or trellising to handle their heavy, fruit-laden vines.

Start your seeds early.

It’s best to start your tomato seeds indoors about four to six weeks before your last expected frost date, repot the seedlings to increase the root mass, and give them time to harden off properly to ensure strong, healthy plants.

Repot your tomatoes twice for stronger stems and larger root mass.

The plants have tiny, fuzzy bumps on their stems (called adventitious roots, root initials, or tomato stem primordia) that are essentially the beginnings of new root nodes.

Choose a location with enough sun.

Sunlight is free, and it’s one of the most important aspects of growing tomatoes. For a good harvest, allow at least 8 hours of full to filtered sunlight per day for your plants.

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