Tomatoes - grow your own juicy fruits from seed
Tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables to grow in the garden, greenhouse or on the balcony. They are easy to grow and produce a rich harvest of delicious, juicy fruit. To achieve a successful harvest, it is important to choose the right seeds, plan your cultivation correctly and ensure the best possible care. Here are some tips and tricks for growing your own tomatoes from seed.
Selection of tomato seeds
There are a multitude of tomato varieties to choose from, and it may be a good idea to experiment with different varieties to find the ones that best suit your preferences and growing conditions. Some popular varieties include cherry tomatoes, steak tomatoes and plum tomatoes. Choose quality seeds from a trusted supplier for the best results.
To achieve the best results and an earlier harvest, it is a good idea to sprout your tomato seeds indoors before planting them out in the garden or greenhouse. Start pre-sprouting 6-8 weeks before the last frost. Use a seed starting mix or an equal parts mix coconut flour and vermiculite, and plant the seeds in small pots or seed trays. Cover the seeds lightly with soil and water gently. Place them in a bright and warm area, ideally at a temperature of 20-25 degrees Celsius.
Caring for seedlings
When the seeds begin to germinate, it is important to provide them with sufficient light and heat. You can optionally supplement with one grow light, if they don't get enough natural light. Water sparingly regularly liquid fertilizer, but avoid making the soil too wet, as this can lead to rot and fungal diseases - Water preferably from below. When the seedlings are about 5-10 cm tall and have developed a few true leaves, they can be repotted into larger containers.
Hardening and planting
When the risk of frost is over and the seedlings are large enough, they must be acclimated to outdoor conditions. Start by placing them outdoors in the shade for a few hours a day and gradually increase the time and sunlight intensity over a week or two. When the seedlings are used to outdoor life, they can be planted in the garden or the greenhouse. Give them plenty of room to grow and be sure to water and fertilize them regularly.
Harvest and enjoy
Tomatoes are ready to harvest when they have reached their full size and color. Harvest them regularly as soon as they are ripe to encourage the plant to produce even more fruit. It is best to harvest tomatoes when they are fully ripe, as they will have the best flavor and nutritional content. But if you're worried about them being eaten by pests, you can pick them a little earlier and let them ripen indoors.
Caring for tomato plants
To ensure a bountiful harvest and healthy plants, there are some basic care tips you should follow:
- Irrigation: Tomato plants require regular and deep watering to thrive. Be sure to water them regularly, especially during dry periods. Avoid making the leaves wet, as this can cause fungal diseases.
- Fertiliser: Tomatoes are hungry and will benefit from a regular fertilizer. Use a good liquid tomato fertilizer or a slow release fertilizer to give your plants the nutrients they need.
- Cropping: To achieve healthy growth and higher yields, it may be necessary to prune your tomato plants. Remove side shoots growing between the main stem and the side shoots, as well as any yellow or diseased leaves.
- Support: Tomato plants can become very heavy when they begin to bear fruit. To prevent the stems from breaking and to keep the fruits off the ground, it is a good idea to give them support in the form of stakes, cages or trellises.
- Pest control: Keep an eye out for signs of pest infestation, such as aphids, whiteflies and caterpillars. Use organic methods, such as insecticidal soap, beneficial animals or manual removal, to control them.
With the right care and attention, yours will tomato plants reward you with an abundant harvest of juicy and tasty fruits that you can enjoy all summer and into autumn.