Part of the reason behind their continuous popularity as a garden plant is that tomatoes are so versatile. They can be used in sauces, salads, sandwiches, as pizza toppings or in soups and casseroles. While they can be hard to perfect, growing red, juicy and fragrant tomato vines is much easier than you think.

tomatoes

Soil preparation is vital before you start growing. Whether you do it in advance with a compost heap or do it just before you begin planting doesn’t matter too much, but as long as it’s done, you’re fine.  The soil needs to be halfway between clay-heavy and sandy, with enough room for water to permeate it. Anything that’s either too sandy or has too much clay won’t do it, whereas plain dirt needs plenty of nutrients for you to grow a tomato plant.

To grow them, begin by doing so indoors, be it in your kitchen or in a greenhouse. Do this between March and mid-April, when frost outdoors is still prevalent. Give them plenty of sunlight and water, and keep them warm.

From late April onwards, you can transfer them outdoors. Dig a hole in your soil of around six inches or so, and plant them in it. This will allow for greater access to the soil’s nutrients. It’s also worth putting a cage over each plant, as they will lean onto the cages, keeping them fairly upright. If you want to prevent them from being attacked by weeds, perhaps growing them in a raised bed could be the solution, as they are widely believed to grow better that way.

As for maintenance, if your plants have plenty of greenery but few tomatoes, it’s worth clipping some of the leaves to allow the tomatoes to grow better. Also, it’s worth checking them daily once they appear fully-grown, as they ripen very quickly.

About the Author:

Nicola Burns is a gardening expert who shares her knowledge with Bridgman and is a big fan of their range of rattan garden furniture. Her specialities include growing plants and designing items of patio furniture.

Image credit: southernliving.com