Centuries ago, one of the greatest and most versatile fruits was discovered in Peru. We’d be surprised if you guessed it on the first try, but if you thought tomatoes, you’re right!
The gardening season is underway and there is no better time to plant than now. We’ll give you some pointers for growing your own tomatoes below.
Tomatoes are one of the tastiest foods to eat at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Not to mention all their health benefits.
Here Are 5 Health Benefits of Tomatoes You Probably Didn’t Know
Eating tomatoes on a regular basis can:
- Reduce risk of heart disease and cancer thanks to its antioxidant lycopene
- Boost the immune system thanks to vitamin C
- Control blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular disease because of potassium
- Strengthen your bones and improve blood flow thanks to vitamin K1
- Maintain healthy tissue growth and cell function because of folate
If that doesn’t make you crave a delicious plump tomato, we know one thing that will – a homegrown one. Nothing compares to biting into homegrown tomatoes (or any homegrown fruit or vegetable for that matter!) Compared to store-bought produce, the bright and bursting flavors are unmatched.
Don’t believe us? Try growing some yourself. It’s way easier than you think and we will show you exactly how below.
How to Grow Tomatoes at Home
Many people think there are only two ways to start growing tomatoes. You can either purchase seeds and start growing them into seedlings before Spring comes, or simply purchase start plants which can go directly into the ground if conditions are right.
However, there’s a real easy way to start home-growing tomatoes you’ll wish you knew earlier! Ready to learn how to grow tomatoes?
5 Steps to Growing Your Own Tomatoes at Home
Prep Your Planting Container for Seed Germination
Prepare your potting mix
Mixing equal parts of:
And worm castings is one of the cheapest ways to make high quality soil.
Or if you’re lazy you can just buy high quality potting mix.
If you’d like to make your homemade mix extra rich you can add some compost or composted manure, but in this case the soil should rest for a week or two prior to planting in order to “cook” it. Cooking soil gives the microbes a chance to colonize it and prevents the plants from getting burned from excess nutrients. In a large but shallow container (with a few small holes for drainage), fill it halfway with potting mix.
- At the bottom of your empty container add some coarse perlite or gravel to help with drainage and airflow.
- On top of that you can add a small layer of compost or other rich amendments.
- Cover the rich layer with at least several inches of your potting mix from above. Now you’re pot and soil is ready for planting!
Slice Your Ripe Tomatoes
- Get a few organic tomatoes from your kitchen and make sure they’re fully ripened
- Cut them into ¼” thick slices (Don’t worry, they don’t need to be master chef-perfect slices)
Plant Your Tomato Slices
- In your planting container, lay the tomato slices evenly around
- Cover them with about 1” of leftover potting mix and water well
- Don’t bury them too deeply
- You want the soil moist, not oversaturated
- Do your best to keep the container in partial shade
Transplant Your Tomato Seedlings
- After 2 weeks, when your tomato seeds germinate, move the plants somewhere it can receive full sun for 10-12 hours a day
- Doing this will help the seedlings becoming stronger
- Two weeks after that, the tomato seedlings will be ready to transplant into individual pots
- Bury the seedling’s stem as deep into the potting soil as possible
- Water deeply until light run off from the bottom of the pot. Remember: moist, not oversaturated
Let Your Tomato Plants Grow
- Place the individual pots somewhere they can receive regular, full sunlight.
- Make sure to maintain the soil’s moisture and to top dress with a fertilizer, once every week or two. It’s important that your fertilizer contains calcium, or else fruit development will be poor and you will suffer from blossom end rot!
Note: Soil should dry out to about 33% moisture between waterings.