The tomato is one of the easiest plants to grow in a home garden and one of the most common.
Whether you are growing tomatoes on a terrace or on a large, two hectare property, these vegetables – or are they fruits? – The epitome of the beauty and abundance of the summer season.
Although tomatoes are not difficult to grow – and they can also be very productive! – There are some common pitfalls that can arise when growing your plants. Fortunately, most of these tomatoes.
When growing tomatoes for the first or fiftieth time, be sure to avoid these 15 common mistakes in tomato horticulture.
15 mistakes in the tomato garden
1. Don’t choose the right variety
The first mistake in growing tomatoes starts before you even get your plants in the ground – by choosing the wrong varieties.
You should carefully consider your preferences, climate, soil and growing conditions before buying tomato seeds or plants. For example, if you grow heirloom tomatoes, you can save the seeds of this year’s crop for growth next year.
Maybe that doesn’t matter, but the type of tomato. If you grow a lot of cherry tomatoes but want to prepare tomato sauce, you won’t have much success. Similarly, you should consider the growing habit of tomatoes (whether they are determined or indefinite), their wine-making ability, and their harvest time.
2. Start tomatoes from seeds
There’s nothing wrong with making tomatoes from seeds – and that’s not a mistake in itself. However, doing this wrong is a big mistake that many tomato growers make.
When starting tomatoes from seeds, you need to make sure that you create the optimal conditions for seed germination.
Most tomatoes need minimum temperatures of around 40 degrees to germinate – but the best conditions are when the soil temperatures are between 60 and 85 degrees. That’s why most people start tomato plants indoors instead of outdoors.
Unfortunately, most climates don’t have long enough summer growing seasons to support tomatoes for the long duration they need. In a short growing season, you need to start your tomato seeds indoors in late winter or early spring and then transplant them as soon as the danger of the first is over.
3. Do not harden
The hardening of your plants is crucial. You need to make sure that you give your plants the time they need to develop the defenses necessary for outdoor living.
To harden, you need to get your plants used to the outdoor conditions. Ideally, this is done over a period of one to two weeks, with more time being spent outdoors each day.
Transplant your tomatoes without hardening and you will likely find that they experience stunted growth or are completely killed off.
4. Plant too early
Just as you have to avoid planting tomatoes too late, you also have to avoid planting them too early. It can be tempting to plant as soon as you experience this first warm, sunny day – but this could be a disaster!
Wait for the transplant until the final risk of frost is over, even if it looks like it will take forever for that day to arrive.
5. Grow in the wrong place
Take some time to find the best possible location for your tomatoes. Tomatoes like a lot of sun – ideally full sun for the whole day – and a lot of moisture. Don’t grow your tomatoes in a neglected, damp, and shady place behind the house. You have to make sure that your tomatoes are in full view!
And when you grow in containers, remember that your location selection is just as important. You need containers large enough to hold your full-grown plants (and not just your plants when they are young).
6. Do not prune or support your plants
Tomatoes are by no means fussy plants, but they need support to grow healthy, productive amounts of fruit. There are some tomato varieties that carry themselves, but most of the time you have to stick them or keep them in cages to give them some structure when they get bushy – and weighed down with these juicy tomatoes!
Pruning can also improve the health of your plants (and it will give you less foliage to stake out too). This should be done regularly and regularly throughout the growing season to improve the health of your plants.
7. Incorrect pouring
Do you want to pretty much kill your tomato plants once they’re in the ground? Stop watering them.
Nobody wants that, of course. However, it is important to consider the special irrigation requirements of your tomatoes. You need to make sure that you always get enough – but not too much – water during the growing season. Water is most critical during fruiting and flowering, but it’s always important. And too much water while your plants are bearing fruit can cause them to split – or spread disease.
To avoid problems related to over or under watering, water first thing in the morning and water at the base of the plants. Try not to get water on the fruit or leaves.
8. Mulch fails
If you’re having trouble keeping an eye on the watering needs of your tomato plants, mulch may be the savior you’re looking for. Adding mulch can improve your yields and help you get the best results from growing tomatoes.
Most mulches act as slow-release fertilizers that help gradually add nutrients to the soil while building up the soil and retaining moisture. They can suppress weeds and also prevent erosion.
9. Ignore nutrient needs
Make sure you fertilize your tomato plants! Tomatoes are heavy feed and require additional fertilizer during the growth phase. They are particularly “hungry” when they bear fruit and bloom. Failure to fertilize tomatoes can dramatically decrease your yield. So take the time to fertilize.
You don’t have to rely on artificial fertilizers either. Organic compost or compost tea are both great solutions when it comes to fertilizing your tomatoes in an environmentally friendly way. Just make sure you use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season, but it will be a little less nitrogen later, as your plants try to fruit.
10. Neglect green tomatoes
Fried green tomatoes are delicious, but the reality is that most people would rather have ripe tomatoes on the dining table. Therefore, you should be careful with green tomatoes, especially late in the growing season.
At the end of summer, take the time to top your tomato plants about 30 days before the first expected frost. This will help your plants focus their energy on ripening the fruits that have already been planted, rather than displacing new ones.
11. Irrigation from above
When watering your tomato plants, just try this from the bottom. If you can install a drip irrigation system, it is all the better because it allows your plants to slowly and steadily release nutrients at their roots. Whatever the case, do not water from above, as this can promote the spread of fungal diseases.
12. Add too much nitrogen
Wait what? Didn’t you tell me that my tomato plants need nitrogen?
Well, to a certain extent. Tomato plants need nitrogen when they first develop their leaves. However, when your tomatoes start to fruit, too much nitrogen can overgrow dense leaves and leaves. This not only affects your fruit production, but can also attract insect pests. Instead, switch to a lower nitrogen fertilizer later in the season.
13. Overcrowding of the yoru plants
While pruning and watering properly can help some, it is important that you avoid overcrowding your tomato plants. You need a lot of freedom of movement! Don’t push too many in a small space. Instead, follow the clearance guidelines for your specific type of tomato plants.
14. Ignore accompanying plants
If you have been growing tomatoes for several years, you should consider the power of companion plants. Of course, you can grow tomatoes without a companion – but like everyone else, tomatoes like a few friends!
Consider growing tomatoes with plants like basil, borage, nasturtiums, and marigolds – and getting rid of plants like peppers and eggplants (which are prone to the same pests and diseases). If you plant tomatoes with the right companions, you will have less to worry about pests and diseases. Get to know other accompanying pairs of plants to achieve a space-saving garden experience.
15. Waste your tomatoes
This is one of the most common mistakes when growing tomatoes, and it’s so easy to avoid! Don’t waste your tomatoes – even if you feel flooded with the juicy red fruits at the end of the growing season, there are always people who like to take them off your hands.
Donate additional tomatoes to neighbors, friends, or family members – or check if the local pantry accepts local products.
There are also so many long-term uses for storing tomatoes that there is no reason not to stick to them. From canning to freezing to canning, the uses for tomatoes are endless. Do your best to use the harvest as it makes the most sense for you. If you are new to tomato growing, you should check out our ultimate contribution to the tomato garden.
And trust us, if you can avoid these common tomato growing mistakes, you have more tomatoes than you know how to do!