Home Grown Tomatoes
I have never tasted an organically grown tomato that was not delicious. In fact, every home grown organic tomato I have ever tasted has been more delicious than any tomato I have ever bought at the supermarket. Tomatoes are fun and easy to grow once you know the basic growing requirements: sun, water, trellising, good soil, and feeding.
Most tomatoes require full sunlight for maximum growth and fruit size, although there are varieties that can tolerate less sunlight than others and still remain very productive. Check with your local nursery professional for those varieties if sunlight is limited in your garden.
Water tomatoes as they require it. Young tomatoes will require a little more water at first until they become established and their root system has penetrated deep into the soil. You can check to see if your plants might need water simply by poking your finger into the soil. If it is dry to the touch two inches below the soil surface, then it is time to water. Depending on the time of year and your climate, you will have to water as the tomato plants require it. The warmer it is, the more you water. Tomato plants will tell you very quickly if they are in drought stress by wilting their leaves, so it is very important to keep an eye on your garden and change your watering habits according to your climate and your plants’ needs.
Staking or trellising your tomatoes is very important as a means of exposing as many of the leaves to sunlight as possible. The more sunlight energy tomatoes have, the larger the fruit size. Sunlight translates into sugar, and sugar translates into food, taste, and nutrition for your tomatoes.
Soil preparation is one of the most important elements of a successful tomato harvest. Organically grown tomatoes start with adding the proper organic ingredients to the soil, such as compost, mulch, planting mix and, most importantly, organic fertilizer (tomatoes are heavy feeders.) Compost and mulch will help create a friable soil that is workable, retains water, discourages weed growth, creates a friendly environment for earthworms, and reduces water runoff. These factors will also help it retain more nutrition, made available to plants through a continuous supply, as the organic ingredients break-down slowly over time.
You can do all of this preparation, OR you can simply purchase our perfectly customized Dr. Earth® Home Grown® Vegetable Garden Planting Mix. Make it easy on yourself by taking advantage of the scientific research behind this specialized mix.
The organic fertilizer will feed the living soil. By feeding the beneficial soil organisms—or ”microbes”—that make the soil “alive,” we feed our tomatoes. This process is achieved as the microbes digest the organic fertilizer and convert it into a form that plants can use. For example, when we feed our soil with fish meal, plants cannot use the fish meal in its protein form. It must be broken down into a simpler, more accessible form of nitrogen that tomato plants can use directly, for their growth. Think of these microbes as enzymes, very similar to the enzymes in our stomachs. When we eat proteins, such as those found in fish, red meats, or fowl, they must be digested or broken down in our stomach before we can receive the nutritional benefits of the protein. The same exact thing occurs in the soil through the enzymatic action of the beneficial soil microbes.
Also, tomatoes are susceptible to a condition called ”blossom end rot” which will distort the growth and ruin the tomatoes. This is usually caused by a calcium deficiency in the soil. Dr. Earth® Organic 5™ Tomato Vegetable and Herb Fertilizer contains a high calcium value, to avoid blossom end rot. Feeding the soil with rich organic materials is necessary to achieve tasty, vigorous, large, abundant, and nutritious tomatoes. Visit your local independent nursery professional for advice on which tomato varieties will work best in your garden.
Milo Lou Shammas
Founder and Formulator