How to Take Care of a Tomato Plant

Many people love to grow tomatoes in their house garden. They like it because they have easy access to fresh tomatoes and others like to grow it for the decoration purpose. The bright red color tomatoes hanging in your garden will definitely enhance the beauty of the landscape. It is one of the short lived perennial plants and you can find them in hundred different varieties. Every species of the plant has its own different shape, color and size. However, in spite of this you will have to learn how to take care of a tomato plant.

Here are some simple steps on how to take care of a tomato plant.
How to Take Care of a Tomato Plant
Soil Preparation

  • Tomato plant likes full sun. Therefore, you will have to plant it in such a location where it gets good midday sun. These plants need a soil, which is rich in nutrients for their proper growth. Remember that the soil where you plant these seedlings must not have any debris like roots, weeds or rocks.
  • The pH value of the soil should always be maintained in the range of 55.5 to 66.2 F . Another important thing is that the soil must be well drained and loose. A few days prior to the planting, you will have to prepare the soil by adding a large amount of peat moss and compost. For enriching the soil further, you will also have to add some fertilizer to it. Once this treatment is done, the soil will look darker in color.

Weather Condition

  • Having the right weather is the most integral part for growing tomato plant. The temperature during the day should be between 70 and 75 degrees F and during the night the temperature should be 60 degrees F. If the night temperature happens to go below it, then the plant will bear only few fruits. The ideal time to plant this crop is during mid May after the date of last frost is over.

Planting

  • For planting, start digging a deep hole in the soil you have prepared, so that the first leaves of the stem of the seedling come on the same level as the soil. Now, keep the young plant inside the hole, start refilling the soil inside the spoil and pat the soil properly around it. Remember that you will have to keep a gap of 12 to 15 inches between each seedling. Once you are done with this, water the plant immediately along with some diluted liquid fertilizer.

Mulching

  • You will have to regularly mulch your tomato plant. It will help the soil in retaining moisture and will let the temperature of the soil be uniform. It will also prevent the growth of weeds. Initially, you can use a black plastic bag for the mulching purpose. When the soil starts to warm up, then you can start using the organic mulch, which consists of dried leaves, hay, grass clippings, etc. Remember that you must always spread generous amount of mulch, so that it evenly covers the soil.

Watering

  • Your tomato plant will receive sun the entire day. This means that the soil will dry quickly, so you will have to water the plant frequently. You cannot afford to let the soil dry up completely. For the initial two weeks you will have to water the plant daily. Later, you can cut down the frequency to twice a week. Soak the soil completely nearly up to six to eight inches twice in a week. However, remember that once the plant starts bearing fruits, make sure that you never soak the water because the tomatoes may loose their sweetness.

Fertilizing

  • A tomato plant will need many nutrients and so you will have to fertilize them from time to time. For improving the plant health and blossoming, you will have to use a 5-3-4 fertilizer for regular nitrogen requirement, potassium and phosphorous. Once it starts blossoming, it will need a fertilizer that is rich in phosphorous.
  • At this time, you will have to avoid fertilizers rich in nitrogen, as this will not help in fruit growth. From June to August, you must give a liquid fertilizer that is rich in potash at least twice in a month. This is very important for the plant when it starts to wilt. You can also use a slow-release granular fertilizer for regular supply of nutrients. 

Support

  • As the size of the plant continues to grow, you will have to give adequate support for supporting its stalk. The only reason for doing this is protecting the tomatoes from coming in contact with the soil. Thus, the fruits will be clean and they will never get affected by the soil-borne insects and worms.
  • During the early stages, you can place hoop baskets surrounding the plants. This will make sure that your plant has support throughout and the fruit is produced straight up. Another method you can try is tying the main stem on the fence posts with a twine.

Pruning

  • Pruning the plant will encourage the growth of flowers and fruits and enhance the quality of the fruits. However, the extent up to which the plant should be pruned will depend on various factors. If the plant is producing heavier foliage, then the pruning will also have to heavier. In case, there are too many plants close to one another, then you will have to prune them frequently. Keep checking your plants regularly and then prune the secondary shoots from the stem or suckers when you need them.

Once you learn all these skills about growing your tomato plant, then getting your bumper crop of fresh tomatoes is not a difficult thing.


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