Gardening: A tomato lover’s 7 tips for growing them big

Audrey J. Powers

Tomatoes are not only my preferred yard crop — they’re also the most well-known amid American house gardeners. And it is no ponder: Have you ever compared a supermarket tomato to a yard a single? The homegrown scent by yourself will transportation you straight to summer months.

One more gain of increasing your very own tomatoes is wide variety. Seeds for yellow, black, pear-shaped and even giant tomatoes — which you won’t usually locate in the create aisle — are commonly accessible in catalogs and lots of garden centers. And given that my tomatoes-of-alternative are massive and lumpy, that is typically how I roll.

I’m so enamored with them that when producing a backyard garden column for Newsday in New York, I developed and for 13 yrs hosted The Excellent Long Island Tomato Problem, a gathering of fellow tomatophiles in research of the largest fruit of the season (certainly, tomatoes are technically fruits).

Around the yrs, I arrived deal with-to-face with quite a few beautiful, sweetly scented, giant tomatoes, together with a 5 lb., 4 oz., splendor that was the biggest ever entered into the levels of competition — not to mention heavier than some new child individuals.

I also bought to meet and converse with the competitive tomato growers who elevated these champions, and it didn’t take lengthy to detect some commonalities in observe amid them.

But very first factors first: Whilst tomato plants can be a very little fussy, they aren’t hard to develop. Give them steady watering (deep and infrequent trumps a every day sprinkle), nicely-draining soil (incorporate generous helpings of compost into beds or containers at planting time), a good deal of warmth and light-weight (immediate, unobstructed sunshine for a least of 6 hrs daily is greatest) and a sluggish-launch, balanced fertilizer formulated for tomatoes.

Preserving beds properly-weeded will eliminate breeding grounds for pests and disorders although removing level of competition for vitamins and drinking water.

Tomatoes thrive ideal in soil with a pH degree amongst 6. and 6.8. Examination kits are worthy of their $10-$20 price tag and will very last for a lot of many years. If the pH reading is lessen than 6., integrate about 2 cups of dolomitic lime into the soil for every plant, performing it about 8-12 inches deep.

So, you want to increase a whopper? Adhere to these seven qualified suggestions for accomplishment:

1. Select big, indeterminate varieties like Significant Zac, Porterhouse, Rhode Island Huge or Bull’s Heart, all genetically programmed to produce large fruit.

2. Get started seeds early indoors and transplant seedlings into much larger containers many occasions right before going them outdoor. Plant them deeply every single time, eliminating leaves from the base one-3rd of crops and burying stems up to the upcoming set of leaves. This will make much better crops.

3. Get rid of new flowers that create at the prime of the plant when more mature fruits near the bottom commence to mature. This will power the plant’s electrical power into creating less but much larger tomatoes.

4. Be vigilant! Watch plants everyday for pests and diseases — and respond to difficulties immediately to hold plants from getting to be pressured.

5. Get rid of suckers — the smaller shoots that mature at the junction in which the plant’s stems and branches meet — to reduce them from sapping the plant’s power and shading creating fruit beneath them.

6. Prune crops to retain only a person primary department as an alternative of permitting them to acquire into shrubby forms.

7. Be diligent: Drinking water, fertilize and weed frequently.


Jessica Damiano writes consistently about gardening for The Linked Push. A learn gardener and educator, she writes The Weekly Dirt publication and produces an once-a-year wall calendar of day-to-day gardening guidelines. Send her a observe at [email protected] and find her at and on Instagram @JesDamiano.

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