Are you a farmer or home gardener in Ontario thinking of growing tomatoes? Tomatoes are a delicious, healthy and versatile food that is loved by many. In Ontario, the climate can be harsh on tomato plants, but this blog post offers tips to help you grow tomatoes in your garden throughout the summer months!
One. Don't crowd your tomato seedlings. Give each seedling enough space to grow into a full plant and produce tomatoes. If you do not leave room for the seedlings to grow, it will minimize or eliminate the chances of growth later on. Using small separate pots is recommended for optimum seedling growth.
Two. Seedlings are best planted in spring but are best started indoors in Ontario. This will protect them from unpredictable weather fluctuations. While indoors, your tomato seedlings would benefit from movement and air circulation. If available, a fan can be used for a few minutes to achieve this and create a positive difference in their growth.
Three. Tomato seedlings and plants need direct sunlight for growth. So choose a location for the tomato plant where the sunlight is direct and bright. This will ensure the rapid growth of the plant and the ripening of tomatoes.
Four. Warm soil or additional heat is necessary for tomato seedlings and plants. If planted outdoors, seeds should be placed in soil that has been warmed for a number of weeks prior. If starting indoors, an artificial heating tray can be used. The heat and warmth of the soil will encourage the seedling to grow quickly and provide healthy ripe tomatoes. You can also provide heat to the soil by covering the ground with black or red plastic, mulch or straw.
Five. Tomatoes should be planted deeply into the soil. This encourages the plant to grow quickly towards the sun while promoting root growth.
Six. The use of mulch helps the soil remain fresh and limits the spread of potential disease. Mulch also supports the maintenance of the earth throughout the growing season and gives the tomato plant a chance to grow openly.
Seven. To avoid fungus growth, it is advised to cut the bottom leaves of the tomato plant. These bottom leaves are more prone to fungus due to density and lack of air circulation. By cutting these leaves, you'll save losing the plant entirely to disease.
Eight. Water the tomato plant with warm water at the base of the plant only. Watering with too cold water compared to the ambient temperature can cause it to go into shock, which prevents optimum growth. In addition, watering at the base of the plant prevents moisture from accumulating in the leaves, which can lead to fungus issues.
Nine. Pruning is vital with tomato plants. Be careful not to prune too much, as you don't want to eliminate too many leaves, which are necessary for continued plant growth, tomato production, as well as tomato flavour! It might seem counterintuitive, but sucker branches can become a hindrance in tomato production.
Ten. You can pick your tomatoes before they turn red if you're worried that insects or animals might get to them first! You can ripen green tomatoes by placing them in a paper bag and covering them with a towel. Place a ripened fruit (an apple or banana will do!) next to the green tomatoes to speed up ripening. The paper bag should be placed in a cool dark place.
With these top tips, you'll be sure to have a plentiful tomato harvest in the next growing season! What has worked (or not) in your tomato garden? Let us know by commenting below!
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