Many gardeners do not want a garden just to create stunningly beautiful, living arrangements with ornamental plants. Many also want to grow their own healthy fruit and vegetables. Because food products from the garden are naturally organic, free from chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and GMOs. They also do not have to be transported across the country to get to the supermarket, so they are not artificially ripened or preserved. Homegrown fruit and vegetables contain more nutrients and are simply tastier than those from the local supermarket. However, in order to produce edible food, these plants usually require significantly more care and attention than simple ornamental plants. This is especially true for tomato plants, since they are annuals and have to be sown every year. In today’s article, we would therefore like to give you practical tips on how to prepare tomatoes correctly and in good time.
This way you can properly grow your tomatoes year after year
Set the right time
When it comes to timing, there really is no single answer. It mainly depends on when you want to harvest your first and last tomatoes. Technically, the earliest time to sow the tomato seeds can still be at the end of January. However, in this case a greenhouse is a must, otherwise the young plants will not withstand the subsequent frosts.
If you don’t have a greenhouse then mid to late March is a much better time to sow. If you want tomatoes later, you can even sow them in May. The seeds will germinate mostly at home. However, they can also be taken outside from time to time in warm weather. This makes them more resilient. By the time the small tomato plants are ready to be transplanted into their intended garden bed, any danger of frost is usually gone.
Harvest maturity depends heavily on the selected tomato variety
For beefsteak tomatoes, it takes about 90 days from flowering to fruiting
Before the seeds are placed in their seed pots, they must first be disinfected. This eliminates any risk of spreading microbes, bacteria and fungal diseases from one seed to the other. Methods for disinfecting plant seeds are numerous, and almost every gardener uses their own.
You can use a variety of natural and chemical solutions, including potassium permanganate, quinosol, ethanol, but also horsetail extract and chamomile tea. Depending on the preferred method, the seeds have to be soaked for different lengths of time. It is best to wrap them in gauze beforehand to make them easier to get out later. Then wash and let dry.
Chamomile tea is antiseptic, disinfects and at the same time nourishes the seeds
The tomato seeds must remain in it for 12 to 24 hours
The perfect soil for your tomato seeds
Some hobby gardeners simply take some soil from the garden bed for their tomato seeds. After all, it is the soil in which the adult plants should later grow and produce fruit. However, this is a big mistake! Garden soil not only lacks some important nutrients, it is also not sterile. Not only can it transmit diseases to your seedlings, but it could also germinate weeds instead of tomatoes.
You can buy tomato soil at any garden center or hardware store, or alternatively you can prepare it yourself. To do this, mix equal parts sand, humus and compost, then add wood ash in a ratio of 10:1 (10 parts soil, 1 part ash).
The potting soil should be loose, well-drained and rich in nutrients
Don’t buy soil that contains peat
Prefer the tomatoes correctly
Seeds disinfected and soil prepared? Then prepare your chosen seed pots. It is best to choose biodegradable pots, as these allow you to plant the young plants directly in them later. Fill them with potting soil.
Add one tomato seed per potty and press lightly. Cover the seed with a thin layer of soil. Tomato seeds need light to germinate and should therefore not be planted deep.
Water thoroughly with stale water using a spray bottle, then cover with cling film. In it poke a few holes or take off for a few minutes daily. So the little seeds get fresh air. Water if necessary.
Now place the seed on the bench of a best south facing window. It should be exposed to indirect sunlight daily. The cling film covering, in turn, provides warmth and humidity.
After about a week, the first seedlings should sting through the soil. Now you can completely remove the covering. But now you also have to check the soil moisture daily. Both dryness and waterlogging should be avoided.
All plants should only be watered with stagnant water
The chlorine evaporates after about 24 hours
Harden off the young tomato plants
Two to three weeks later, your little tomato plants should already have pretty, dark green leaves and upright, sturdy stems. However, they should be hardened off at least two weeks before they are planted out in the bed.
If the temperature is above 15 degrees, simply bring the growing pots to a partially shaded, wind-protected and warm place outdoors. The tomato plants should only spend their first day in the garden for one to two hours. Then three to four hours on the second day, five to six hours on the third day, etc. Gradually the young plants can also be exposed to the sun, wind and night temperatures. However, these should not fall below 12 degrees.
Young garden plants must first get used to the outside world
However, this should only be done carefully and slowly
Plant tomatoes correctly and on time
From mid-May, early tomato plants can be planted outdoors. If you only started sowing in May, then of course do so later. Initially, they will benefit greatly from a tomato house.
Tomato plants need a lot of light and warmth and need a humus-rich, nutrient-rich, loose soil with good drainage and a slightly acidic pH between 6.5-7. Choose the ideal location accordingly.
Tomatoes are a nightshade plant, but they need a lot of sun
Old German tomato varieties are more robust and do well without a house
Preparing tomatoes is part of spring gardening. If you want to enjoy a delicious and rich tomato harvest year after year, you should master this.