www.amazon.co.uk Tomatoes are a favourite amongst gardeners. Much like potatoes, tomatoes are an incredibly versatile food. Tomatoes can be sliced up in a salad, added to a sauce or made into a beautiful side dish. Tomatoes are regularly mentioned in the media, often said to be a wonder fruit that can help protect against many forms of cancer. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a cancer busting antioxidant which is most prevalent in ripe, red tomatoes. Some studies have shown that tomatoes can help reduce cholesterol and boost your skin’s UV protection. If you’re considering giving the tomato growing a try for yourself, here are some handy tips for beginners.
Provide strong lighting
A basic rule in growing tomatoes is providing them with strong direct light. Tomatoes need between 14 and 18 hours of strong light each day, so on certain days, placing tomatoes in a window may not be enough. In order to provide your tomatoes with the light that they need, you could try using artificial lighting specifically for plants. The best place for tomatoes is the green house so if you have one, ensure that your tomatoes live in there.
Help your tomato plant develop strong stems
In order to develop a strong stem, tomato plants benefit from a little bit of a breeze. When growing tomatoes outside, this isn’t something that you need to think about. However, if you’re growing tomatoes indoors, you can replicate this by subjecting them to a fan for 5 minutes a couple of times a day.
Water your tomato plants correctly
To grow healthy tomatoes, it is important to water them on a regular basis. If you water your tomatoes irregularly, you may find that your tomatoes crack, and the blossom ends rot away. Try to provide your tomatoes with one inch of water per week. If you miss one week and try to make up for it the next week, you may face problems. If the weather is particularly hot, give your tomatoes extra water. When the tomatoes begin to ripen, give your plants a little less water, you may find that this improves their flavour because it forces the plant to concentrate its sugars.
Preparing your garden for tomatoes
If you’re planting your tomatoes in the outdoors, it is recommended that you prepare the soil a couple of weeks in advance. Tomatoes thrive in the warmth so it is a great idea to warm the soil before you plant your tomato seeds. You can warm the soil by covering the area in a black or red plastic sheet around two weeks before you begin planting.
How to bury your tomato seeds
It is advised that you bury your tomato seeds deeper than they were in their pot. This makes the tomatoes develop stronger rooms across their stems which makes the plant stronger on the whole. You could dig a deep hole and lay the tomato plant on its side so that it straightens itself out to grow towards the sunlight.
Leoni Kleban is a gardening enthusiast and blogger. She often visits www.gardenfurniturecentre.co.uk when looking for inspiration in the garden.