Grow Tomatoes in Your own Backyard
you only have a 4 foot by 4 foot piece of ground, even if it's extremely
rocky or totally clay, you can grow upside-down tomatoes on sturdy hanging
plant poles or posts (See picture). To plant upside-down tomatoes, cut
a hole smaller than the circumference of the potted tomato plant in the
bottom of a 5-gallon plastic bucket. Put the tomato plant in the bucket,
and remove the pot from the tomato with the stem pointing down at the
Then while holding the tomato plant in place, use cypress mulch or something
similar to help support the bottom of the plant and keep it in place.
The mulch layer should come up 3 to 4 inches from the bottom of the bucket
or 1 to 2 inches above the root system of the plant. Next, pour a mixture
of compost, topsoil, cow manure, and Osmocote Time-Released fertilizer
until you fill the bucket to within 2 inches from the top. Put in 2 inches
of pine mulch to cover all the soil. The mulch will help prevent the bucket
from losing water too quickly. Then thoroughly water the plant and keep
it watered as needed.
Once a week, mix up 1 gallon of Tomato Miracle Gro Liquid Fertilizer that's
been diluted in water, according to the directions on the Miracle Gro
product. You'll see the tomatoes grow out of the bottom of the bucket
and then turn up as the stem of the plant reaches for the sun. You won't
have to tie the tomatoes, and they won't lie on the ground. This system
is especially suited for small, cherry-sized tomatoes, as well as smaller
varieties of tomatoes. If you keep your upside-down tomatoes watered,
they should produce well throughout the summer. Now let's look at some
conventional ways to raise tomatoes.
Why grow Tomatoes?
Are you looking for a new hobby? Tomato gardening will
give you tasty fruits for your soul, stomach and pocket. You can sell
a summer's share for $600 from an average-size garden of 500-square feet,
although most gardeners aren't looking for profits. They garden to enjoy
nature, relieve stress and to become creators.
What about Seeds?
To start on your new project, you'll need to buy tomato
seeds 6 to 8 weeks before planting or buy small tomato plants if you want
to plant now. Tomato seeds can be purchased in many places. Any nursery
or gardening section of big discount stores should carry standard seeds.
I recommend Tomato Growers (888) 478-7333 for quality goods.
The common debate for gardeners in choosing the type of tomato seeds to
buy is between hybrid and open-pollinated varieties. The trade-off for
the more expensive hybrid seeds is their offspring are more likely to
be vivacious, quick-growing and more defensive against disease. An open-pollinated
seed can produce an equal match to the hybrids with the right conditions.
Both varieties now offer many seeds with disease-fighting agents. In selecting
seeds, the most important factor is selecting a variety with multiple
Tomatoes love to sunbathe and appreciate moist, well-
drained soil. The end of March is a good time to start preparing the seedlings
indoors. Tomatoes need almost nine weeks to flourish inside before they
brave the outdoors.
Sow and germinate the seeds in soil around 70 degrees F. When the seedlings
sprout in the second week, immediately place them under fluorescent bulbs.
During week three, reduce the light to only 12 hours a day and decrease
the soil temperature to 55 degrees F. In week five, stop the cold treatment
and fertilize your seedlings.
Transplanting them to a separate container in the sixth week will prevent
them from binding their roots. The young plants must harden off in the
eighth week; they must be exposed to lower temperatures and placed outside
for brief periods of time. Gradually, they'll accustom themselves to the
outdoors and can be planted in the ninth week.
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