On Today’s blog we have the pleasure of posting for guest blogger Jackie Edwards. Though we sell vegetable and herb plants already started in the garden center here at Cedar Grove Gardens she has written an informative article on starting from seed. Thank you Jackie!
Growing Tomatoes: Greenhouse Or Outdoors?
Growing tomatoes can be quite fulfilling. If done well, you can yield a bumper crop without having to work too hard. However, your crop’s productivity is greatly influenced by how you choose to go about the entire process. One of the things that you must consider is whether you are going to grow them outside the old fashioned way or whether you are going to use a green house. A lot has been said about both options, but both methods can work when all the proper growing procedures are adhered to in each case.
Things To Consider About Tomatoes
Being tropical plants, tomatoes require at least eight hours of sunlight every day. It is also important to note that tomatoes require soil with a pH of between 6.0 and 6.8, so if the soil in your area does not meet such requirements, you need to determine how much manure or fertilizer you will need to reach these acidity levels. Tomatoes also require at least two inches of water every week.
Growing Tomatoes Outside
If you are planning to grow tomatoes outside, you need to do so in the summer. You also need to do so in an area that gets adequate sunshine throughout the summer. It is important to consider that most tomato varieties have long growing seasons of 70 to 80 days, so it is advisable to plant the seeds 6 to 8 weeks before summer starts, and this needs to be done indoors or in a covered place away from the frost outside. As the warmth of the summer draws near, you should prepare the ground outside with a good deal of garden compost as well as a healthy helping of general purpose fertilizer. For the provision of water, you should place an adequate number of sprinklers to ensure that every plant gets its fair share of water. When transferring the seedlings, you should plant them 18 inches to 24 inches apart. You must also spray the tomatoes with the recommended pesticides. You can get more information on that from your local crop specialists. In addition, to help to control pests, you would also do well to plant some companion plants that are known to ward off pests alongside the tomatoes. Some ideal companion plants for tomatoes include basil, chives, and mint.
Growing Tomatoes In A Greenhouse
Opting to grow the tomatoes in a greenhouse gives you the freedom to plant the tomatoes at any time because in a greenhouse the light and warmth that the tomatoes require is provided by auxiliary lights and heaters. Tomatoes requires temperatures of 21C – 24C (70F – 75F), so you must count the cost of the electricity or fuel required to keep the plants warm throughout the entire growing season. In addition, for greenhouses, it is advisable to install water lines under the soil surface for the disbursement of water. You must also have sufficient in-greenhouse water storage. It is important to note that you must create sufficient ventilation in the greenhouse because tomatoes require healthy balances of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the air around them. Adequate air circulation also helps to keep off pests and diseases.