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Tomato Plant Care and Feeding

Updated on August 23, 2017

Growing tomatoes just got easier

There are a lot of questions to answer about how to grow tomatoes, types of tomato plants,how to prune tomatoes, when to prune tomatoes, watering tomatoes, how to feed tomatoes and more.

Tomato plants are one, if not the, most popular of plants that amateur gardeners like to grow.

There are good reasons for that, they produce lots of delicious and tasty fruit which promote good and healthy eating, they are relatively easy to grow and with a reasonable program of tomato care and feeding pretty much anyone can produce loads of great looking, juicy fresh tomatoes that can be taken straight from the garden to the table.

Selecting the right plant varieties and growing them using the best methods to suit the type of tomato you have selected forms a part of the tomato care program that you need to establish, along with soil preparation, when to plant, how to prune tomato plants and the best watering schedule. Not forgetting that where you are can have an effect on your tomato plant care and feeding regime as well plus which varieties you select in the first place, for instance what you do in the UK is likely to be a lot different to what you do in the South of France.

There are a lot of decisions you need to make but if you get it right you will be well rewarded.

To get you started on tomato growing you can find all the basic steps required to start growing tomatoes including selecting the right plant types, preparing for planting, planting out and then taking care of the tomato plants as they go through the season. A great guide for anyone starting to grow their own tomatoes. So for this comprehensive Caring for Tomatoes Guide on Amazon all you need to do is follow the link. All the basic needs for growing and caring for tomatoes are covered plus it provides some surprising and interesting information all about the humble, but wonderfully tasty, tomato plant.

Don't forget to share the link with your friends so that they can get the Book as well and if you live in the UK you can get it there as well. The book is regularly listed as the number 1 gardening book for kids in the UK and if you buy the paperback you get the Kindle version for free!

Image courtesy of Amazon.co.uk

A Tomato Growing Guide for Beginners - Caring for Tomatoes

A comprehensive tomato growing guide for beginners, covers all aspects of how to get started growing tomatoes. Plant selection, cultivating seeds, choosing the right location, growing tomatoes in small spaces, how to take care of tomatoes and how to get a great crop of juicy red tomatoes.

Growing and Caring for Tomatoes: An Essential Tomato Growing Book
Growing and Caring for Tomatoes: An Essential Tomato Growing Book

This concise but comprehensive guide to growing tomatoes is also available as a paperback. A Small and compact book, so easy to carry with you in the garden.

 

The preliminaries of tomato care - Take care of the basic preparations and you can grow tomatoes like a professional,


First things first, you need to select a location that will provide your plants with no less than 6 hours of sunshine per day, 10 hours if you can and to ensure they will flourish and you will get plenty of lovely ripe fruit.

Next prepare the soil with a rich mixture of high nitrogen compost, this applies whether you are going to grow tomatoes directly in the ground or if you are going to put them in containers.

Selecting the correct tomato plant variety to meet your needs, there are 2 general groups of tomatoes:

  • Indeterminate tomatoes
  • Determinate tomatoes

The indeterminate tomatoes are vine or cordon plants and the determinate type are bush plants.

The main differences are the way they take up space and the period over which they produce fruit. For limited space and an extended fruit producing period you would be better selecting a vine plant. If you have plenty of space and don't mind the fruit all arriving at pretty much the same time then selecting a bush variety will suit you better.

Before planting make sure that there is no chance of them being caught by a frost as they have no tolerance to freezing temperatures and if they get exposed to a frost the consequences will be dire. Ideally they like to be kept at temperatures no less than 15C.

Pruning tomato plants is a common method of controlling the size and helping to keep disease at bay. Pruning is normally only done to vine plants to limit the number of trusses, 4 to 6 is a good quantity, also removing lower shoots keeps the foliage clear of the ground consequently reducing the risk of contracting a disease from the soil.

Bush tomato plants as the name suggests grow into a bush of a determinate size, usually 2' to 3' high and typically there is no need to prune bush varieties of tomato plants.

How to care for tomato plants - All vegetables need ongoing care and attention once planted and tomatoes, although strictly a fruit, are no exception.

Caring for Tomatoes


We have already discussed how to prepare for growing tomatoes, in this section we are going to discuss the ongoing care of the plant as it grows.

First of all you need to ensure that the tomato plants receive regular watering that will ensure that they neither dry out or become saturated. This can be done with an automated watering system or just through regular watering with a watering can. Ideally the water you use will be slightly tepid through leaving the water in containers in the sun. This will prevent any shocking of the plants or cooling of the soil.

As the plants grow it is a good idea with the vine plant variety to pinch out excess growth as previously mentioned and to tie up the trusses as they develop using a soft garden string to prevent damage to the plant. Once the plant has the required number of trusses the main stem can be pinched out to top the plant and prevent further growth.

Once fruit starts to appear the plants should be given a bi-weekly supplement of a suitable tomato feed.

Other than that keep an eye out for disease and pests, any dead or discoloured leaves can be removed and the plants should be treated with a pesticide on an as needed basis.

Stick to this basic plan of preparation and ongoing care and you will soon have more tomatoes than you know what to do with. Eating the tomatoes as soon after picking as you can will ensure you can enjoy the very best in flavour and taste.

Heirloom Tomatoes - Perfect for the American garden

A book for the people who want to grow tomatoes with real taste and understand how to find and cultivate Heirloom tomato varieties wherever they are in America. It is suitable for any home vegetable gardener and not just a few specialty market gardeners as recommended by Andrea Merribelle.

Smith & Hawken: 100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden
Smith & Hawken: 100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden

33 people reviewed this book and they have all given it a 5 star rating. Below is the reason why in my opinion: -

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful:

5.0 out of 5 stars Big juicy information book for tomato lovers, August 27, 2002

By Joanna Daneman (Middletown, DE USA) - See all my reviews

(TOP 10 REVIEWER) (COMMUNITY FORUM 04)

I confess to a passionate love of growing tomatoes that goes back to childhood. And I have an equal love for the taste of those sun-warm, acid-sweet juicy fruits that make summer taste like summer. This year, finally moving to a tomato-friendly climate for the first time in two decades, I rushed to plant an heirloom tomato even in a container, before I could cultivate a true garden.

Heirloom tomatoes come from seeds saved by tomato enthusiasts who have done us all the huge favor of preserving varieties of tomatoes that taste great, look interesting (all kinds of colors) and far better than the F1 hybrid boring red globes palmed off by the average seed company

This is just one of the 33 5 star reviews available at the time of writing.

 

This is a Pest Control Book that you will be using as a bible - When you have it you will wonder how you got this far without it.

Not just for gardeners, although it is great for that and tomato growing especially, but for all household pests and nasty little creatures. Also tells you about the friendly ones that help you out.

Tiny Game Hunting: Environmentally Healthy Ways to Trap and Kill the Pests in Your House and Garden New Edition
Tiny Game Hunting: Environmentally Healthy Ways to Trap and Kill the Pests in Your House and Garden New Edition

This review is from: Tiny Game Hunting (Paperback)

This could be the most useful book I own. It gets more use than my dictionary. Tiny Game Hunting offers practical and effective methods of capturing or killing common household and garden pests; everything from insects and spiders, to lizards and snakes, and mice and gophers. It focuses on environmentally safe extermination methods. Many of the traps, repellents, and pesticides can be made cheaply with common items found in the kitchen or garage. More than just pest control, the book offers some basic information on the habits and history of the critters. Have a problem with a pest? I bet it's in here. It's honestly one of the best books I'll ever own!

 

Caring for Tomatoes - Resources Section

A great way to find concise and comprehensive information about how to grow tomatoes is to purchase a tomato growing book. Sometimes searching the Internet for tomato growing tips can be a slightly protracted affair. So if all you need is the basic information for growing tomatoes it might just be worth purchasing a book or eBook that covers the basics.

Then when you need more specialist information and the book doesn't have it covered then you can use the Internet for those rare occasions, its called having the best of both worlds at your disposal.

Growing Your Own Food

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If this hub has helped you towards growing your own tomatoes let us know

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    • BrianRS profile image
      Author

      Brian Stephens 3 years ago from France

      @SandyMertens: Nothing better from the garden than a lovely crop of ripe red tomatoes. Glad yours are doing well. Thanks for the visit.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 3 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Good information. Our tomatoes are doing very well.

    • BrianRS profile image
      Author

      Brian Stephens 3 years ago from France

      @Adventuretravels: Got all my tips and tricks for growing great tomatoes from my father. He really did have green fingers and I always have plenty of lovely tomatoes in the summer thanks to what he taught me. Glad you found the lens useful.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 3 years ago from London UK

      This lens has certainly shown me where I went wrong last year. I had no success at all with my toms! I think I'll give it one more try. Thanks for your help.

    • VioletteRose LM profile image

      VioletteRose LM 3 years ago

      Ok, tomatoes may be fruits, but somehow I always think of them as vegetables!

    • VioletteRose LM profile image

      VioletteRose LM 3 years ago

      Tomatoes are one of my favourite vegetables, thanks so much for sharing so much info :)

    • profile image

      othellos 4 years ago

      We grow our own tomatoes and your lens is very helpful. Thank you for sharing this information and these tips. Very thorough and so well done!

    • BrianRS profile image
      Author

      Brian Stephens 4 years ago from France

      @RetireAt57: Many thanks

    • BrianRS profile image
      Author

      Brian Stephens 4 years ago from France

      @chi kung: You can grow tomatoes in a small space, but there are special considerations to take into account when you grow tomatoes in containers. The green tomato jam sounds great though, maybe a recipe lens needed for that :-)

    • chi kung profile image

      chi kung 4 years ago

      last autumn I made jam from green tomatoes after a saw a recipe on the internet- it tastes great!

      I'd love to grow my own tomatoes but I don't have a garden... once I planted some on the balcony but they were very small and only a couple of tomatoes to harvest...

    • profile image

      RetireAt57 4 years ago

      Those tomatoes look so good. Nice lens!

    • BrianRS profile image
      Author

      Brian Stephens 4 years ago from France

      @GardenerDon: Sorry to hear that, but when the tomatoes do come in, it must be a real treat. We love using our green tomatoes for chutney as well, delicious. So we always overrun the season a bit to get a good crop of them just for the chutney making. Thanks for dropping by.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      Spring is right around the corner so almost time to get the tomato sprigs started if we are to have tomatoes in the garden this year. I generally buy ours tomato plants pre-started (saves a little work). My husband loves his tomatoes fresh off the vine.

    • GardenerDon profile image

      Gardener Don 4 years ago

      Lot's of great info, but sadly at the latitude I live at getting tomatoes to harvest is a crapshoot - likely 2 yrs out of 5 we may get ripened tomatoes.

    • BrianRS profile image
      Author

      Brian Stephens 4 years ago from France

      @Lady Lorelei: Hi Ladymermaid, yes we love them too and it won't be long before we are tucking into those delicious tomatoes again. You have a little longer if you grow from plants, but it still won't be too long before you need to get started. Thanks for dropping in.

    • profile image

      Toy-Tester 4 years ago

      Thank you for the great lens and information. Greatly appreciated

    • BrianRS profile image
      Author

      Brian Stephens 4 years ago from France

      @MBradley McCauley: Thanks Mary, that is much appreciated.

    • MBradley McCauley profile image

      MBradley McCauley 4 years ago

      Adding it to my Pot Gardens are Easy lens. Your information is excellent, well written and presented in a nice style.

    • rasnasah profile image

      rasnasah 4 years ago

      Nice lens.Great work.Thanks for sharing.

    • ggpalms lm profile image

      ggpalms lm 4 years ago

      Thanks for the terrific information on growing tomtoes. I love to grow heirloom varieties. They are the best tasting ones and come true from seed!

    • VictoriaKelley profile image

      VictoriaKelley 4 years ago

      Thanks for the info on Tomatoes. We have grown them in recycled containers, aquaponics and they are awesome. My son picks them fresh off the vine and eats them :-)

    • BrianRS profile image
      Author

      Brian Stephens 4 years ago from France

      @GardenIdeasHub LM: I hope so, but it looks like you know a fair amount about gardening already. Thanks for the compliment though.

    • GardenIdeasHub LM profile image

      GardenIdeasHub LM 4 years ago

      Thanks for your advice about growing tomatoes I think it will really help me.

    • BrianRS profile image
      Author

      Brian Stephens 4 years ago from France

      @getmoreinfo: A couple of tomato plants, properly cared for, can easily produce enough tomatoes for 2 people. We usually grow 1/2 a dozen and still end up giving loads away.

    • nickybutler profile image

      nickybutler 4 years ago

      Some great info here, thanks for sharing!

    • BrianRS profile image
      Author

      Brian Stephens 4 years ago from France

      @nickybutler: Glad you found it useful, thanks for the comment.

    • BrianRS profile image
      Author

      Brian Stephens 4 years ago from France

      @dragonlildragon: Cherry tomatoes are gorgeous and your little bit of dressing sounds perfect.

    • BrianRS profile image
      Author

      Brian Stephens 4 years ago from France

      @anonymous: Glad it helped, this lens and the book were written for people wanting to get started or having a few problems growing tomatoes. So you are a perfect match to the information.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 4 years ago

      We have a couple of Tomato Plants in the garden too.

    • dragonlildragon profile image

      dragonlildragon 4 years ago

      My fave tomatoes are cherry tomatoes. Garden fresh are always the best. I enjoy eating them with a little olive oil drizzled and some salt.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This made it easy for me to plan my garden. I really didn't know where to even start before I read this lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      nice

    • Kumar P S profile image

      Kumar P S 5 years ago

      Great lens ! Very useful tips. Thanks for sharing.

    • TTMall profile image

      TTMall 5 years ago

      It looks very helpful. Thank you very much!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      thank you i have learnt a lot about tomatoes its helped me with my project

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Whew, I was here back in 2010 and your tomatoes still make my mouth water!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have always grown tomatoes but have learned a lot more today from this lens thanks

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      I've grown tomatoes in the past. I should do it again and follow your advice.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Yum, there is nothing like a good homegrown tomato!

    • PaulWinter profile image

      PaulWinter 5 years ago

      I love growing tomatoes . I'm looking forward to harvesting my first home-grown ones of the year.

    • profile image

      mumsgather 5 years ago

      I've failed a few times with the vines, maybe I'll try the bush variety. They look interesting. I don't mind having them all growing at the same time.

    • profile image

      Helene-Malmsio 5 years ago

      I was very happy with my bumper crop of organic home grown tomatoes and other veg this year.... this lens is very helpful for others wanting to learn how to enjoy their own fresh produce, as tomato plant care is a skill that has to be learned, not by good luck only!

    • infiniti99 lm profile image

      infiniti99 lm 5 years ago

      Awesome lens great information.I love juicy garden fresh tomatoes when you can almost taste the dirt so to speak.Big difference from grocery store bought ones and the Genetically Modified crap.

    • profile image

      ShowMeYourTatts 5 years ago

      I've been wanting to start a vegetable garden, tomatoes included. These are great tips. Thank you!

    • BrianRS profile image
      Author

      Brian Stephens 5 years ago from France

      @queenofduvetcover: You are very welcome, glad to be of help,

    • queenofduvetcover profile image

      queenofduvetcover 5 years ago

      Yes it has. These are excellent tips. Thanks for sharing.

    • awesomedealz4u profile image

      awesomedealz4u 5 years ago

      Good info, thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      it did, doing something better is always nice. gave your lens a 'thumbs up'.

    • BrianRS profile image
      Author

      Brian Stephens 6 years ago from France

      @happyholidays: Well it has helped mine, bumper crop this year. So good luck, it is relatively easy when you get started.

    • MamaBelle profile image

      Francis Luxford 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I should really grow some tomatoes in my garden. Great lens!

    • TIRMassageStone1 profile image

      TIRMassageStone1 6 years ago

      Cool stuff!

    • blessedmomto7 profile image

      blessedmomto7 6 years ago

      Thanks for the tips and the links! Very helpful!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      Good guide - I'll definitely keep this in mind when I start working on my garden.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      It is quite easy to grow tomatoes and fresh tomatoes really taste great. Thanks for the tips.

    • profile image

      hampstead 6 years ago

      I have never found it easy to grow tomatoes in my backyard garden. I will bookmark your lens for future use snd hope I have better luck.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      Great lens - we love our tomato garden - it's fantastic to eat fresh tomatoes straight from the vine and they're a boon in the freezer, all-year-round.

    • profile image

      Dinostore 6 years ago

      I sure wish I had this when I tried planting garden a wile back :) Useful info! Thumbs up and fav'd.

    • jvsper63 profile image

      jvsper63 6 years ago

      Those tomatoes look perfect.I love raw tomatoes. I would love to grow them. Joni

    • jojokaya lm profile image

      jojokaya lm 6 years ago

      very informative. I love tomatoes.

    • profile image

      poutine 6 years ago

      I love growing tomatoes, I can't wait for the spring.

    • profile image

      SofiaMann 6 years ago

      Yes, thanks for the info.

    • reflectionhaiku profile image

      reflectionhaiku 6 years ago

      Very helpful and informative lens- we grow our tomatoes every year. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love tomatoes and they are the most easy plants for gardening. I remember my father planting the seeds and they grew quite tall. So many tomatoes ..........

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      You Big Picture in the The preliminaries of tomato care module really made my mouth water. I am always sad when we pick the last tomato of the summer. Lensrolled these great tips to my Tomato Pie Recipe lens.

    • profile image

      CR2000 6 years ago

      I'm growing tomatoes in my back yard ...and your info is very interesting thank you :)

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image

      VarietyWriter2 6 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel :)

    • profile image

      kirstyrebecca 7 years ago

      My grandfather used to grow lovely tomatoes and give them to all the family. It would be really nice to grow my own. Maybe I can now that you have provided all this information on it.

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 7 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      At my local farmer's market they are selling heirloom tomatoes right now, and they are really yummy. I am such a huge tomato fan. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Well done, I love tomatoes.

    • JoleneBelmain profile image

      JoleneBelmain 7 years ago

      Yum I love tomatoes and you make them look just sooooo good.

    • profile image

      Obscure_Treasures 7 years ago

      I want to leave my congratulations to this superb lens.I found lots of useful information,Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      world best fruitjuice monavie

    • BrianRS profile image
      Author

      Brian Stephens 7 years ago from France

      @rewards4life info: Definitely worth growing your own, and for taste try the heirloom varieties. They are much better than say Alicante. Thanks for the comment.

    • BrianRS profile image
      Author

      Brian Stephens 7 years ago from France

      @Lady Lorelei: Many thanks, I think your lenses are pretty cool to

    • JoleneBelmain profile image

      JoleneBelmain 7 years ago

      Perfect for gardening season which is just around the corner.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 7 years ago from Canada

      Beautiful article ... as are all of your lenses here on Squidoo :)

      Hope you are having a great summer...

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 7 years ago

      Lots of good info on growing your own tomatoes. Maybe we will try this next year. Thanks for sharing. =)

    • profile image

      Weblady 7 years ago

      Wow lots of information on tomato growing, I think even I might be able to grow some now.

    • profile image

      kirstyrebecca 7 years ago

      There really is nothing better than fresh food from the garden, my grandad used to give us tomatoes that he grew and they were always delicious.

    • BrianRS profile image
      Author

      Brian Stephens 8 years ago from France

      [in reply to RICHARD SULIVAN ( ricksulivan@aol.com)] Sounds like it could be blossom end rot, this could be for a number of reasons. Too much nitrogen, growing in limey or sandy soil or extremes of dry or wet conditions. Generally I would also say it is better to water 2 to 3 times a day as well, you want to get an even application of water to the plants that leaves them neither saturated or dried out i.e. you want to avoid variable soil moisture.

      Hope that helps.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I noticed that my tomato is very typical. the lower part of the fruit is becoming dry.

      There is enough sunshine everyday. Good watering is done in the morning.

      What makes the lower half of the fruit become brown and dry?

    • profile image

      dannystaple 8 years ago

      Hi this lens has beautiful pictures. Thanks for adding it to the All About Growing Food Group.

    • Princessa LM profile image

      Princessa LM 8 years ago

      Hi, great to see you here. I have done some tomato growing, it was fantastic for cherry tomatoes but I was not that lucky for the other variations. I might start again, you fill me with confidence that this time I'll succeed