The Fantastic Guide on Growing Tomatoes

a bucket of tomatoes
Olga Shum /

Who doesn’t love fresh tomatoes? They are easy to take care after, and tomatoes can be even grown on the balcony of your apartment, which is great news for people who don’t have a backyard to grow produce in.

Almost anyone can grow tomatoes, however, you still have to learn the basics to ensure you grow healthy and delicious tomatoes. Bellow, we’ll take a look at the suitable type of soil for growing tomatoes, how you should water and care for the tomato plant. And if you put in the work and properly care for the plant this can result in a year-round tomato growth! So, let’s take a look at how to grow tomatoes properly!

The perfect soil for growing tomatoes

The perfect soil for tomatoes is one that has an acidity of 6.0 to 6.6 pH, which means soil on the acidic side. You can measure the pH level easily by purchasing a test kit online. The perfect soil for growing tomatoes is one that is well-drained and can retain moisture. When growing tomatoes you should avoid wet and compacted soil, because roots won’t develop and dry and sandy soil isn’t healthy for the tomatoes.

Where to position tomatoes for the best growth

Where to grow and plant the tomatoes
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Tomatoes love sunlight. In order to grow delicious tomatoes, you’ll need to provide at least six to eight hours of sunlight a day! That’s why it’s important to carefully plan where to plant or position your pot of tomatoes.

Any place that receives plenty of light will be suitable for growing tomatoes.

Growing tomatoes in pots allow for moving the plant where sunlight is available. With good soil and enough sunlight provided, tomatoes thrive.

Growing tomatoes on the balcony

If you have a balcony with enough sunlight you can grow small quantities of tomatoes there. All you’ll need are a couple of pots full of quality soil and tomato seeds. You’ll need to choose a deep enough container as tomatoes have long roots. In order to keep the plant healthy, you’ll need to maintain the soil in the pots. Mulch is mandatory to keep the soil acidic.

Of course, if your balcony is large enough you can implement the keyhole gardening method.

How to collect tomato seeds

The best thing about growing tomatoes is that you can acquire seeds from a tomato that is laying in your fridge. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

1. Scoop half a tomato in a container.

Scoop the center of the tomato!

Cut a tomato in half and scoop the goop in the middle. It contains the seeds, which you can see. Put the goop in a jar with a loose lid.

2. Place the jar in a well-lit place.

Put the tomato seeds in a well-lit area.

A process of fermentation will begin soon after you set the seeds aside. It smells bad and it can look offsetting, however, that is perfectly normal. At this moment you should set the lit at the top but not airtight. Allow oxygen to get in and out.

3. Stir daily until mold forms.

Stir the goop daily until mold forms!

It takes two to three days until mold forms at the top. The mold will kill many diseases that may be genetically carried.

4. Harvest the seeds.

Rinse the tomato seeds.

After mold has formed the seeds are ready for harvesting. Remove the top layer of mold. By now all seeds should have fallen to the bottom of the container.

5. Sort the seeds.

Rinse the Seeds in Water

With the use of a strainer, separate the seeds from the other liquid. The only thing you will need is the leftover seeds.

6. Drying

Dry the seeds before storing them

The drying process can take up to five days. Spread the collected tomato seeds on a well-lit surface and let them dry. After tha, they are ready for planting.

Tip: If you decide to keep the seeds for next year make sure to store them in a dark and cold place. Your refrigerator will do a great job. Read our guide to harvesting and storing seeds.

How to grow tomatoes from slices

If you are looking for a method that’s even easier than the one above, then you should try growing your tomatoes from slices.
There is nothing complicated in this method. Here are the steps to take in order to grow tomatoes from slices:

  • Grab a container with potting soil.
    Fill a container with potting soil almost all the way to the top.
  • Place the tomato slice on top.
    The slices must be around 1-2 cm in thickness.
  • Cover them with a bit of dirt.

Keep the soil moist all the time. In about a week and a half to two weeks you will start to see buds growing. If you want to grow your tomatoes in your backyard then you’ll need to transfer the strongest buds in the ground.

Tomatoes and diseases

Tomatoes and how to protect them from diseases!
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Just like any plant tomatoes can succumb to diseases. There are ways to protect them and still have healthy fruits. Tomatoes rot easily. This is a big problem for them. Typically rotting at the bottom this is called a Blossom End Rot. Gardeners don’t exactly know what causes it, but people believe it to be from insufficient calcium in the soil.

Other things that may cause Blossom End Rot is too much salt in the soil, pH that is far off from 6.5 (both higher and lower) and too much nitrogen in the soil. If any of the fruits from your plant starts to show these problems you should remove them immediately! There is no way to save rotting fruit. Make sure to clean your plant from all rotting fruits.

Great companion plants for tomatoes

If you decide to grow your tomatoes in the garden, then you can grow companion plants that will help you with regulating the soil and producing better and more delicious fruits. These would work awesome if your tomato containers are spacy enough too. Here are some plants that you might want to consider:

  • Basil
    If you have a problem with insects then you can grow basil in order to repel the nasty buggers. Also, tomatoes planted neal basil tend to be healthier and more delicious.
  • Garlic
    Garlic is great for repelling spiders.
  • Mint and Parsley
    Planted near the tomato plant are great for improving flavour.

And all of the plants listed above go great in combination with tomatoes. So, that’s the perfect package for all your cooking needs as well.

We can help you grow tomatoes and more! Just get in touch with your local gardener!
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2 years ago

I like this site. It’s simple and easy to understand – it’s not cluttered up with lots of information that isn’t really needed for the novice in the back-yard.
The simplicity is around ‘what to’ & ‘how to’. Though, ‘when to’ would be a welcome inclusion.
An added bonus which other sites tend to ignore is the companion planting – for instance, I have planted Basil with my tomatoes.

The Fantastic Team
The Fantastic Team
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin

Hi, Colin. Thank you for the kind words and suggestions!

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