Have you tried growing tomatoes at home with little (or mixed) success? You aren’t alone! That being said, tomatoes are not difficult to grow – when you follow the right tips. If you want to know how to grow tomatoes, keep reading to get the top tomato growing tips from an expert.
Tomatoes are arguably the most popular garden crop. They are also often the first vegetable that new gardeners will attempt to grow, dreaming of tomato perfection: juicy but firm, sweet, and free of blemishes.
There is nothing better than sinking your teeth into a sun-warmed, juicy tomato straight from your own garden. Garden tomatoes are so much better than any tomato you can buy in the grocery store, which is why they are so popular as a home garden crop.
Growing tomatoes, however, can be tricky. They are often the first plant that new gardeners try and, unfortunately, sometimes with disastrous, frustrating results.
How Do You Grow The Best Tomatoes?
It’s not that tomatoes are particularly difficult to grow. However, they do need regular attention, as they are prone to disease and pests. Often a new gardener (and even the seasoned ones!) will plant tomatoes with the best intentions and then forget to check up on the plant.
If this sounds like you, then you will love this! I had the honor of interviewing an organic gardening expert, Joe Lamp’l, who joins us today with a short video where he shares helpful tomato growing secrets so that you can grow the best tomatoes in town!
Joe Lamp’l is the executive producer and host of the award-winning PBS series Growing a Greener World. He has been kind enough to answer my questions and share his wisdom to help us all grow better tomatoes this season.
We will share some of his top tips on how to grow tomatoes in this post. However, be sure to check out his short, helpful video (down below) so you can get more detailed answers and see first-hand how Joe successfully grows tomatoes. This video is jam-packing with beneficial tomato growing tips!
If you have ever wondered about the answers to any of these common tomato-growing questions:
- Do you start tomatoes from seed or by tomato starts?
- When is the best time to plant tomatoes in the home garden?
- Which varieties should gardeners grow?
- Do all tomatoes need staking? What support should I use?
- How should I fertilize my tomatoes to keep them organic?
- How do I pinch the suckers off of my tomatoes? And why is it important?
- Do you have any more tips for growing the best tomatoes in town?
Then watch the video below for helpful, detailed information regarding successfully growing tomatoes at home.
How to Grow Tomatoes: Tomato Growing Tips From an Expert
Let’s break it down a little into a quick-reference version. This is just a brief overview – if you want more detailed information about successfully growing tomatoes, watch the video.
Here are a few of Joe’s top tomato growing tips for the best tomatoes:
Start From Seeds
If you have the time or enjoy getting a jump on the growing season, start your tomatoes from seeds. However, if you don’t have the time, you can buy seedlings or starter plants from your local nursery or farmers market.
Top Planting Tips: When and How to Plant Your Tomato Plants
Tomatoes love warm temperatures and are very frost-sensitive. For success when growing tomatoes, only plant them outside after the risk of frost has passed.
Plant your tomato plants deep. They are one of the few vegetable garden plants that do best when you dig a deep hole and plant them, as it lets your plants develop better root systems. Use a soil knife to dig your hole, pull bottom leaves off, and plant them deeper than you probably think. Watch the video to see just how deep.
The most important thing for tomatoes is nutritious soil! Add amendments and nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer.
Watering Your Tomato Plants
Use a controlled nozzle to water tomato plants. This enables you to water carefully and avoid getting foliage wet, which will keep the plants healthier.
Tomatoes are very juicy, which means they need a good amount of water as they are growing. One of the top mistakes that gardeners make when growing tomatoes is to water infrequently – missing several days of watering and then trying to make up for it leads to blossom end rot, so water regularly and deeply.
Keeping Disease and Pests at Bay
Be vigilant! Check your tomatoes every day for signs of disease and immediately remove any infected leaves or fruit to prevent any disease from spreading.
Thank you so much for your time and helpful tips, Joe!
If you have ever wanted to grow tomatoes or had trouble successfully growing tomatoes in the past, I hope Joe’s tomato growing tips helped to answer your questions about how to grow tomatoes and enjoy a large yield of delicious, garden-fresh fruit this summer!
About the Expert
Joe Lamp’l’s (aka joe gardener®) infatuation with gardening and nature began as a child. As one of the country’s most recognized and trusted personalities in gardening and sustainability, that passion for living a greener life is evident to a nationwide audience who watches Joe in his current role as Executive Producer and Host of the award-winning PBS series, Growing a Greener World® and previously as host of Fresh from the Garden on DIY Network and GardenSMART.
Joe also shares his know-how on NBC’s TODAY SHOW, ABC’s Good Morning America, The Weather Channel, and through his popular books, podcast series, nationally syndicated newspaper column, and more.
I love growing tomatoes. This was very helpful to know what I am doing right and how to improve my harvest. Joe is great and I love his show!
Hello I live here in Dillon SC and I want your advice on what soil mixture I should use to grow my tomatoes. Also In the past I have always watered my tomatoes in the late afternoon between 4 PM and 6 PM. I always soaked the soil around the base of the plants never wetting the leaves. Once the fruit has set I remove the leaves allowing the plant to focus its energy on the fruits only.
Please offer any suggestions on what I am doing that is good or bad.
Hello Stephanie Rose, I really enjoyed reading your article about growing tomatoes, I found it very helpful. Thank you, Richard