Who doesn’t love a freshly ripe tomato? One way to make them taste even better is to grow them yourself! There are many different ways to grow a tomato plant. Some people swear by the soil-based method, while others succeed with hydroponics. The key to growing a perfect tomato plant is choosing the proper method for you and following the instructions carefully. This article will discuss both ways in detail so that you can make an informed decision about which one is best for you.
What Is Soil-Based Growing?
Soil-based growing is a method of growing tomato plants that involves planting them in soil and letting the roots take over. This is the most traditional way of producing a tomato plant, and some people find it to be a lot easier than hydroponics. However, not everyone has access to suitable soil for this type of growth. For those who do, here is a list of the steps required to grow a perfect soil-based tomato plant!
Step 1: Soak The Seeds
Many people skip this step, but it is crucial to ensure that your seedlings end up with a healthy crop of tomatoes. Soaking the seeds overnight will encourage them to germinate faster and give you healthier plants in return. This step is vital because there is a high possibility that the seeds will not germinate otherwise.
Step 2: Prepare The Soil
Soil choice is important when growing any plant. The soil should be nutrient-rich and free of any contaminants, no matter what. It is also important to ensure that no weeds are growing in the area where you will plant your tomato seeds. To prepare the soil for planting, add two inches of compost and mix it with 1/3 part peat moss or coco coir (coconut husks).
Step 3: Plant Your Seeds
Planting tomato seeds is easy. You can plant tomato seeds in a very shallow hole, which should be about 1/2 an inch deep. Soaking the soil beforehand will make this a lot easier. After planting the seed, cover it with a small amount of soil and water it.
Step 4: Keep It Moist!
Now that you have planted your seeds, you must keep the area moist until they start sprouting. This is important because they tend to dry out faster than regular plants once the seeds have germinated due to their delicate nature. Make sure to water your plants twice daily, once in the morning and once at night.
Step 5: Feed Them
Remember how the part about making sure that the soil is nutrient-rich? It is essential for this step because you will need to feed your plants regularly! After sprouting, give them a liquid fertilizer every two weeks. Once the plants have grown to a height of about six inches, start giving them a high phosphorus fertilizer.
Step 6: Support Your Plants!
When your plants have grown to be about three months old, you will notice that they are starting to sag. This is entirely normal for this type of plant, so it is important to support them so they can continue growing. You can choose whatever method you prefer; tomato plants are flexible. Some people string up jute fencing around the perimeter of where they are growing their tomato plants. Alternatively, you can opt for a metal or plastic trellis support system. If you’re feeling creative, you can also use an old ladder.
Step 7: Pinch The Growing Tips
As the plants continue to grow, they begin to produce more and more fruit. This can be a problem because it makes the branches heavy and weakens them. To prevent this from happening, pinch the growing tips on the topmost branches of your plant. This will encourage the growth of new branches, which means that there will be more tomatoes for you!
Step 8: Reap The Rewards!
Now that you have learned how to grow the perfect tomato plant using the soil-based method, all you need to do is wait until it’s time for harvest. To know when your plants are ready to be harvested, remember when they change color. If you look at the leaves when you notice the color change, your tomato plant will be ready in about 65 days. Make sure to check once in a while, though!
What Is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is the act of growing plants in nutrient-rich water without soil. Because there is no soil, hydroponic plants are usually grown indoors. One reason it’s becoming more popular than traditional gardening is that you can do it practically anywhere. There are no limitations for where you can grow your plants, which makes this method very appealing to those trying to create sustainable gardens. This is also one of the best methods for growing a perfect tomato plant!
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
- Before you begin, it is crucial to make sure that you are prepared. The materials that you will need are:
- Nutrient reservoir
- Growing bed
- Water pump
- Air pump
- Lid for the nutrient reservoir
- pH testing kit
You should keep in mind that your plant needs oxygen to survive, so make sure an air pump is included in your hydroponics system, and make sure there is a hole in the top of the nutrient reservoir so the oxygen can enter.
Step 2: Plant Your Seeds
Once you have gathered all of your materials, it is time to plant your seeds! The first thing you will need to do is take your growing medium and fill up the water reservoir. You may want to use a small spoon for this. Then, take your seeds and sprinkle them evenly throughout the growing medium.
Step 3: Prepare The Nutrient Solution
This is one of the most crucial steps when it comes to hydroponics. If you want your plant to grow perfectly, you must do this step correctly. First off, if you are using a water pump, it is important to make sure the nutrient reservoir lid is on tight. Second, you will need to get your pH testing kit out and test your water. With the hydroponics system off, add the nutrients one drop at a time until there are no ‘clumps’ in between drops. The consistency of this liquid should be like that of a milkshake. Once you have successfully done this, it is time for the next step!
Step 4: Turn On Your Hydroponics System
The next step to hydroponics is to turn on your system and watch your perfect tomato plant grow! The water pump will pump the nutrient solution from the reservoir into your growing tray, which will further infuse your plant’s roots with the nutrients they need to grow healthy. Make sure you check on your plant every so often, and also make sure that the nutrient solution is at the right level before you turn off your system!
Step 5: Water When Needed
If you decide to select hydroponics to grow your tomato plant, this next step is simple: water when needed. However, before you begin this step, be sure to check on your plant and see if algae is growing in the nutrient solution. If there is, then that means that the pH level of your solution needs to be adjusted or cleaned! The way to know if your tomato plant needs more water is by looking at the leaves. If they are droopy, then you need to water them!
Step 6: Harvest Your Tomatoes
Now that all of the hard work has paid off, it is time to harvest your tomato plant! The time it takes for your tomato to be ready depends on the type of tomato you are growing. Some cherry tomatoes will only take 50 days, whereas large beefsteak tomatoes can take 80 days! Once your tomato is ready, make sure you pick them off at the stem and enjoy!
If you are looking for the best way to grow your tomato plant, you must consider both methods. Hydroponics is the most efficient way to grow your tomato plant, but if you are looking for a more sustainable way, you should go with the soil-based method. Both methods have their pros and cons, but whichever you choose, just make sure it’s the right method for you! As long as you take the proper steps throughout, you will have the perfect tomato plant!