There might not be a better flavour of summer than the perfectly ripe garden tomato. Picked straight from the garden, a fresh tomato lets you taste summer’s sunshine with each bite.
Tomatoes are incredibly popular garden plants, thanks in part to the staggering difference between homegrown and supermarket varieties. As much as the flavour and nutritional content of garden-grown produce have a clear advantage, we also think that the sheer variety of options is part of the tomato’s success. With so many choices, there’s something to fit everyone’s lifestyle, taste, and garden style, and with such a simple growing formula it’s easy to come out with a great harvest. Here are our tips on how to take your homegrown tomatoes to the next level.
Planting Tomatoes Made Simple
Tomatoes are easy-to-grow plants, but a bit of knowledge makes the difference between a mediocre harvest and an amazing one. The first task in planting your tomatoes is to choose your type. Tomatoes are normally categorized as determinate (bushy types that don’t require much pruning, stalking, or maintenance) and indeterminate (unruly plants that require a little more care but produce more fruit). You also have choices in size from small and sweet snacking cherry tomatoes to large, beefy tomatoes for slicing onto sandwiches and burgers.
Choose plants that are robust and stocky, not ones that have grown lanky. This is true whether you grow your own from seed or buy from the store; you’ll want to start your garden with only the best plants.
Choose a spot in the garden with full sun exposure. Tomatoes thrive on heat and will give you tastier fruits the warmer they are all season, so full exposure to sunlight (without too much exposure to winds) is perfect. Plant in well-draining soil to prevent root rot, but consider layering some mulch on top once you plant to lock moisture and heat in.
When you plant, you can plant part of the stem in the ground to grow roots, too. This is a great way to save any plants that might have stretched and gotten lanky while you waited to plant. Any part of the stem planted underground will grow roots, so take off the leaves and plant about a third of the stem in the ground.
Some Garden Classics
Choosing a type from all of the different varieties can be daunting, but we’ve narrowed it down with a few of our favourites to grow in our own gardens.
For great determinate varieties that taste great with little intervention from you. We love the Tumbler and Roma varieties. These produce great flavour and lots of harvest without too much intervention from you, making them an ideal low-stress option.
If you like to put a bit more of a personal touch and love and care into your garden, though, indeterminates are a good choice. For most tomatoes, the flavour, quality, and quantity of tomatoes in indeterminate varieties can’t be matched. For those craving big, delicious, plump tomatoes, Beefmaster is a great choice. Early Girl offers the best of everything in a medium size, reaching maturity early in the season. For those looking for a sweet snacking tomato, though, look no further than Sweet Million.
Heirloom tomatoes are the choice for the traditionalist that wants something unique in their garden. There are many delicious and creatively-coloured tomatoes, like Green Zebra and Black Krim, that will have your dinner plate dressed up with natural beauty.
Growing top tomatoes in your garden isn’t difficult, and the rewards are so delicious that it’s hard to see why you wouldn’t want to grow your own. With so many tasty choices, there’s a tomato that’s suited for anyone and everyone’s space. The only challenge will be getting the tomatoes to the kitchen before eating them all off the vine!