Tomato-Planting Tips

Want to feast on homegrown tomatoes this summer? In most areas, you have until Memorial Day to get your garden started. Just follow these planting tips.

0805yellow-tomoto
Photo by Sang An
  • Your local nursery will carry tomato varieties that grow well in your area. Look for plants that are short and bushy, with dark foliage and no flowers.
     
  • For bite-size tomatoes, go with any type of grape or cherry tomato. For larger tomatoes, try the Brandywine heirloom variety. Dreaming of meaty slices on a sandwich? Pick beefsteak. If you have a hard time choosing, go to vegvariety.cce.cornell.edu for a fuller description of hundreds of varieties.
     
  • The key to thriving tomatoes is at least six hours of sunshine daily and regular watering. The Tomato Success Kit ($65, gardeners.com) takes care of the irrigation for you. In addition to soil, fertilizer, and mulch, it includes a planter with a built-in watering system.
     
  • How to tell when tomatoes are perfectly ripe? For tips on picking and storing them, see picking and storing tomatoes.