There's nothing better than a fresh, home grown tomato in the summer. If you're not growing your own by now, you should really start — tomatoes can be grown only in the ground, but also in a container or even a hanging basket. Once you've gotten all of your ingredients planting your own tomato garden takes all of about 5 minutes — find out how to get started after the jump.
What You Need
Organic Tomato Seedlings (we love Sun Gold and Purple Cherokee)
Natural Organic Potting Soil (We use Black Gold)
Large Pots (over 14" diameter & 12" deep, with drainage holes at the bottom)
Natural Fertilizer (optional - we use a fish emulsion)
Watering Can (optional if no water spigot is available)
1. Purchase organic tomato seedlings from a a reputable source (if you're not growing from seed) such as a green house, farmer's market or small local garden store. Heirloom variety is best, and if you're planting more than one seedling, pick a variety of sizes, styles and days to maturity so that you get tomatoes throughout the season.
2. Fill your pot with natural organic potting soil — using good, healthly soil is particularly important for vegetable gardens, so that you produce healthy, edible foods. Fill pot so that there is only about 2" to the top of the rim.
3. Using either scissors, or just your fingers, clip off the branches of the bottom half of the seedling.
4. Scoop out the center of the pot to make room for your plant.
5. Take seedling out of container and place into pot deep enough so that it is buried half way up the stalk. This is important for getting a stable, healthy plant. Add additional dirt if needed.
6. Water plants thouroughly — basically you can't water too much, but you can water too little.
7. Add name tags, continue to water plants about every day and use natural fertilizer if wanted. Add tomato cages when plants are getting large and need additional support.
8. Repeat with any other vegetable seedings (we love cucumber and basil) and enjoy eating your own home grown produce!
Additional Notes: It really is best to plant more than one seedling, not only to get a variety of types of tomatoes, but also becuase you'll want them throughout the summer and they grow at different times, and also because there is a good chance that one of them might not make it. We always grow at least two varieties — a larger size and a cherry tomato, but after you give it a few seasons you'll figure out what your favorite varieties are and which ones are easiest to grow.
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(Images: Rachel Wray)