Gardening · Growing Vegetables

How to Choose Tomato Plants for Your Garden – Part 2

Black Prince Tomatos in our garden in the middle of September 2015.
Black Prince Tomatos in our garden in the middle of September 2015.

Part # 2 of this Article.

This is part 2 of this article. To read part one about the basic two kinds of tomatos you should know about, please follow this link.

I plan to publish part 3 of this article this week. I will tell you there about two companies I have purchased my tomatos seed from, as well as which tomatos I have already tried in my garden and with what results.

If you find this article interesting, please subscribe to my blog to receive automatic updates with new blog posts. For now, I usually publish one article per week. This article is an exception since it is part of a series.

Be More Specific What Are You Looking For.

When choosing tomato plants, you also need to think about what kind of tomatos you like to eat and what is your favorite way to prepare them. For example, do you mostly like to eat them raw or cooked? Would you like to preserve some of them for later and in what form? Some tomatos are best eaten raw, other are perfect for using in a sauce or drying them up. Also consider how many tomatos you actually need for your family, or perhaps also for a commercial use.  This will help you to decide how many plants you need to grow.

A tomato sauce I made from our Amish Paste tomatos in 2016.
A tomato sauce I made from our Amish Paste tomatos in 2016.

Do You Have the Space and Time to Grow Tomatos and How Many Plants?

You need to think in advance where you would like to plant tomatos. Do you have a sunny spot in your garden with well drained soil where you can grow your tomato plants?  All tomatos love sun and warmth and they will not grow well in a dark corner or with a soggy soil. Also you need to prepare your soil in advance so it won’t be too heavy and it will keep moisture well. Perhaps you need to improve it by adding some soil amendments like peat moss, good quality organic compost or composted manure.

Plan how many plants you can grow there and still keep a sufficient distance between the mature plants. They should not block light to each other or be in a shade caused by other plants or surrounding building/fences. Of course it is hard to make sure all these condition will be perfectly met for all your plants, but at least be aware of them and try to do your best.  For example I usually position my tomatos at least 2-3 feet apart and place higher plants to the back, so they will cause less shadows during the day.

Also make sure you have time to water them regularly, especially when they are very small and in case there is not enough rain.

A close up of our tomato seedlings adjusting to outside conditions. They are still in a tray so it is easy to take them all home at night, to protect them from cold temperatures.
A close up of our tomato seedlings adjusting to the outside conditions. They are still in a tray so it is easy to take them all home at night, to protect them from cold temperatures.

Decide if You Would Like to Grow Your Tomatos From Seeds or From So Called Starter Plants.

Decide if you would like to grow your plants from seeds or just buy ready to plant small tomato seedlimgs from a local nursery, garden center or perhaps mail order companies. As a rather ambitious grower and also because I wanted to make sure I grow only no GMO plants, I have so far grown all my tomatos from seeds with a big success. I guess I was lucky since most, if not all my seeds germinated, and after discarding some weakest seedlings, if any, they kept growing pretty fast.

In my first year I have planted about 3 seeds into one seedlings growing pot and I was very surprised to see them growing so well.  I have ended up with at least twice or three times the number of tomato plants I was planning to grow and I have to give away at least 50% of my seedlings to my family and friends.  Next year I have planted much less tomatos and still have ended with at least 15 plants – a bit too many for my garden and also needed to donate some.  But you never know when planting seeds how many of them will actually germinate and be able to grow well, so it usually a good idea to plant some more than you needs in case some of them will not sprout, be of an inferior quality or die.

When you plant seeds, you need to do it a few months in advance of the time you plan to move your tomato plants permanently to your garden. You can only grow them outside after the danger of frost has past. So find out first when is the estimated last frost time in your area and plan accordingly.  Also you need to have a place with good lighting to grow your plants inside your house, or in a greenhouse. You should protect them from cold, wind and remember to water them just right.

If you don’t have time or space to take care of your seedlings, it might be better just to buy starter plants from a good nursery, which keeps their plants healthy and pests free.  You don’t want to introduces any disease or insects to your garden, which could damage or kill your plants.

Black Prince and other tomato plants growing in our garden, along with calendula flowers, other vegetables and herbs in the middle of September 2015. This was my first year when I have started gardening. All our edible plants were organically grown.
Black Prince and other tomato plants growing in our garden, along with calendula flowers, other vegetables and herbs in the middle of September 2015. This was my first year of gardening experience.  All our edible plants were organically grown.

Stay Tuned to Part 3 of this Article. Please Share this Article and Comment on the Blog.

I will tell you more about growing tomatos plants in Part 3 of this article, which I also plan to release this week. If you like this article, please share it with people who might be interested in reading it, and follow this blog to receive future updates. I write here about gardening, garden design, herbs and occasionally about essential oils. Besides such subjects, I mention interesting garden related shows and events, as well as I review the most beautiful gardens I have visited.

I am curious to know which tomato plants you have already tried in your garden, which one are your favorite and why.

Copyright Info.

All photographs and this article are copyrighted by me, Renata Ratajczyk. I you would like to use any of them in your publications or on your website, please contact me. Thank you.

Other Articles You Might Also Like.

  1. How to Choose the Right Kind of Tomatos for Your Garden – Part 1.
  2. Seven Important Questions to Ask When Choosing Plants for Your Garden.
  3. How I Have Started My First Garden – Part 1: Deciding Where to Grow Flowers, Vegetables and Herbs.
  4. Are All Weeds Bad? Burdock in Our Garden and How You Can Use It. Starting and Designing Our First Garden – Part 2.

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