Buying tomato plants is much easier than starting them from seeds. While seeds need to be started indoors and carefully cultivated, you can avoid the first few steps in growing them by purchasing plants ready to be transplanted into your garden. Before making your purchase, here are a few things to consider:
- Tomatoes come in many different varieties. Decide whether you want large or small ones like cherry, grape, or even plum tomatoes that work great when you make tomato sauce. There are also different colors, aside from the usual red varieties. Yellow are delicious and add a nice touch to both the appearance of your garden and the presentation of your salads and other dishes.
- Try a few different types in your garden if you can. Some will grow and flourish better than others. The terms 'determinate' and 'indeterminate' may appear in the plant descriptions. Determinate refers to a plant with a thick stalk that doesn't need a trellis to contain its vines. Indeterminate varieties have long vines and the fruit will continue to grow and mature throughout the season.
- Measure your space and decide how much of it you want to allot to this particular fruit. They will need to be planted in rows, and the space between rows and plants will vary between varieties. Check the tags that accompany the plants to see how much room you will need, and buy enough plants to fill the space.
- Only purchase dark green, leafy plants that stand straight up. Yellowed or wilted ons likely already have some type of disease or at the very least have been weakened by not getting enough water or sunlight. If there are a lot of damaged leaves or stalks, take a pass and look for a heartier plant.
- When you purchase, you should also invest in cages and bamboo stakes, to protect the plant as they grow. Since the fruit is so heavy, they tend to fall over near harvest. To stake the plants, push the stakes into the soil and gently tie the main stalk of the plant to the stake with tape or string.
- Check the tag to see how long they take to mature. Depending on where you live, the growing season may be long or short because of the changes in weather. For short seasons, you'll need to find ones that have a shorter maturity duration.
- Also on the tag, you'll find the diseases and insects they are susceptible to. The fewer items on this list, the better!
- They can be transplanted into your garden as soon as there is no risk of morning frost. For best results, wait until the soil has had a chance to warm up and stay warm. Consider picking up some black plastic mulch for your garden bed to keep the soil warm and in perfect condition if it's still early in the season. Also be sure to purchase some fertilizer and "food" to nourish them throughout the season.
Tomatoes continue to be one of the most popular plants found in vegetable gardens in North America so it is important to know how to buy. With a little attention and care, you can successfully grow this wonderful fruit in your own backyard, and enjoy the fruits of your labors!constitutes
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