Tips for Faster Growing Tomatoes
Planting an edible garden is so exciting as we wait with great anticipation to reap a good harvest but if the truth can be told based on what we are growing can seem to take forever to reach our kitchens. Tomatoes for example are one of those edibles that requires patience as we wait for harvest time.
But what if I tell you that growing tomatoes from planting to harvest time can be much shorter, if your desire is to have a quicker harvest of tomatoes in a shorter time then stick around as we discuss how to make tomato plants grow faster.
9 Ways to have a Quicker Tomato Harvest
1. Choose a Variety that Matures Fast
There are many varieties of tomatoes but the key to a quicker harvest is to choose the ones that reach maturity faster, varieties such as hybrid Bush Early Girl Tomato, 4th of July tomato, Black Prince, Sun Gold, Early Girl, Bloody Butcher, Golden Sweet, Orange Roma, Early Doll, Juliet or Mini San Marzano, Tigerella, Black Cherry, Sub Artic Plant, Tomato Patio Choice, etc… there are so many more varieties of fast-growing tomatoes to choose. The key also when purchasing tomatoes is to check the descriptions for the number of days that variety would take to mature.
2. Prepare the Right Soil
Soil really does matter when it comes to growing plant species and the same is true for tomatoes, make sure that the soil is properly prepared. Tomatoes prefer a soil that’s well-drained and organic-rich, this soil type will encourage tomato plant deep rooting along with supplying the nutrients your tomatoes need to thrive and grow healthy.
3. Ensure that the Soil is Warm
Because tomatoes are heat lovers they thrive best in soil that is warm, in early spring pull back the mulch if mulch is present to expose the soil to the sun’s warmth. A clear plastic sheet placed over the bed will also help to encourage the soil to warm up, the use of cloches is very effective in helping to warm the soil.
4. Supply Adequate Lighting
Tomato plants are not only heat-loving plants but love lots of sunlight the more lighting the better, try to give your tomatoes at least 6-8 hours of sunlight. if I can, however, strive for 8 hours of sunlight, growing tomatoes indoors requires lots of light also, if the natural lighting (sunlight) is insufficient then consider installing grow lights this artificial light can help you to reap a good harvest of tomatoes. Try to give your indoor grow tomatoes at least 16 hours of artificial lighting. In our last article, we discussed how to grow tomatoes indoors, if you missed it you can check it out here.
To take advantage place the cloches in place 2-3 weeks before sowing your tomato seeds, the use of a cold frame can also help to keep the soil warm.
5. Properly Space Tomatoes
Tomatoes need the right spacing in order to grow healthy, planting these edibles too closely will encourage poor air circulation that will lead to disease issues. The required spacing however depends on the variety that’s been grown, read the instructions on the seed package for the correcting spacing. Some varieties need 3 ft of the distance between them, as a rule, 2 ft, in general, may be sufficient. Indeterminate tomatoes grow larger than determinate and therefore needs more space.
6. Harden Off Tomato Plants
Hardening off your tomato plant to acclimate to the outdoor environment is so important, about a week or so before setting your seedlings into the ground place them outdoors in a partially shaded area, this partial shade will provide the protection that your tomatoes needs from the wind and direct sunlight.
Let your tomato plants stay in the partially shaded area for a few hours then return indoors at night, over the course of 7 to 10 days expose tomatoes more and more to the sun and the wind until they have acclimated and can be set outdoors.
7. Proper Watering Methods
Another factor that determines the rate by which your tomatoes reach maturity is watering correctly, insufficient water will hinder your tomato plants from absorbing the nutrients it needs for proper growth while too much water will hinder air circulation around the roots. This build-up of moisture will cause the tomatoes’ roots to become saturated and stunt if this persists water absorption will be restricted. Root rot may also set in.
The soil should be evenly moist, before watering however check the soil moisture level by sticking your finger into the few top inches of soil, a soil probe or moisture can also be used. These tools can be purchased from your plant nursery or garden center if the soil feels dry water tomatoes thoroughly. Remember don’t overwater or saturated the soil, tomatoes that are grown in containers dries out faster than tomatoes that are planted directly into the ground so you will have to monitor the containers more often. Around the end of July discontinue watering tomatoes because this break in supplying your tomatoes with water will encourage your tomatoes to ripen that will lead to a quicker harvest.
8. Support Tomatoes with Stakes or Trellis
Supporting your tomatoes is so important, the use of stakes and trellis can help with this, stakes and trellis will keep your tomatoes off the ground while exposing them to direct sunlight. Tomatoes that are allowed to grow near the ground can be overcrowded with the inside and the bottom of the planted shade. This condition will cause tomatoes to ripen slower so support your tomato on a stake for a quicker harvest.
9. Protect your Tomatoes from Pests
Yes, we don’t like to hear this one after all that hard work and I don’t blame you because the end result is to reap a good harvest which means protecting our tomatoes from pests such as squirrels, rabbits, and deers. The effect of deers and rabbits nibbling can cause a setback and a delay in harvest.
To avoid this unfortunate event use barriers such as chicken netting or a well-secure fence will ensure that you reap a good harvest, the tomato hornworm is another pest to keep an eye out for. Tomato hornworms are pale green with white and black markings plus a horn-like protrusion stemming from their rear end. Eight V-shaped stripes can be seen on their body, the use of a bacterium such as Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) which is an organic pesticide, acts as a stomach position but will not harm plants or animals, this pesticide should only be used as a last resort, however.
Try hand picking them and throwing them into a container of soapy water, Biological control is another method to rid your garden of insect pests. Biological control is another method that brings control and should only be considered where the pest’s problem is low to medium, biological control consists of using insects that are known as the good bugs to bring control garden to pests that are known as the bad bags.
Among the many good bugs that can be used to bring control includes green lacewings, ladybugs, parasitic wasps, praying mantis, ground beetles, hoverflies, assassin bugs, robber flies damsel bugs, soldier beetles, etc… These beneficial insects can be purchased from your plant nursery or garden center.
Once you bring your beneficial insects home wait until late in the evening just before the sun sets to release them, the reason for this is because if they are released during the day hours may fly away to your neighbor’s garden or a garden that’s nearby.
Companion Planting with Plants
Another way to deter insects is by using plants, this method is known as companion planting there are many garden insect pests that hate the aroma that certain garden plants give off. Here are a few to plant alongside your tomato plants. Marigold, Garlic, Parsley, Chives, Asparagus, Onion, sage, Cucumber, Lemon balm, Beans, Calendula, Borage, Mint Carrots, etc…
The final word on how to make tomato plants grow faster
Reaping a quick tomato harvest is that simple, follow this guide and you will be enjoying these delicious edibles in no time, whether you’re growing tomatoes outdoors or indoors you can have freshly grown tomatoes at your fingertips. Go for it you will be so happy with the results as you flavor your favorite food recipes. With that said let’s get started.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.