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Growing tomatoes

Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable in the home garden. This gardening season, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists share some helpful tips for growing tomatoes.
  • Meredith Corporation

    Determinate vs. Indeterminate

    These terms refer to the tomato plant’s growth habit. Determinate tomatoes have a harvest period of four to six weeks, which makes them a good choice for canning and fresh consumption. As for indeterminate tomatoes, they have a harvest period that extends over two to three months. Indeterminate tomatoes generally provide higher yields, and often perform best when supported by stakes or cages.

     

    Date Published: May 4, 2018
    Date Updated: May 4, 2018
  • Tomato Varieties

    Some good tomato varieties for the home garden include: ‘Better Boy’, ‘Roma VF’, ‘Supersweet 100’, ‘Celebrity’ and many others. To determine the best tomato variety for your area, reach out to your state extension office.

    Date Published: May 4, 2018
    Date Updated: May 4, 2018
  • When to plant

    Deciding when to plant your tomatoes can be tricky. The best rule of thumb is to transplant tomatoes into the garden after the danger of frost is past. For Iowa, May 10th is the suggested planting date. If you have any questions about when to plant in your state, get in touch with your state extension office.

    Date Published: May 4, 2018
    Date Updated: May 4, 2018
  • Suitable planting site

    Now that you know when to plant, you need to know where to plant. According to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach horticulturists, tomatoes perform best in deep, loamy, slightly acidic (suggested pH of 6.0 to 6.8), well-drained soils. They also need at least six hours of direct sun per day for the best yields.  

     

    Date Published: May 4, 2018
    Date Updated: May 4, 2018
  • Proper tomato plant spacing

    Plant spacing depends on a couple of things. First, it is important to know the growth habit of the cultivar you’ve selected – indeterminate or determinate. Indeterminate cultivars that are staked can be planted 1.5 to 2 feet apart within the row, while determinate tomatoes can be planted 1.5 to 2 feet apart in rows that are 4 feet apart. Next, the training system you intend to use will impact the proper plant spacing. If tomatoes are to be grown in wire cages, the recommended space between plants is 2 to 3 feet. If they are allowed to sprawl over the ground, spacing should be 3 to 4 feet apart.

    Date Published: May 4, 2018
    Date Updated: May 4, 2018
  • More tips and information

    Still have questions about growing your tomatoes? Contact your state extension office for more information and tips for growing tomatoes this gardening season.

     

    Date Published: May 4, 2018
    Date Updated: May 4, 2018

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