Excited to plant tomatoes in your raised garden bed this summer?
Here are five tips for tomato success.
Admittedly, it’s hubby with the green thumb in this family.
He does an excellent job tending to the box garden he’s built up over the years.
From February through October, there’s always something he’s planting, watering, pruning, or harvesting.
And I love it!
I watch the progress, cheer him on, take pics, create short videos, and whip up tasty foods with the harvest.
Typically, though, I don’t blog about the garden…outside of the recipes.
But last summer I did a quick video with my husband’s top tips for growing garden tomatoes…
and it was a hit on Pinterest. Yay!
So since it seems to be helpful, I thought I’d elaborate on those tips here, in a blog post for all our gardener or aspiring gardener friends out there.
The quick video is also linked in this post. Enjoy!
Let’s get to the five tips that work for all variety of tomatoes…
from cherry tomatoes to Roma tomatoes to juicy, plump, big boy tomatoes.
Hubby’s favorite variety is beef steak…that doesn’t sound like a tomato to me, but he’s the expert.
KINDS OF TOMATOES
The tips below work for growing all sorts of tomatoes.
We use these strategies with them all.
- cherry tomatoes
- grape tomatoes
- roma tomatoes
- big round tomatoes
- red tomatoes
- orange tomatoes
RAISED BED DIMENSIONS
Our overall garden is 80 square feet, in the shape of a T.
Hubby grew tomatoes in about 20 square feet of it.
In hindsight, he says that was a lot, ha ha.
Go big or go home, right?
We don’t can tomatoes so we just eat them fresh or give them away.
Some we do dice and freeze, though.
Also, our box garden is 24 inches high with another 12 inches of removable fence.
We finally beat those rascally rabbits.
See our tomato tips below!
5 TIPS FOR GROWING TOMATOES IN A RAISED BED BOX GARDEN
Also see our quick video in this post!
1. PLANT STARTERS
Hubby plants many of our vegetables and flowers from seed.
But when it comes to tomatoes, he really like to buy 6-packs of starters.
They aren’t big and expensive.
He shops around for great deals on the multi-packs.
And I simply request that they are organic.
Timing tomato planting is important.
Plant late enough to make sure there won’t be another frost. That can take out your plants.
But plant soon enough to make sure you can enjoy tomatoes through the end of the season.
This is why hubby plants the starters, to maximize our tomato season.
Where we live, we plant tomatoes in early May when evening temps don’t drop below 50 degrees.
A quick online farmer’s almanac search for your city will tell you the best time to plant your tomatoes.
2. ADD MARIGOLDS
Hubs planted marigolds around our tomato starters to deter pests and bugs. And it worked really well.
Not sure he expected me to clip a few here and there to put in flower bouquets with our garden zinnias, but he didn’t complain.
The marigolds grew and bloomed all summer long, and were actually one of our last garden flowers standing as fall approached.
3. MARK SQUARE FEET WITH STRING
This is the first year my husband decided to string off the garden by square feet.
And he’s so glad he did. It was a hit.
This helped him spread the plants out with precision, as tomatoes definitely need to be spread apart.
Not only do tomatoes need good air flow for pest and disease control…
but for plenty of sunlight exposure, too.
Personally, my OCD just really liked the look of the square foot strings. Ha!
Hubs secured the string by putting nails into the sides of the box garden wood and wrapping the strings around them. It was easy and efficient.
He said definitely worth the extra step.
4. STAKE THE PLANTS
As you may know, it’s very helpful to stake your tomato plants so they grow vertically.
This saves a ton of room in the garden because tomatoes can certainly grow out of control.
It’s best to get the stakes in early, even before the plants are big enough to need them.
Then as the plants start to grow, we just tie them loosely to the stakes at hardy areas of the plant. I’m even decent at this job, until they get too tall for me.
Having them grow upward does help with continuing sunlight and airflow through the plants as they grow and produce.
My husband does prefer very tall wooden stakes over metal cages for easier access to the plants.
5. PULL THE SUCKERS
This is another garden job I’m pretty good at.
To keep the growth moving towards the fruit,
it’s important to pinch off the little growths that start between the stems and the branches.
They aren’t going to product viable fruit so simply pinch them out of the plant as they pop up.
Staking your plants will make it easier to spot these little shoots and to keep them at bay.
We do this on all our tomato plant varieties, all summer long.
6. WATER AT THE BASE
Ok, so here’s a bonus tip hubby wants me to include.
He says it’s important to water at the base of the plants, not over them.
This helps ensure that they get a decent drink and helps ward off disease.
I know hubs waters in the mornings, and he must do a great job because he grows some killer tomatoes!
Our friends say he should enter them in the state fair. And I agree.
They taste just as good as they look.
RECIPES USING GARDEN TOMATOES
Lastly, we’d be remiss if we didn’t share some of our favorite recipes using all our delicious garden tomatoes!
CHERRY TOMATOES – Of course, these are like candy. We eat them off the plants but also pack them in school lunches the first part of fall. school lunch box
ROMA TOMATOES – We perfected our fresh salsa recipe with roma tomatoes all summer. Since they have less seeds than large tomatoes, they work perfectly for this. homemade fresh salsa
BIG ROUND TOMATOES – These are so good sliced and eaten on grilled burgers. Mmmmmm! But we also like to dice them up for fresh summer salads and poolside dips. tomato basil dip
Hope you found all these tomato tips helpful.
For information about our organic composting and fertilizer, see the video interview with my husband inside our membership.
Good luck with your garden tomatoes this coming season and beyond!