Every new gardener wonders how to grow the best tomatoes–with the least amount of effort possible. You want beautiful tomatoes, but you don’t want to be throwing weird things into the hole with tomatoes (I’m looking at you, fish heads!!). You just want the easiest way to grow big tomatoes.
I’m sharing the 6 easy things I do to grow great tomatoes. No crazy secret tips, just a couple of simple things even a beginner gardener can do.
Add Powdered Milk to the Hole When Planting
Tomatoes love calcium, and powdered milk is a cheap and easy way to give it to them. You can also use bonemeal, but powdered milk is probably already in your kitchen. I also use it as a way to fix blossom end rot if I’ve gotten inconsistent with my watering during the summer.
Use a Cozy Coat Over Tomato Seedlings
Cozy coats make a huge difference and 100% worth the investment. Actually, they’re pretty cheap, so it’s not even that much of an investment. Next year, every single tomato I plant will have a cozy coat around it.
Here’s a video I made to show how much of a difference Cozy Coats make.
I also used them for my peppers, and my peppers are leaps and bounds ahead of anyone else I know in my area.
Check out this photo from the beginning of June. In my zone 3b area in Saskatchewan, peppers usually don’t start looking like this until the end of July.
Stake the Tomato Plant & Add Mulch
Once the tomato has outgrown the cozy coat, remove it and put a tomato cage around it instead. Bonus points if you can put some mulch around the base of the tomato as well. This will help keep in the moisture and prevent blossom end rot later in the summer.
Water, Water, and Water Some More
Water your tomato plants everyday, and twice a day when the temperature is above 25 degrees celsius. Inconsistent watering is the biggest cause of blossom end rot. If you do happen to forget to water and blossom end rot happens to your tomatoes, it can be fixed in the plant in two weeks with this simple process.
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Tomato suckers are the little shoots that grow at a 45 degree angle from the stem. Cutting these suckers off in an indeterminate variety will help the fruit of the tomato grow larger, because it doesn’t have to compete for as many of the nutrients.
If removing the suckers seems too intimidating and you don’t do it, you’ll still get tomatoes–they just might be smaller.
Add Fertilizer Every Week
I add a water soluble fertilizer every week to my tomatoes to give them a little boost. Tomatoes are heavy feeders (they require lots of nutrients), so they really benefit from it. You can use any general purpose garden fertilizer or compost tea–whatever is readily available and easy. I personal use the Rapid Grow fertilizer and love the results.
The fertilizer I use doesn’t seem to be readily available in the US, so this one seems to be the most similar.
So that’s it! Six easy steps to easily and simply grow the best tomatoes you’ve ever had when you’re a beginner gardener. Try these out this year, then you can get fancy with your tomato growing strategies as you gain confidence in years to come.
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Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots. She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden. She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.