Tomatoes - How to Grow Tomatoes - Tips and Tricks.

Community Help: Tips on Growing Tomatoes

Share your own experience     View front page

First off, when you plant the tomatoes really depends upon where you live. In the south, like Florida, where the weather is warmer much earlier and the summers are longer, you can plant them early in the year. The growing season is much longer and as long as you aren't having overnight freezes anymore then they will be fine. I had temperatures drop into the low 40's overnight and my tomatoes still did fine. I'm sure it also depends upon if your tomatoes are planted out in the open where the wind makes it colder, or if the tomatoes are on a balcony or screen porch in a planter or pot, then obviously that would be wamer as they are out of the wind and close to the building, so it really depends upon several factors as to when you can start planting them. March is probably a good time for Florida, or late March, as chances are good that no overnight freezes will occur again and temperatures are warming up.

Once the tomato plants are a foot tall or more, there are some organic things you can do to help them out or to help fertilize them. Putting coffee grounds and crushed egg shells in the dirt will help add fertilizer to the soil and help repel bugs and slugs. This will add nitrogen and calcium both among other things. Coffee grounds also add a little acidity to the soil, which is really good for tomato plants. My tomatoes were very good this year and I'm growing them in a pot right now on a screen porch. To give you an idea how much coffee or egg shells to add to the soil, I've added probably about 10 scoops of coffee to the pot and I have 3 plants in the pot (I just dump the old coffee on top of the soil when I empty the filter, but it was a total of about 10 scoops total just thrown on top of the soil over the past 2 months). I've probably added about 8 or 9 egg shells taken off boiled eggs and crushed them on top of the soil and mixed them in a bit. As I water the soil it also filters through the grounds, and I also water them with old cold coffee occasionally when I dump out cold coffee. I'm not sure the exact amounts to use or whether more or less is better, but I can tell my tomatoes are great this year and more new tomatoes are growing as we speak. I have a feeling I could add more used grounds on top, as they are really growing well right now, but I don't want to over do it so I'll wait another week or two and add another scoop on top, it seems to be working great.

One other tip that I have done is I occasionally dump a little old milk on the soil with the water. Maybe about 1/4 glass milk with a glass or two of water (or old coffee that I'm dumping out). I wouldn't waste good milk on it, but the milk had gone bad anyways and the tomatoes also seem to love this. If you are eating cereal and dump out the milk in the bottom of the bowl when done, dump that on the soil instead to water the tomatoes with it. I've done that a few times now also. I'm not sure if it's the calcium or other ingredients in the milk (or both), but tomato plants seem to love this also. As I stated, I'm not sure if more or less would be even better, but this is what I have done so far this year and the tomatoes are doing great. One last thing, I found it best to pick them off the vine right when they start turning red or orange on the bottom, then set them on your counter for several days. They will be bright colored by then. I usually give it another day or two after they turn bright colored to make sure they are good and ripe, as they seem to be full of flavor by then. Hopefully this helps you, I've added a few photos so you can see them in the pot on the screen porch.

A few picked tomatoes finishing ripening on the counter:
picked tomatoes

Jackpot, a group of 5 tiny tomatoes just appeared, great sign:
new tomatoes

A group of 2 new tomatoes just started growing:
new tomatoes

5 or 6 green tomatoes not yet ready for picking:
tomatoes growing

Planter pot with 3 tomato plants on corner of screen porch for maximum sunlight
tomatoes on screen porch