All My Best Tomato Growing Tips—From Personal Experience

I’ve grown tomatoes every which way: straight in the ground, up in a raised bed, arranged in containers, even indoors for a short spell.

I’ve tried almost every trick in the book — both science-based and those rooted in folk wisdom — to improve my harvest each time.

What I’ve found is that there aren’t really any “tricks” to achieving an abundant crop, only a series of well-timed steps that will give you great tomatoes. Every time.


Decide if you want determinate or indeterminate tomatoes.

For best results, choose a mix of tomatoes suitable for your climate: some big juicy slicers, a couple of cherry types, and something more unusual in early-, mid-, and late-blooming varieties.


Start your seeds early.

When started indoors under ideal conditions, tomato seeds will germinate in five to seven days, and it takes six to eight weeks to grow them from seed to plantable seedlings.


Repot your tomatoes twice for stronger stems and larger root mass.

The plants have tiny, fuzzy bumps on their stems (called adventitious roots, root initials, or tomato stem primordia) that are essentially the beginnings of new root nodes.


Choose a location with full sun.

Sunlight is free, and it’s one of the most important aspects of growing tomatoes. For a good harvest, allow at least 8 hours of sun per day for your plants.


Allow ample space in the plants’ final home.

Tomatoes are wide-spreading plants with deep root systems, and the more space you can give them, the more fruits you’ll get. Allow at least 2 to 3 feet between indeterminate tomatoes in the ground, or 1 1/2 to 2 feet between determinate types.

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