1: Mulching – Whether it’s in the ground or pots, it is extremely important that you mulch the area, this not only helps retain the moisture balance, it also keeps the roots warm on cooler days and cooler on the hot days.
For Tomato plants that are in the ground, it also helps build up beneficial microbes. These microbes help the Tomato take up the beneficial nutrients that are needed for the plant to perform at it’s very best. Also, worms are more likely to congregate, lay their castings, breed and air rate the soil profile.
2: Moisture and Water: Tomatoes like all plants need water for survival and optimum growth. However, if the plant gets too much water during fruiting, the fruits are susceptible to splitting. The rule is to keep the soil just moist, but not wet.
You can test this by sticking you finger down to the second knuckle and feel the moisture in the ground, if it feels dry water the plants. In very hot weather you will need to water every day and sometimes twice a day if they are in containers.
Photo: Marty Ware’s Balcony Garden with winter container Tomatoes, when he was living in an apartment in Tweed Heads Australia. Strawberries are also close to bearing flowers.
3: Stake or Cage: Tomatoes need a helping hand to stay upright, so it’s a great idea to build a cage or supply stakes. I like to stake my plants early so I can train them up the stake from about 1 month old or when I planting them directly into the ground. Usually the dwarf Tomatoes do not need staking and are more compact.
Photo: Marty’s Balcony Container Tomatoes, nearly ready to go green.
4: Sunlight: Tomatoes need at least 6 hours full sun a day to photosynthesize and bear fruit. I have grown them successfully in 4 hours sunlight and then part shade, but the plants did not bear as many fruits.
5:Fertilize: If you grow your Tomatoes in soil that has a lot of compost and rock dust you very rarely have to fertilize. Tomatoes like a lot of Calcium to protect them from blossom end rot, so egg shells in the compost is a must. In containers they need a liquid fertilize once a week with liquid kelp, this helps strong growth and protects them from viruses and disease. If you do purchase rock dust for your Tomato garden, check the calcium ratio, generally rock dusts are high in Calcium.
6: Plant with Companions: Tomatoes like to have friends too, so plant them with Basil, any type, Marigolds and Parsley. These companions help protect the Tomato from disease, nematodes and viruses. They also help improve the overall health and flavor of the Tomato, especially if you plant Sweet Basil close by.
Article written by Australian Micro Farmer Marty Ware from the “Marty’s Garden Show” in YouTube. Marty Ware studied Agricultural business over 2 decades ago and now runs a successful microfarm in Byron Bay.
If you want to follow Marty Ware and learn “how to grow fresh healthy food in urban places and small spaces” then click on the image provided below. Marty has new shows coming out at least twice a week