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Grow the Perfect Tomato

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Learn about the most popular types of tomatoes and best growing practices for each.

seedling

Not every tomato is the same. Here are some of the more popular types of tomatoes to grow at home.

 

Slicing tomatoes

Slicing Tomatoes

These are big tomatoes that are ideal for eating raw, putting on sandwiches, or making salsa or bruschetta.

Paste tomatoes

Paste Tomatoes

Perfect for making into sauces (think spaghetti and pizza).

Cherry tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Small, pop-in-your-mouth varieties are easy to grow (even in containers!) and kids love them.

Heirloom tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

These old-fashioned tomatoes offer a wide range of colors, sizes and flavors.

Want to grow super tomatoes? As millions of gardeners know, it’s well worth the effort! Follow these tips to success:

Tip 1: Plant in full sun. Tomatoes like sun and heat. Don’t plant your tomatoes outdoors until the threat of all frost has passed. And place them in an area that receives 6 to 8 hours of sun a day.

Tip 2: Plant in good soil. Tomatoes do best in soil that is well drained. Boost the nutrient value of your soil by adding compost to the planting area. If you don’t have a lot of garden space, plant tomatoes in containers filled with potting soil.

Tip 3: Space your tomatoes. Plant tomatoes 2 to 3 feet apart. This allows them to spread out without crowding. It also keeps them healthy. Tomatoes need air circulation to prevent them from developing diseases.

stake or cage your tomatoes

Tip 4: Stake or cage your tomatoes. The best way to produce the most tomatoes is to stake or cage the plants. This opens up foliage to sunlight and keeps fruit from sitting on the ground and being prone to insect damage. Add cages while the plants are small. The tomato will grow up through the cage.

Tip 5: Water your tomatoes. Tomatoes are more than 90 percent water. To produce plump and juicy fruits, water about an inch per week. Water the roots, not the leaves. This will help plants avoid fungal diseases. Keep soil from drying out by mulching with straw or other organic material.

tomato hornworm pest

Tip 6: Watch for pests, including tomato hornworm, which can eat lots of tomato leaves in just an evening. Just pick off this pest and drop it in a cup of soapy water.

Tip 7: Feed your tomatoes. Fertilize your tomatoes with a slow-release granular fertilizer that releases nutrients into the soil over a period of time.

Finally, enjoy the delicious homegrown flavor of your own backyard tomatoes by planting a couple different types. And if you have too many tomatoes, you can always share them with your neighbors—and become the most popular person in the neighborhood.