Tomato is an integral part of your grocery list. Not only can it be eaten raw, it also serves as a key ingredient in plenty of salads, dishes, sauces and even drinks. Rich in a potent antioxidant (lycopene), Vitamin C and Vitamin A among other nutrients, it has been proved to be particularly beneficial to your cardiac functions (heart).
As dripping with nutrients as these versatile vegetables may be, you would want to catch them at their full natural glory to savor them all. What better place than your own backyard garden or greenhouse? This by the way is no rocket science. All you need are some basic gardening skills for growing tomatoes from seeds.
Provided that you have the seeds ready (easily available in most agro-based stores), you have two ways of doing this. The first and the usual method constitutes germinating the seeds in porous plastic bags and transferring the saplings later to your garden beds by cutting the plastic open (keeping the soil intact). With the other method (more hustle-free one), you can directly plant the seeds on the garden bed and let them grow for harvest. While both methods are good, the latter sometimes leaves the saplings vulnerable to pests and insects. Either way, you shall need to tamper with the soil a bit to ensure a good yield.
A convenient aspect about growing tomatoes from seeds is that tomatoes are suited for a wide range of climatic conditions and the fact that so many varieties of seeds (suiting to varying conditions) are available always helps. Having said that, a moderately cool and dry climate (between 21 to 25 degree Celsius) ensures the best yield and quality.
Well-drained soil between the acidity range of 5.5-6.7 pH is best suited. While choosing fertilizers, always look for something that is low in nitrogen (don’t go for urea) and high in Phosphorus with moderate amount of Potassium. The recommended NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) ratio is 5-10-5. In addition to chemical fertilizers, bone meal or ground rock phosphorus ensures a good supply of phosphorus. Of course you can always turn back to the ‘green alternatives’. Well-decomposed manure and compost work as well. But remember that tomatoes grow well in a variety of soil types so don’t overdo with the fertilizers.
Tomatoes are best suited for raised garden beds. They thrive on a good amount of sunlight and warmth (also making them perfect for your greenhouse collection). Regular watering is essential too. Watering must be deep and ever; don’t let the soil dry but don’t end up with muddy, soggy soil.
Major varieties of tomato ripen in around 60-80 days provided they get abundant sunlight and regular watering. When the fruits start reddening, start checking your vegetable garden daily and pluck when they are completely red and still firm. Leave them unattended for few days and they will overripe and fall off. These plump, red balls right from your vegetable garden are ready to be part of your recipe.
So as we can see, it’s just about a few steps to follow and some amount of gardening skills involved before you start growing tomatoes from seeds and add a healthy ingredient to your daily kitchen recipe.