It’s time to grow tomatoes

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Farid Qazizada

Gardening is good for your health and soul. If you want to control your stress level and improve your mental health, involve yourself in gardening. I don’t care if the tomato is a fruit or a vegetable anyway – it is delicious and growing them is a healthy hobby. Now is the right growing season to plant tomatoes in your garden. The cheapest way to grow tomatoes is to buy seeds, which cost around $3. $3 worth of seeds can get you 80 to 100 plants.

First you need to have good compost and a pot. Fill the pot with compost, water it well, and then broadcast tomato seeds in the pot. Make sure you give your seeds plenty of room to grow, as overcrowding will inhibit their growth. Cover with compost and sow them 5mm deep. Leave the pot somewhere warm. Tomatoes need plenty of sun so make sure you place them in a spot that will have six to eight hours of sun per day, and cover with plastic. The seeds will hatch in two weeks time but this depends on the weather; with warm weather they will hatch even faster. Once seedlings are ready for planting, space plants 75cm apart. The deeper the better because they will develop more roots, suck more energy, and the plants become sturdy and robust.

There are more than 10,000 varieties of tomatoes worldwide. Determinate varieties reach a certain length and then they flower and bear their crop all at once. This variety is good to make tomato sauce, canned, dry, or paste. Indeterminate varieties just keep growing to a huge length. I personally grow Grosse Lisse (indeterminate) – my favourite variety because of the combination of flavour, texture and appearance. It provides abundant fruit, which will cut the grocery list and you’ll enjoy eating them. The Grosse Lisse variety takes 16 to 18 weeks to harvest. If you plant them in October you will harvest them at the end of January. If you want to buy seedlings from a nursery, for the determinate variety you need to look at the label for the word determinate, or its abbreviation, DET. For indeterminate, the abbreviation is IND or INDET. For the novice I recommend Grosse Lisse because they are easy to grow and produce abundant fruit with great flavor.

Once the seeds have germinated and hatched, you can transplant them into a bigger pot. When you transplant them, be sure to carry tomatoes from the leaf not from the stem because the stem is so tender you will damage it and the plant will die.

Tomatoes require well-drained soil with pH level 6 to 6.8, which means tomatoes thrive in a slightly acidic soil. We can adjust the pH level if it is needed; if it is too high we can add sulfur to the soil to bring it down; if the pH is too low we can add lime to the soil. Adding manure to the soil will add natural nutrients to the fruit and make it more delicious and healthy.

 

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