The tomato is one of the most common vegetables to grow in a garden. In fact, you can find them on just about every sunny patio and two acre plot around summertime!
But what makes this fruit so special? For starters their color always brightens up our day from dawn ’til dusk – tomatoes are sure worth growing if only for that reason alone.
Tomatoes are a bit more challenging to grow than most plants, but luckily there’s not too much that will go wrong. In this article we’ll cover the common pitfalls you might encounter while growing your tomatoes and how to avoid them!
15 Gardening Mistakes When Growing Tomatoes
1. Not Choosing the Right Variety
The first tomato growing mistake is to pick the wrong variety. You should think carefully about your preferences, climate and soil before you purchase seeds or plants for this year’s crop.
Also, saved seed from last year’s harvest can allow growers more control over what grows in future years!
The type of tomato you choose to grow really matters a lot.
Cherry tomatoes are an excellent choice for growing in containers, but if you plan on making tomato sauce I am not sure you’ll succeed. You’ll also want to consider whether your cherry tomato plant has determinate or indeterminate growth habits–and if so which one is better suited for the conditions where it’s grown!
2. Starting Tomatoes from Seed
One of the best and most rewarding things you can do for your garden is starting tomatoes from seed. If done correctly, it’s a simple process that will lead to success!
When you start these delicate little guys off right by making sure they’re given all optimum conditions for germination.
The best way to get tomato plants growing quickly is by giving them the right conditions. The minimum temperature for germination is 40 degrees F, however, the soil temperature of 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit will help with optimum growth.
Tomatoes are difficult to grow in climates with short summer seasons. Therefore, tomato seeds can be started indoors as early as late winter or early spring before they’re transplanted outside once danger signs no longer exist.
3. Failing to Harden Them Off
It’s important to harden off your plants before letting them go outside. This involves giving the plant enough time in a controlled environment so that it can develop its defenses and live as an outdoor dweller without being overwhelmed from the outside conditions.
Transplanting your tomatoes without hardening them off will likely result in stunted growth or the death of these plants.
4. Planting Too Soon
Just like you can’t plant tomatoes too early or late in the season, there are also dangers of planting them too early. It might seem tempting to put that first warm sunny day out of its misery- however this could mean disaster!
Once the final frost danger passes, you can transplant your tomatoes. Be patient even if it seems like a long time for waiting.
5. Growing in the Wrong Spot
Tomatoes love sun and moisture, but you need to find the right spot for them. Tomatoes like full sunlight with plenty of water; don’t grow your tomatoes beneath trees or in shady spots!
Containers are great for growing tomatoes, but remember that it’s not just the size of your container and plant selection that matters. You need a site with ample room to grow – full grown plants will take up more space than small ones!
6. Not Pruning or Supporting Your Plants
Tomatoes are plants that can become rather difficult to grow without the right care, but luckily there is a solution. You will need to stake or cage them as they get bushier and heavier with fruit on their vines!
You shouldn’t avoid pruning as it can improve the health of your plants. Pruning should be done at least once per season to avoid overgrowth and improve plant health! It also gives you less foliage that needs staking up, which makes it easier on your garden stakes.
7. Watering Incorrectly
Keeping a close eye on the watering requirements of your tomatoes is important. They need enough but not too much water at all times during their growing season to avoid splitting or spreading disease!
The best way to avoid problems with over- or under watering is by ensuring that your plants have been watered first thing in the morning and at their base. Try not get any on fruit or foliage as this will cause diseases!
8. Failing to Mulch
Mulching tomatoes is a great way to keep track of their watering needs and get the most from your garden. Mulch can also improve yields, so it’s worth trying out!
Mulches are a great way to add nutrients, moisture and prevent weeds. They act as slow release fertilizers that build soil over time while also preventing erosion!
9. Ignoring Nutrient Needs
Tomatoes are hungry plants that need to be fed every so often. Fertilizing them will increase your yield, and they’re specially needy when fruiting or flowering – but don’t fertilize too much as this can damage roots in some cases.
You can fertilize your tomatoes with natural compost or tea to avoid synthetic fertilizer. You should use an early-season nitrogen heavy mix, but later decrease the fertilizer, as plants are trying to set fruit and produce those gorgeous looking crops!
10. Neglecting Green Tomatoes
Green tomatoes are delicious, but the reality is that most people would prefer to have ripe ones on their dinner tables. You should be careful about how you deal with green tomatoes late in the growing season.
The end of summer is in sight, but don’t forget to top your tomato plants about 30 days before the first expected frost!
This will help focus their energy on ripening fruits that are already set rather than pushing out new ones.
11. Watering From Above
When you water your tomato plants, try not to do so from above.
When possible, install a drip irrigation system that will supply nutrients in slow and steady release for the best results!
12. Adding Too Much Nitrogen
Tomatoes need plenty of nitrogen when they first develop their leaves, but as your tomatoes become more mature and fruitful you may want to decrease this nutrient input. Too much can result in an overgrowth that is difficult for fruit production; it’ll also attract pests like aphids who love eating these robust plants! Instead switch to a lower-nitrogen fertilizer later on during the season if possible.
13. Overcrowding Your Plants
It’s important that you avoid overcrowding your tomato plants. They need lots of elbow room!
Don’t squeeze too many into a small space, instead follow the spacing guidelines listed for your specific type or tomatoes – this will help them grow tall and strong without toppling over.
14. Ignoring Companion Plants
Tomatoes are a great addition to any garden, whether you grow them solo or in pairs. The key is finding the right companions for your plants so they can get their nutrients and thrive!
15. Wasting Your Tomatoes
You might be feeling a little overwhelmed with all of your fresh, juicy tomatoes at the end of summer – but don’t worry! Whether or not you have an extra plant that’s just taking up space in your garden this year, there will always be someone who wants them.
As the summer months near, you may be thinking of ways to preserve your harvest. You can donate extra tomatoes or see if they will accept homegrown produce from friends and family members in need – not only does this offer a means for others’ needs but it is also one way we help ourselves by utilizing what would otherwise go bad before being eaten up entirely!
Or, you can always preserve tomatoes in a certain way. How many ways can you use a tomato? The answer is as endless as the possibilities of what it will taste like. Whether its in sauces, soups or salads – there is always an opportunity for tomatoes to shine!
Avoid these common tomato growing mistakes and you’ll have more tomatoes than you can handle!