In spite of the fine tomatoes on sale in Spanish markets and shops many people often prefer to grow their own.
So do I. How I grow tomatoes.
I did the whole sowing thing, when I arranged my garden here 3 years ago. And I should say it was quite a trouble. So, the next year we bought little tomato plants (and peppers, and aubergines as well) in a local garden shop and they were so good and it was so much easier that we decided just to buy seedlings in future. So, they were bought this year as well.
The bed for tomatoes had been previously prepared: dug and fertilized. So, what I did.
- Dug holes.
- Put into them a small amount of ash (approx. 1-2 tbsp.) , a small amount of long-lasting fertilizer and some compost (from our own composter).
- Watered the holes.
- Placed seedlings into the holes finally and covered the holes with soil leaving a kind of depression around it.
- Watered the seedlings.
- And last but not least, covered the whole bed (depressions with seedlings and soil between them as well) with mulch.
The job was done. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any pictures of this job, probably I deleted them.
Looking after the crop
Side shoots will appear where the leaf stalks join the stem. I pinch them out when they are about 1 in. long. They take strength from the plant. If I miss any of them by chance I will pinch them out later anyway because I want to get tomato fruits, not just a good-looking leafy bush.
If a cordon variety is grown I tie them loosely to the cane as having no tendrils, they cannot climb by themselves. I make the ties approx. at 10-12 in. intervals as the plant grows. If I tie tomatoes too tight the plant can die.
Watering and Mulching
Watering is very important, especially in our hot tropical climate. To make it easier we decided to use mulch on our beds. The mulch reduces water loss keeping soil moist longer.
Using mulch has additional benefits as well, like increasing nutrient content, improving soil structure and suppressing weeds.
Our tomato seedlings were planted 17 of April. At the moment each of them has 2-3 trusses and most of them have small tomatoes already.