How To Grow The Best Tomatoes

There are 2 kinds of Tomatoes sorta of 3 kinds:
-Determinate/Bush: The plant will grow to a determinate height then the plant will put on fruit
– Indeterminate/Vine: The plant will grow and put fruit on as it is grows and will keep putting on fruit, until it gets too cold and dies. If in warm areas such as the island of Hawaii where frost is not a problem they will grow for years.
-Semi-determinate/Semi-bush: The plant will grow, put on a heavy harvest, and slowly produce fruit until frost

 Always grow tomatoes in cages or on trellises to get the plant off the ground and it will produce 2x more fruit then if it is on the ground.(it is true you lose 50% of the crops as it sits on the ground a rots)
– Always plant more then one type of tomato, plant determinate as well as indeterminate, some will do better than others from year to year. To find out what type of tomatoes you have check the seed package.


1. You need to have full sun location to have a good crop. If you have a partial shade  backyard and want o grow tomatoes it can be done but is a partial shade situation grow cherry or grape tomatoes as they do not require a much sunlight to grow as they are smaller.

2.  Tomatoes can be grown in the ground, raised beds and containers. for small area/limited spaces grow Determinate/Bush tomatoes. If you have more space Indeterminate/Vine is a good choice for you as these will grow until you kill them or the weather does. If you have lots of space plant them 4 foot apart if you are not growing them in a field and a backyard 2 foot works well. If you are growing them on a trellis such as a Florida weave you can space them as close as 18 inches.

3. Plant all tomatoes deep. Every hair on the stem can grow into roots if in contacted with soil. So how deep? If you have a plant that is 10 inches tall, plant it in the ground 7 inches and leave 3 inches above ground. leave the top leaves along but remove the lower leaves and limbs that is below the soil. You also can use an all balance fertilizer in the hole and follow the direction on the package. But keep it below a 10- 10 – 10 in the northern parts of the country as the season is to short to be able to use a fertilizer with a higher number.

4.  Early blight is yellowing of the lower leaves of your plant, then it works up the plant throughout the season and you have a plant with tomatoes and vines but leaves. To prevent this at planting sprinkle a hand full of Yellow whole grain corn mill around each plant. The Yellow whole grain corn mill has a beneficial Bactria in it that fits the early blight. (all soil has blight it is part of all soil)  Also mulch – such as dried grass clippings, fall leaves, straw and or shredded paper as 3 or 4 inches. Mulch to prevent soil from splashing up on the tomatoes. That splashing up of the soil is what cause the blight  We would still recommend putting whole grain corn meal around as a preventative measure. Also through out the season keep the bottom 6 to 8 inches of trimmed to keep splash up from getting on the leaves just leave the stalk.

5.  Spider mites: An early sign of infestation includes yellow spotting on the top side of the leaves and crusty undersides covered with webbing. To prevent this use liquid sea weed. Mix 1 gallon of water with 2 tablespoons of Liquid Sea weed and spray every 2 to 3 weeks throughout the growing season. This does not kill the spider mites, it toughens the leaves and the mites move on and won’t affect the plant.


14 thoughts on “How To Grow The Best Tomatoes

    sue said:
    May 10, 2014 at 08:38

    can I use Epsom Salt on all my plants? Flower and roses?

    roy said:
    August 28, 2014 at 10:48

    you are sure right about growing tomatoes….i am experimenting by adding tarivita humate to my seaweed…i think it was virginia tech, after 10 yr study stated, mixed together both would be a lot more effective…we’ll see….it is cheap also…roy

    Angie said:
    March 18, 2015 at 08:35

    What does the epsom salts do for the tomatoes?

      The Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener responded:
      March 22, 2015 at 20:11

      Epsom salt helps prevent blossom end root rot. It helps the plants absorb the proper amount of calcium that they need.

    Tami said:
    May 29, 2015 at 10:22

    I am growing my tomatoes in containers and I did put epsom salt in the soil when I originally potted them. My question is, should I occasionally add more epsom salt throughout the growing season and if so how often?

      The Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener responded:
      May 29, 2015 at 21:39

      from what I have found mix 1TSP of epsom salt to 1 gallon of water every other week because it is not known for sure whether excess salts will build up in the soil

    linda zorn said:
    June 11, 2015 at 20:07

    I planted my tomatoes in earth boxes. We seem to get blossom rot every year. Is it possible to add some Epsom salt to the soil now?

    Lachlan said:
    July 6, 2015 at 08:47

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually feel this amazing site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be back again to
    read through more, thanks for the information!

    Linda McAninch said:
    February 28, 2016 at 21:39

    My husband made some raised beds, we filled them with farm fresh dirt it was like red clay only pretty so we put some sand and something like potting soil. My tomatoes do not taste like tomatoes .Each yr they taste odd and when cooked there horrid. Iv tried Better Girl,Better Boy and some other plants that were healthy. Any ideas what we can do ?

      The Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener responded:
      February 29, 2016 at 23:44

      Hi Linda. The reason why the tomatoes arent tasting good is because of the soil base. It would be best to amend the soil with good rotted manure or a good compost. It would also be ideal to add good organic fertilizer, something with lots of potassium. Your soil is not healthy, which ends up giving you bland tomatoes.

    Nic Gibson said:
    April 12, 2020 at 19:58

    can you recommend a “Yellow whole grain corn mill”. I googled it and wasn’t sure what you mean. Can you reply with a link or something? I have almost completely stopped growing tomatoes because of early blight. I have tried only early watering, trimming lower leaves and growing them 8 ft tall with guided fences and sucker pruning, but I have not been able to get any real strong fruiting. No more than 3-5lb a plant.

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