For growing tomatoes along the coast
1. Read labels carefully.
Choose varieties that are right for you. Cherries? Beefsteaks? Choose early, midseason and late tomatoes. Let the “Days to maturity” on the label be your guide. Tomatoes are very tough but select seedlings with sturdy stems and bright green leaves.
2. Find the sun.
Tomatoes want sun and heat. 6 hours of full sun is the minimum for success, 8 hours is optimal. In super hot areas however, it may even be necessary to shade the plants during the hottest part of the day for best results. As you decide where to plant remember that it’s a good idea to rotate planting areas each season if you can.
3. Add organic material!
Incorporate liberal amounts of a quality soil amendment and/or compost all through your chosen garden spot. The better the soil, the better the tomatoes. In a new garden area till lightly. After that, layering the nutrients across the top of the soil is advised, as frequent aggressive tilling can disturb soil systems. Use a premium potting soil as a base in your container plantings, then add organics. Check out our container planting guide here for more details.
4. Dig deep and plant deep.
When you set out your seedlings snip off the lowest leaves and bury part of the stem in a deep and well amended hole, leaving only the top 3-4 inches of the plant above the surface. The buried stem will grow roots!
5. Water correctly.
This means soak the rootball, every 3 or 4 days for the first few weeks. Once the plant is set and starts growing, water deeply and infrequently all through the season. As tomatoes grow, the plant will inevitably yellow in places. More water won’t fix that and too much water can dilute taste!