Growing Tomatoes: Top 4 Areas of Tomato Care After Planting

Growing tomatoes is fun! Once your tomato plants are in a well-prepared garden that gets at least 7-8 hours of sunlight a day, much of the heavy work is done. Now you can focus your attention on four important areas of tomato care to make sure you get the best results from your crop.

tomato seedlings in garden

Tomato Care Step #1: Watering

When it comes to growing tomatoes, you need to know two things about watering them.

  1. Tomatoes need 1-3 inches of water a week, depending on temperatures.
  2. Tomatoes need consistent watering (rather than daily or sporadic watering).
Regular watering not only helps plants thrive, but also helps prevent many tomato diseases, cracking, and blossom-end rot.

Do your crop and yourself a favor by establishing a consistent watering schedule.

It’s not hard. It just takes a little bit of planning and an eye on the weather radar each week.

You can also help your growing tomatoes maintain a healthy moisture balance when you apply mulch 3-5 weeks after planting (and no earlier).

Watering tomato plants – the basics ...
Watering tomatoes when planting and just afterwards ...
Watering tomatoes: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) ...
Techniques for watering tomato plants ...
How and when to mulch tomatoes ...
What's the best mulch for growing tomatoes?

Tomato Care Step #2: Fertilizing

Tomatoes are fast growers. They require significant amounts of nutrients to put out branches, develop blossoms, and form fruit – all in just a few short weeks. The tomato fertilizer you added when planting will last only a short time. Help your growing tomatoes thrive by continuing to give them the nutrients they need.

Apply tomato fertilizer once fruit is set and every 3-4 weeks afterward. Create a simple feeding schedule. You can also coordinate watering and fertilizing schedules to simplify tomato care.

How to use tomato fertilizer for best tomato production ...
Kinds of tomato fertilizer ...
Organic tomato fertilizer: advantages and disadvantages...

Tomato Care Step #3: Staking

Staking your tomatoes isn’t 100% necessary, especially if you’re growing tomatoes of a dwarf or bush variety. But for most indeterminate tomatoes, staking means the difference between a larger, healthier crop and a so-so one.

Staking can be a one-time step when you use tomato cages icon, tomato spirals icon, or even a tomato trellis. Tomato stakes, on the other hand, while less expensive still require that you check plants at least once a week and tie new branches to the stake for support. (Check out different tomato cages to find the right ones for you and your garden: stackable garden cages icon at Gardener’s Supply; the Ultimate Garden Cage at Garden.com; and Burpee’s popular XL Pro Tomato Cageicon.)

This is one area of tomato care that requires you to make a decision fairly soon after planting. Growing tomatoes don’t wait for you to stake them. Try different ways of staking tomatoes and find out which method works for you. You can also choose a combination of tomato staking methods, using cages for some tomatoes and stakes for others, for instance.

Best methods for staking tomatoes ...
How to stake and tie tomatoes for support ...
How to build tomato cages for support ...
How to build a tomato trellis for staking tomatoes ...

Tomato Care Step #4: Monitoring

Tomatoes are the most popular home garden crop in the U.S. Unfortunately, tomatoes are also extremely popular with garden pests.

The good news is that with just a little diligence, you can help keep your tomatoes healthy, disease-free, and pest-free.

Make it a habit to monitor your tomato plants daily if possible. Stroll by plants each day and do a quick inspection. Look for wilting leaves, discolored leaves, holes in leaves, streaked stems or leaves, and holes in fruit. Those symptoms can indicate a number of different tomato problems, including tomato diseases (such as tomato blight, blossom-end rot, or tomato fungus). You’ll also be able to spot tomato bugs and pests (like the tomato hornworm or cutworm.)

When you keep a regular eye on your tomatoes and see problems, you’ll be able to treat them right away. That means healthy tomato plants and a big crop of juicy, best tasting tomatoes.


More on growing tomatoes

Best tomato growing tips: readers share their favorites ...

Grafted tomatoes: what are they and why grow them?

Growing tomatoes in raised beds ...

How to control weeds in the tomato garden ...

Pruning tomato plants: how and when to do it ...

How to grow tomatoes in pots or containers ...

Growing cherry tomatoes in containers or pots ...

Best and worst companion plants for tomatoes ...

Return from Growing Tomatoes to Tomato Dirt home

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave a comment in the box below.


Join us on Facebook

Follow Me on Pinterest

FREE! Tomato
Growing Tips
20-page guide
when you sign up for
Tomato Dirt newsletter!

Email

Name

Then

Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Tomato Dirt.



Tomato Growing Book