If you want a bountiful harvest of tomatoes this season, you’ll need to follow some key tips for growing these luscious fruits in raised beds.
First, choose a warm location that gets at least 6 hours of full sun each day. Then, make sure you fill your raised bed with a good mix of nutrient-rich soil, compost and soil amendments.
Growing tomatoes in a raised bed is an excellent solution for gardeners with limited space or those who want to avoid the hassles of maintaining an entire plot. Raised beds are easy to care for and can be more productive than traditional gardens because the plants aren’t exposed to many diseases and pests.
The best location for raising tomatoes in a raised bed is where the soil is loose and has great drainage. It’s also important to make sure that the area you choose is getting enough sun and has good air circulation.
Tomatoes are a very heavy feeder and need a rich soil to thrive. For best results, mix in two- to three-inch layers of compost or cow manure into the top one-third of your raised bed soil.
When it comes to growing tomatoes in raised beds, you need good soil that has adequate moisture, air permeability and nutrients. Tomatoes grow best in a loamy, rich soil that contains humus and organic matter.
The top soil should be at least three inches deep and have a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. To increase nutrient levels, add two to three inches of compost or cow manure to the top one-third of the raised bed soil.
Before planting, prepare your soil by removing any large rocks or roots. This will create better drainage, improve aeration and encourage the growth of healthy, vigorous tomato plants.
Tomatoes require a constant supply of water to stay healthy. Aim for about an inch of moisture per week (through rain or irrigation), more in the summertime.
Tumble in a layer of compost, green manure or other organic matter to each raised bed before planting, which will add nutrients and help hold water and fertilizer in the soil until it is needed by your plants. Mix in continuous-release fertilizer with calcium, like Miracle-Gro(r) Performance Organics(r) Edibles Plant Nutrition Granules.
Tomatoes grow best when culture temperatures are between 61 degF and 95 degF, the soil pH is in the range of 6.2 to 6.8, and they receive about 11 hours of sunlight a day. This gives them plenty of opportunity to develop a healthy bud canopy that will help them resist fungal diseases and blights.
Tomatoes are one of the heaviest feeders in your garden, and they need lots of nutrients to grow healthy. Without fertilizer, your tomatoes will struggle to produce.
Tumblers need a balance of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in order to thrive. Apply a slow-release fertilizer to the soil before planting.
A higher nitrogen number will encourage leaf growth, whereas a lower one will direct the plant’s energy towards fruit production. A fertilizer with a balanced N-P-K ratio will give you the best results at every stage of tomato development, starting with seedlings and moving on to established plants and fruiting.
Once planted, young tomato plants need a few weeks to adjust to the soil and to develop roots before fertilizing again. Once established, fertilize once or twice a week with a balanced NPK fertilizer.
Pruning is an important part of tomato cultivation and can help increase crop production, encourage healthy growth and prevent plant diseases. It is especially useful for indeterminate tomato plants (large vines that keep growing and producing until killed by frost) because they tend to get out of control and become overgrown when not pruned regularly.
Determinate or bush tomatoes, on the other hand, often only need a few prunings to stay a manageable size. These types of tomatoes, which produce only one large crop, require less maintenance than their vining counterparts and do well in small raised beds.
If you are growing indeterminate varieties, prune them about four weeks before the first expected frost. This practice, called topping, causes the plant to stop flowering and setting new fruit, directing all sugar production to the mature fruits that have set. This will make your tomatoes ripen much more quickly, plus you’ll have plenty of ripe ones to enjoy throughout the season!