Your Tomato Growing Questions, Answered

Your Tomato Growing Questions, Answered

Got questions about growing tomatoes? We’ve got answers! Here are some common tomato gardening questions we hear, along with our answers.


Can you over prune a tomato plant?

Yes, it is possible to over prune a tomato plant by removing so much foliage that the plant isn’t able to bounce back. That’s why you so often see the warning not to remove more than a third of your plant’s foliage when you prune.


Do tomatoes come back every year?

Tomatoes are annual plants and will die with the frost when cold weather arrives. You will need to plant new tomatoes every year.


Do tomatoes grow better in pots or in the ground?

Determinate tomatoes tend to grow better in pots, while indeterminate tomatoes thrive in the ground because the plants can grow so large that it’s hard for a container to “contain” them. Of course, it is possible to grow both types of tomato either way with success.


Does baking soda make tomatoes sweeter?

Some gardeners say that baking soda lowers the acidity of the soil, resulting in sweeter tomatoes. Others claim this technique does nothing to sweeten tomatoes. If you want to use baking soda on your tomato plants, sprinkle less than a quarter cup of baking soda onto the soil around each plant. As an alternative, you can add a teaspoon of baking soda to a gallon of water and use the water and baking soda solution to water your tomato plants.


How deep should a container be for tomatoes?

Pots for tomatoes should be at least 20 inches wide and 24 inches deep in order to provide plenty of room for the tomato plant’s root system.


How long does it take for a tomato plant to bear fruit?

Tomatoes most often begin producing fruit 40 to 50 days after being planted in the outdoor garden, although there is some variance depending on the type of tomato you are growing. The total time from planting outdoors to harvest averages around 70 to 80 days.


How long does it take to grow tomatoes?

From the time tomatoes are planted in the garden outdoors until fruit begins to develop generally takes 40 to 50 days. Fruits will begin to mature once 70 to 80 days have passed since the tomato plants were planted outdoors. There is some deviation from these averages depending on the type of tomato you are growing.


How many tomato plants can I grow in a 4×4 raised bed?

You can grow up to five tomato plants in a 4×4 raised bed: one plant in each corner and one in the center.


How many tomatoes do I need per square foot?

Gardeners using square foot gardening can grow one tomato per grid square in their garden.


How tall should I let tomato plants grow?

Generally, you should start pruning tomato plants at the top to restrict their growth once they’ve reached the same height as their supports. This amount is usually in the ballpark of four or five feet. After a week or so of consistent pruning from the top of the plant that trims off new growth, the plant will stop trying to grow taller and instead focus on new growth laterally at its current height and the production of fruit.


Want to learn more about commonly ask questions about growing tomatoes in the home garden?

Colorado State University Extension covers Recognizing Tomato Problems

Mississippi State University Extension covers Tomato Troubles: Common Problems with Tomatoes

harvested tomatoes and garden tomatoes with text overlay your tomato questions answered

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