Tomatoes are a very rewarding plant to grow and bear fruits that are classified as vegetables. The binomial name of the tomato is Solanum Lycopersicum. The tomatoes are juicy berries like vegetables that are red in color. Growing tomato plants is easy to do even if you are a beginner. And in the case of square foot gardening tomatoes, it is easy to grow tomatoes and also very efficiently and effectively.
They are rich in nutrients and can be savored in a variety of ways. We can have tomatoes in the form of salads, grill them, bake them, puree, make ketchup, soups, make vegetables, and even just have them raw as snacks.
Tomatoes have great flavor in themselves and can be great to be had raw and also enhances the flavor of a dish when added. It is much better to have tomatoes fresh from your own garden rather than to buy from the stores because of freshness in their taste. Let us see how to grow tomatoes in a square foot gardening way.
Benefits of Growing tomatoes
Tomatoes are super tasty vegetables with sweet and tangy flavors together with being rich in nutrients. They contain many vitamins like Vitamin A, B1, B3, B5, B6, B7, C, and K. They are also rich in many minerals like iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, choline, chromium, and folate.
These are some of the most essential and vital vitamins and minerals that are important for our body. Tomatoes are good for the body for the following reasons-
- Good for bone health – tomatoes contain calcium and vitamin K in them and hence they keep our bones strong as a hundred grams of tomatoes contain 110 mg of calcium.
- Builds immunity system – since they are loaded with vitamin C they provide us with a good immunity system.
- Helps in weight loss – tomatoes are a great option to add to your food when you are on a diet. They help us a lot when trying to lose weight as they encourage the production of enzymes in our body that helps in burning fats by 30%.
- Maintains the health of skin and hair – they also help in maintaining the health of our skin and hair. We can have tomatoes in salads and also use them directly on our skin since they contain lycopene that acts as facial cleansers. They also contain vitamin A that helps hair against damages.
- Healthy heart – tomatoes help in decreasing our cholesterol levels in the blood and also contain vitamin A, vitamin B, and potassium. Hence it helps in maintaining a healthy heart by preventing heart diseases.
- Acts as antioxidants – having good content of vitamin C and vitamin A tomato helps our body in getting rid of harmful free radicals from our blood. The best way to have tomatoes to help them act as antioxidants is by having them raw.
- Cancer – tomatoes contain lycopene that is helpful in preventing you against cancer cells especially stomach, prostate, lung, etc. and results in fewer such incidences.
- Helps in digestion- since they contain lots of fiber in them tomatoes are good for maintaining a good digestive system. They help in preventing constipation by providing roughage to our digestive system.
- Maintains blood sugar – they also help in keeping a check on blood sugar levels and hence prevent diabetes since they contain a mineral called chromium.
- Good for eye health – it helps in preventing many eye problems like cataracts, light-induced damage, and even age-related macular degeneration since they are rich in lycopene, lutein, and beta-carotene.
- Balances blood pressure – tomatoes have high potassium content and low sodium content that helps our arteries to widen and hence helps in balancing the blood pressure.
Check out, How to Take Care of a Vegetable Garden While on Vacation?
Square foot gardening tomatoes
So let us check out how to do square foot gardening tomatoes? Tomatoes are a favorite vegetable of many people around the world because of its sweet to tangy taste. Also, they are versatile and can be used in a variety of ways like grilled, sauteed, pureed, added to vegetables, or even have raw salads and snacks.
Since they are the favorite vegetable to be grown across the globe they are also popular in demand to be planted. Tomatoes are super easy to grow even if you are a beginner and are so much more rewarding.
When we use Square foot gardening tomatoes plantations are even more easy and rewarding since they use up small spaces to grow more plants and give higher yields increasing efficiency. When using square foot gardening we have to start with raised beds of 4 feet by 4 feet or 4 feet by 8 feet and then we have to divide this bed into small areas of a square foot each.
We can also use wooden frames of the square foot with 6 to 7 inches depth for that matter. Then we plant one kind of plant in each square foot and depending upon our need for the plants we can use any number of square foot areas to plant the trees we want to. So let us start to discuss how to grow tomatoes in square foot gardening.
#1. Temperature requirement
For Square foot gardening tomatoes, the temperature requirement is very important. Being a plant that loves warm growing conditions, tomato plants don’t do well in cool soil. These plants do not like frost and cannot tolerate the frosty cold seasons therefore we must start our planting season during the spring season after the last frost when the soil temperatures start increasing. The ideal soil temperatures for growth are 70 degrees to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
So after the spring when the temperature starts to increase we can grow our tomato plants as they don’t like temperatures falling below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The right time for you to start planting tomato plants will differ according to the zone of America that you live in.
Some areas will get the right temperature for growth till April and may so you can decide the right time according to the temperature conditions of the area that you live in.
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Another important factor for Square foot gardening tomatoes is the proper amount of sunlight. Tomato plants love good sunlight conditions to grow well. In order to have a healthy harvest, we must provide the crops with the sunlight of 6 to 10 hours each day.
When the plant will get such direct sunlight conditions it will thrive to give higher yields and in case of the low amount of sunlight the plants will tend to survive but the yields will be likely to reduce accordingly.
When you are deciding the place to grow your tomato plants choose such a place that gets abundant sunlight of 6 to 10 hours per day and also choose a site where there are no tall trees or plants next to the tomato plants that may block the sunlight coming on them or the rest of the garden.
#3. Potting mix
One of the main factors that make a square foot gardening successful is the potting mix. When we are using square foot gardening ways then we are planting the crops in limited space to provide maximum yield and hence it is important that the potting mix or the soil that we are using should be very rich in quality to provide all the required nourishment to the plants and help them grow well.
A great option of using a potting mix for great nourishment is that we can use compost, vermiculture, and peat moss in equal ratios. This mixture is great for providing the required nutrients to the plant. We can also amend the soil with a good amount of compost.
However, the potting mix that we use should be well-drained so that they do not cause waterlogging in the plants that might damage them.
#4. Spacing and planting seeds
For planting the tomato plants in a square foot gardening, we can directly plant the seeds in the ground during the right planting season. Also, we can also plant the seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the average last frost season and then transplant the seedlings when the outside temperatures rise to match the temperature requirements of tomato plants.
These seeds or even seedlings can be purchased from the online market or the local markets. However, as a recommendation beginners can start with buying transplants or seedlings from the market. We can make a hole in the soil and plant the seeds or the seedlings in it and cover it up with a potting mix and water it.
Even though it depends on what kind of tomatoes you are choosing to plant and grow, most of them are climbers and need some support system to grow well in the form of vines.
So at the time of planting the seedlings or seeds, we can also add stakes, sturdy poles, or any such support systems so as to avoid damage to roots later on adding them. The usage of supports like trellis also helps in utilizing the space vertically.
In a single square foot space, we can grow a single plant and they can give about 20 pounds of produce each.
#5. Water requirements
Water is a very important component of a successful tomato garden. We should make sure that we provide the plants with ample water to grow and especially during the dry weather as they will require more water in dry weather than usual.
Make sure that the plant does not be water deprived but also we should take care that we don’t overwater the plants.
Overwatering the plants can cause the roots to rot and damage the crop. For that matter, we must take the soil or potting mix that has good drainage so that the crop doesn’t rot and get damaged. Also in case there was rain in a particular week, see that we water the plants only if sufficient to prevent overwatering.
When we are growing tomatoes it is a good option to prune the leaves of the plant to save the energy on maintaining tones of leaves that the plant can utilize to give more yields. This pruning of leaves will also prevent the tomato plant from wilting and dying and hence we should prune the leaves regularly for healthy produce.
We can prune the lower leaves of the tomato plant and make the plant go deeper in the ground since the plant has the ability to grow more roots on the submerged stems and hence it makes the plant stronger. Also when the plant is pruned it gives way to the sunlight to enter the plant and we know that good sunlight is important for good produce.
It depends on many factors that the cultivator has to take care of as already mentioned to make sure they get good produce and harvest. However, depending upon the type of tomatoes you are growing ideally the harvesting time may range from 60 to 80 days.
When the harvest time comes you can pick fresh tomatoes right from your own garden and savor or store them as you wish to.
Types of tomatoes
Are you wondering what types of tomatoes you can grow in Square Foot Gardening Tomatoes?
There are many types of tomatoes that you can choose from. You can choose these tomatoes that are the best to be grown according to the location or zone of America that you live in as they may prefer certain kinds of climates.
You can also choose the kind of tomatoes depending upon your preferences and choices. So let us see the kinds of tomatoes to choose from-
- Cherry tomatoes
These kinds of tomatoes are tiny and small-sized. Although they are tiny they are very rich in flavor being sweet and summer punchy. The texture they have is soft and they are mostly found in red color looking like cherries but they are also found in yellow, green, and purple in color.
They are supposed to be the most favorite kind of tomatoes for most people as they are super versatile. So you can grow them if you are looking for tomatoes that will add a burst of color and flavor to your meal.
- Heirloom tomatoes
These tomatoes are called so since they are bred having a single genetic line and hence they are purebreds. They are famous for being superior in taste whether you like sweet tomatoes or tangy ones and texture than other tomatoes and can be found in the colors of orange and purple.
However, heirloom tomatoes don’t have long shelf lives as compared to other hybrids and they are also less resistant to disease.
- Plum tomatoes
Plum tomatoes have cylindrical shapes and they have very few seeds in them. They are a good option for making pesto toppings, pastes, and purees together with being good for preserving. It is these plum tomatoes that are mostly used for making sauces and stew.
- Beefsteak tomatoes
These kinds of tomatoes are the most cultivated kinds of tomatoes all around the world and are also regarded as the king of tomatoes. Beefsteak tomatoes have a meaty texture and are mostly found in the colors red, yellow, purple, and black.
Since they have a meaty texture and a thick consistency they are good to be used in salads and sandwiches and hamburgers as they add a mild classic tomato flavor. These are the types of tomatoes you can grow in your Square Foot Gardening Tomatoes.
What should not be planted next to tomatoes?
Wondering what should not be planted next to tomatoes in a square foot gardening?
There are plants that if grown around tomatoes can benefit in the growth of tomatoes and can even be benefitted by it. So while gardening tomato plants we should take care that we choose companion plants to grow around it that doesn’t affect it badly rather it benefits the growth of its own as well as tomato plants. Some of the plants that we should avoid to grow as companions with tomato plants are-
These plants inhibit the growth of tomato plants in some way or the other and therefore we should avoid growing them around it.
How often should tomatoes be watered?
Tomato plants need good watering during the growing season. We should water the plants daily in the early morning during the early growing season. Then as the temperature keeps increasing and the plant starts growing we can water the plants daily.
On average, the plant should be watered one to two inches per week. Hence if there is rain we should check and water the plants accordingly to avoid overwatering the plants as that might cause the roots to rot.
Do tomatoes need support to grow?
There are different kinds of tomato plants that might differ in needing any support or not. But generally, most kinds of tomato plants do need support to grow well including the bush tomatoes and the climbers.
The tomato vines grow and when we give support to the plants they can use the vertical space and keep growing taller. As tomato fruit starts growing it becomes heavier for the plants to hold up straight and they start bending. This weighing down towards the ground might cause the fruits to get spoiled and other damages. Hence yes, tomatoes do need support to grow well.
Should I put rocks at the bottom of my raised garden bed? Tomatoes are plants that need a good watering system. We can water the plants once daily during the early growing season and twice during the good growing season. But we should take care that we don’t overwater the plants as that can cause damage to the roots of the plant and ultimately cause the plants to get damaged.
Hence to prevent such damages in addition to using a well-drained soil we should add rocks and pebbles at the bottom of your raised bed as that can help the excess water percolate through the ground. This will leave the soil with only the water that it needs for growth and allow the rest of the water to drain and prevent any damage due to waterlogging.
How deep does a planter box need to be for tomatoes?
If you are planning to plant the tomatoes in your balcony garden, there are loads of things that you need to take care of. Well, for starters, we all are aware of how little space most of the houses are especially when you are living in an apartment.
In such cases, growing plants in a container are the best option to go for. A planter box is perfect for you that you fix in your balcony and choose any method to plant the tomato plant.
If you visit a nursery, you will find a regular planter box and they are not very deep. So, the minimum depth should be about 12-inches no matter if it is from seeds or seedlings. Once the potting mix is laid down not a lot of space is left out to plant it so that the roots get enough space.
Hence, according to our experience, we believe you should go for about 18-inches deep. Although it does depend entirely on the type of plant that you have.
How many tomato plants can I plant in a 4×4 raised bed?
Do you have an extraordinary lawn where it is even easier to grow tomatoes on a raised bed? Well, since you have a 4X4 raised bed you can easily take up around 4-5 plants to start with. Since you are practically starting up, it is always best to give yourself time, and also plants need a good space to spread out.
Do not put it directly in the corners. Rather make sure they have enough space between them so that they can grow in the best manner. Moreover, there are multiple factors that depend on whether the 4X4 raised bed should have these many tomato plants.
A lot of tomatoes as we have discussed before having huge plant growth and so it may not be the best option for 5 plants together.
What can you not plant with tomatoes?
If you have not heard about it yet, but every plant works pretty well with a companion. Some may work out for the best while others may not be the best option. Here is a list of some of the worst companions or plants that should never be grown with tomatoes.
- Corn: They have pretty much similar pest issues in the garden and it is not advisable to keep them together. They can be harmful in multiple ways and may destroy your tomato plants
- Cabbage Family: We already know how these leafy vegetables are very unfair especially that they produce small insects and other stuff.
- Fennel: Fennel has roots that can create a disturbance to the roots of the tomatoes.
- Walnuts: Similar to this, Walnuts if grown with tomato plants can reduce their overall growth.
Should tomatoes and peppers be planted together?
A lot of gardeners especially new ones just like yourself may face this dilemma whether you can grow tomatoes and pepper together. So, the answer to this lies in your conditions that you are growing in. It depends on the space you have in your gardening area or your balcony garden.
What part of America do you live in and what is the temperature there? Mainly, it is believed that one should not grow these two together since they can destroy each other.
However, since the balcony garden, people do not have much space they need to think of better alternatives. So, we would recommend that you plant these two plants together but make sure they are at least 2-3 feet apart from each other.
That is the least you can do to make sure they do not rot each other. Furthermore, you can even try to rotate them both and grow them with other plants as well. Lastly, do not forget to keep them in check and take action immediately if you see anything unusual happening.
What happens if you plant tomatoes too close together?
Planting tomatoes together can be a little worrisome for certain reasons. Not only tomatoes but any other plants should not be too close to each other. It is because they can catch diseases since they flourish in moist leaves. Unless they have enough space to breathe, the plants will continue to catch any diseases.
Furthermore, tomatoes require proper resources such as sunlight, water, and air too. If they are planted close together they will be competing for the same resources and that will not allow each of them to get enough in the end.
All of this will lead to stunted growth and the plants will die in the end due to lack of sufficient resources. Lastly, you should know that every plant needs space for themselves to bear good fruits and good growth. Well, giving them their space will be the best thing.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How moist should soil be for tomatoes?
Keeping the soil moist is of utmost importance. It is believed that the soil needs to be moist and damp for at least 6 – 8 inches below the ground so that the water reached the roots for good. Also, moisture does not mean overwatering the plants. It will ruin everything and even rot the roots from the ground. Giving an ample amount of water is necessary. Moreover, the right kind of potting mix for the base is important as well since the best ones keep the soil moist as needed.
2. Why are my tomato leaves curling up?
As we have discussed several times. Tomato plants need proper resources for healthy growth. If the winds are too high, low humidity, dust, etc can lead to damaging the tomato plant. With too much heat and low moisture, your plant can start to curl up or better say gry out and dampen the process. You will experience it with other plants too when due to too much heat the leaves tend to roll up and dry out.
3. Is it bad to water tomato plants at night?
You might have known by now that Tomatoes do like moist soil at all times. But too much water in the soil can be very harmful. If you are planning to water the plants at night, we would recommend not to continue with it. The main reason is that during the day time after you have watered the plants, the heat of the sun leads to evaporation of excess water.
However, this is not the case at tonight’s time and hence the water will remain intact in the soil for the entire night and rot the roots one by one. You may never want it so it is always better to water them before 12 pm so that everything works out for the best.
4. Do tomatoes like wet or dry soil?
Well, tomatoes like moist soil to be precise. Not too dry but not too wet as well. There is perfect potting soil that retains water and keeps the soil moist at all times. So, if you have the right soil for this, you may not have to worry about anything. Also, you can water more during summer as you cannot simply leave the soil dry or the tomatoes may rot with lack of water.
You may like the following square foot gardening ideas:
- Square Foot Gardening Pole Beans
- Square Foot Gardening Strawberries
- Square Foot Gardening Spinach
- Square Foot Gardening Basil
- Square Foot Gardening Potatoes
- Grow Corn in Square Foot Gardening
- Watermelon square foot gardening
- Square Foot Gardening Broccoli
Tomatoes are great vegetables to grow and once you grow them in your own garden you will see they are so much more rewarding than the tomatoes we buy from the market. Square foot gardening tomatoes is an amazing way to grow tomatoes at home since it allows us to use the vertical space and grow tomato plants in small spaces giving good yields. Square foot gardening tomatoes are easy to do even if you are a beginner.
Tomatoes are versatile because of their fleshy texture and sweet to tangy taste. Not only do they taste great but they are also rich in vitamins and minerals content and hence they are great for our body in many ways. Before starting to plant tomatoes we should choose the kind of tomatoes we want to grow depending upon the location of America you live in and also depending on the choices and preferences.
Once we decide the kind of tomatoes we are planning to grow we can purchase the seeds or seedlings and transplants from online or local markets. We must take care of the temperature requirements, the sunlight requirements, potting mix, watering needs, spacing, planting, pruning and that will make sure that we get a good harvest this year.
I am Elsa, love gardening. I spent lots of time with plants, flowers, it gives me lots of happiness.
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