Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:28 pm
When you plant tomatoes in the open ground, there are some things to consider. Read here what you need to know about location and care of tomatoes in the open ground.
First, grow the tomato seedlings indoors in individual pots or seed trays. The ideal time for sowing is the end of March / beginning of April. You will need:
- Tomato seeds
- Growing soil
- Growing pots/ seed trays (alternatively: egg carton).
Sow the tomato seeds thinly in the growing pots and place them on a bright windowsill at about 18 to 20 degrees Celsius. A heated small greenhouse is also very suitable for this purpose.
Keep the soil moist at all times and the tomato seeds will begin to germinate after about eight days.
After another three weeks, the tomato seedlings will have developed their first two pairs of leaves. Now place each seedling in pots about ten centimeters tall.
Water the young tomato plants regularly and only insert a short dry period shortly before planting out, thus providing an impulse for root growth.
Tomato plants do not tolerate frost, so you should start planting outdoors only after the Ice Saints (May 12-15).
Planting tomatoes outdoors
Before moving outdoors, it is important to think about the location of tomato plants.
It is important to protect the plants from the cold, strong winds and rain. These requirements are met, for example, a sunny place in front of a wall, which even reflects heat.
Tomatoes are one of the few crops that do not need to change location every year: as long as they thrive healthily, they are allowed to stay in the same stem place for years.
However, you should not plant nightshade plants or potatoes in the immediate vicinity of tomatoes, these negatively affect the growth of tomatoes due to strong soil leaching.
The soil should be as nutrient-rich, fresh and permeable as possible before you plant the tomatoes.
Note: A tomato house* also provides protection from rain and wind. The open side must be turned away from the weather side, so in our latitudes must not face west.
All-around closed houses or special tomato hoods for the open field are not recommended because of condensation water and increased risk of fungal diseases.
To transplant tomato plants into the garden, they must be hardy enough. You can tell this by concrete signs:
- height of the plants from 30 to 40 centimeters.
- beginning formation of the first flower umbels
- no or very little developed yellowing
Attention. In grafted tomatoes, the pot ball should just be visible.
Plant the young tomato plants as deep as possible in the garden soil.
Remove the lower leaves first, leaving only the top four.
This will allow many new roots to develop on the stem in the soil. It also allows the deep-lying roots to still absorb water during drought.
To ensure aeration of the soil, plant the tomatoes with a wide planting spacing of at least 50 x 60 centimeters in the soil.
Fill the planting hole with compost. After that, water the tomato plants heavily so as not to water in the following days. This will stimulate root growth again.
Care for tomato plants
In order for your plants to grow beautiful tomatoes, you need to regularly prune out the side shoots.
Break off the stingy shoots growing out of the leaf axils with your hands and also remove yellow, withered or diseased leaves at the same time.
How much to bud out depends on the variety: Cocktail tomatoes can easily remain multi-shoots, and some bushy-growing varieties also do not need to be thinned out.
Always water tomato plants only directly to the root zone. This will help you prevent fungal diseases such as late blight.
Also, each tomato plant needs a climbing support so that the main stem of the tomato can grow up well. Attach the stem to the stick with wire or a ribbon.
Then in August, remove the inflorescences at the top of the shoots. These fruits would not ripen by the end of the season and the energy of the tomato plant is concentrated on the remaining fruits. You can harvest the tomatoes between June and October.
Note: Green tomatoes are toxic due to the alkaloid solanine. This regresses as they ripen. Harvest the tomatoes only when they have fully developed their typical color. Then, in addition to vitamins B and C, tomatoes also have many healthy minerals.
Before the first night of frost in October, cut off any remaining fruit that is still green and allow the tomatoes to ripen by storing them indoors.
In addition to tomatoes, other vegetables such as peppers and cucumbers can be grown in the garden. Here the site conditions are the same as for tomatoes: Peppers need a lot of sun and also a climbing support to grow.
Therefore, when growing bell pepper seeds and moving them outdoors, proceed in the same way as with tomato plants. However, bell pepper plants grow more slowly than tomatoes and remain much smaller. All varieties of peppers are basically perennial, but wintering is possible only in a heated greenhouse or conservatory.
Cucumbers are divided into outdoor and salad cucumbers. The salad cucumbers are usually cultivated in the greenhouse. For outdoor cucumbers, proceed in the same way as for peppers, in the same way as for tomato plants. Cucumbers are annual plants and can grow shoots one to four meters long, depending on the variety.
Therefore, plan enough space for the cucumber plants (planting distance 100 x 40 cm). In order for the cucumber plants to grow in height, you can tie the main shoots to a climbing aid with a string. For this purpose, a two-meter high wire mesh, a similar trellis or even strong wooden stakes are suitable.