Having your own veggie patch is not only a money saver but a health boost too, with the fresh ingredients providing the perfect side to any meal. However, it can be difficult to master the art of gardening and producing delicious vegetables especially tomatoes – which are staple in most households.
Thankfully there are a few ways to ensure tomatoes end up juicy and fresh with these simple steps helping any gardener to create their dream crop.
If you have a sweet tooth, baking soda or bicarb is known to sweeten tomatoes. Start off by simply sprinkling a small amount of powder around the base of your tomato plants. Why? The baking soda will be absorbed into the soil and lower the acidity levels, resulting in sweeter tomatoes.
The thought of a fishy fertiliser might have you plugging your nose, but it can give your garden a real boost. As the fish head decays, it releases nitrogen, potassium, calcium, and many essential trace elements. Fish heads have been used as a fertiliser in the garden for a long time and are an effective organic way to help your produce along. Just make sure you bury the heads deep in the soil, to prevent attracting every neighbourhood cat to your garden for a dinner party!
Try planting your tomato plants deeper into the earth than they come in the pot. Doing this helps the tomato plants develop roots all along the buried section of their stem, which will make for a stronger plant. You can do this by either digging a deep hole or by digging a shallow trench and laying the plant sideways. Even though it’s planted sideways it will quickly straighten itself up and grow towards the sun.
Just as it is for humans, calcium is an important component of growth for plants, and eggshells are known to provide plenty. When crushed and mixed into the soil, eggshells will boost the calcium content of the soil around the plant and prevent blossom-end rot (a yellow-brown water-soaked spot that can appear on the end of the fruit).
Sunlight is an essential component of a good tomato crop – the more sunshine a tomato plant gets, the more tomatoes it produces. However, once the tomato is ready to ripen, the fruit itself does not need light.
Amazingly, aspirin can help a tomato plant ward off diseases. Simply drop two to three aspirin tablets whole or ground in the planting hole. Salicylic acid, a compound in aspirin, primes the plants against insect attack.
As tomato plants can suffer from magnesium deficiency, try adding one or two tablespoons of Epsom salts to the soil before transferring the seedlings into the planting hole. To ensure the roots are not directly touching the salt, cover it with a thin layer of soil before planting.
To improve soil composition, put some used coffee grounds into the planting hole. Used coffee grounds are a great fertiliser and can even be used as mulch.