Today we are going to talk one of my favorite parts of my garden, the tomatoes! I’m going to share with you what I do in our vegetable garden to prepare the soil for ultimate growth, along with some tips that will help you have the best tomatoes this summer!

I have two areas where I plant my tomatoes, and its extremely important to make sure the soil is ready before planting. This year, I’m trying something new. I’ve found some mushroom compost that a few of my garden friends love and highly recommend. I’ve also been saving my egg shells from the chickens, as I’m going to add it to the soil. I grind up the egg shells really small, to an almost sand-like appearance. I sprinkle them throughout the bed. Egg shells can be used as an organic fertilizer because they add extra calcium to the soil and help with blossom rot.

One thing worth noting is tomato plants should be planted after the first frost. Here are a few tips and tricks to get the best tomatoes this summer. I fertilize naturally with the waste from the Chicken coop. I spread some of their waste in the tomato beds, and I plant French marigolds (to work as an insect repellent,) in with my tomatoes. Marigolds are your tomatoes best friend in your garden. They protect the tomatoes from slugs, hornworms, and other garden pests. The scent the marigolds give off will actually mask the smell of your veggies. When planting tomatoes, I like to cut the lower, smaller, leggy bottom leaves off the plant, then plant it deep several inches for a good root foundation. I then mound up around the plant. Once the weather is warm enough, I water every day unless it rains, but it really just depends on your environment. We love tomato so much we have two full raised beds of tomato plants. But you can also plant with other things, like companion plants such as cabbage, carrots, and onions. All of which do well with tomatoes.

Once our tomatoes get a couple inches or more, its time to stake. I have tried all kinds of different methods of staking. I love the metal rod, but it’s actually enclosed in a really nice and hard plastic. I stake them and tie them off with a green tie made for the garden. There are so many ways you can steak and cage tomatoes, you’ll have to just figure out what works best for you. I tend to love the green post and green ties because I can do it as it grows. Throughout the growing season you will continue stake as they grow. Keep in mind when planting your tomatoes, they will need space between each plant as they grow. A good rule of thumb is to give your tomato plants 12 inches of space.

There are so many varieties of tomatoes, and I love them all, but I definitely have a few favorites. I’ve found I love growing Cherokee purple tomatoes, pink lady tomatoes, and of course, heirloom tomatoes the most. I hope you found this guide to be helpful! Be sure to let me know if there are any other gardening tips you’d like to learn! I have a ton of them!