The deep, rich red color and intense flavor of homegrown tomatoes are often the reason many of us start gardens. Now that spring has officially sprung and the weather is getting warmer, this is the perfect time to get these fertile plants in the ground. If you are a novice gardener or a seasoned veteran, these are a great plant to begin with this season.
Not to mention, having tomatoes readily on hand from your garden means you are likely to eat more of them. And they are an incredibly nutritious addition to your diet. Tomatoes are full of vitamins A, C and K, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus – all important nutrients for healthy living. They are also a major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.
So let’s get planting delicious and nutritious tomatoes! Here are three important tips to keep in mind as you set out to plant your tomatoes this season:
1. Find your sunniest spot. Tomatoes love the sun, more than most plants. Tomatoes need at least 6 – 8 hours of full sunlight to grow and cultivate their best flavors, so give them as much warmth and sunlight as you possibly can.
2. Install a stake, trellis or cage. Tomatoes need to grow off the ground, and need as much space to grow as possible. Installing a cage or trellis will help support your plant and give them this room to grow.
3. Use mulch. Cover the ground around your tomato plants with 2 – 4 inches of mulch (even grass clippings will do) to minimize weeds and help the soil stay evenly moist. This will help them grow stronger.
4. Water regularly. Tomatoes need a lot of water, so plan to soak their roots appx an inch deep a few times a week. A good tip for knowing how well watered your plant is: feel the soil. If the top inch is dry, it’s time to water them again.
Don’t be surprised when your tomato plant begins to produce a lot of tomatoes! If you’re not sure how to incorporate all of the tomatoes you harvested into your diet, click here for some recipe inspirations: huffingtonpost.com/entry/best-tomato-recipes. You can also share the wealth by delivering them to friends and family, or donating some to a local food bank. Inter Valley Health Plan hosts classes regularly on health and vitality. For a full list of classes in your area, please visit forhealthandliving.com/ivhpevents.
Article From Inter Valley Health Plan