That first bite into a ripe and juicy tomato you pick from your garden is out of this world. You want more! To make your tomato plants produce more fruit is as simple as these tips I have been using for many seasons now.
It’s no big secret. The first stop is the seed store. Pick an indeterminate tomato cultivar. Why? It will keep on producing fruits until the frosty winter kills them. Step two is to cover the soil with mulch to make it warm all the time. Lastly, flowers will need your help for pollination. You can tap the stems gently or vibrate the stem using an electric toothbrush.
That’s only the tip of the iceberg. Let’s go over, in detail, how you can pull this off in your garden like I do mine. Let’s go!
How to Make Tomato Plants Produce More Fruits
My three tips above will work but you might be wondering what a cultivar is or what an electric toothbrush is doing in the same sentence as tomatoes. If you are, I can tell you this, to make tomato plants produce more fruits you need to apply a more holistic involvement.
Let’s begin with the first gem I dropped: picking the correct tomato variety.
Pick an indeterminate variety
You should know tomatoes are grouped broadly in two categories: indeterminate and determinate.
Indeterminate which I mention first and for good reason is the best to grow. Here are the reasons according to agronomists:
- They grow taller than their indeterminate counterparts
- They produce more fruits, continuously over a longer period of time (till winter comes or frost then they die!)
Determinate tomatoes, which is the other variety, produce fruits once and in bulk over a short period of time. Wikipedia says it could be as short as a month after the first harvest.
During the growing season, indeterminate tomato types generate a lot of fruit.
Once you see that, you understand what I mean when I say you should consider indeterminate tomatoes if you want your tomato plants to produce more fruit.
Some of the Indeterminate tomato seeds you can buy for your garden are:
Organic Black Cherry Tomatoes – Cherry tomatoes are small, but there are a lot of them! They’re great for munching, and the plants will keep producing fruit for quite a while.
Juliet is a plum tomato that produces fruit that is slightly larger than cherry tomatoes.
Yellow Brandywine is a large-fruited cultivar. They take a little longer to ripen than smaller tomatoes, but they’re delicious and beautiful!
Cherokee Purple Organic – a purple tomato if you don’t want your tomatoes to be red, orange, or yellow!
Starting your seeds indoors
Seeds need a lot of care for you to get a healthy transplant. Starting the seeds inside is one of the finest ways to regulate the quality of your tomato transplants. That way, you’ll be able to start the seeds at the ideal moment and care for them as they grow.
Tomato seeds germinate for about 6 to 11 days when all is right. By right I mean, the pot is moist and the temperature range is maintained at between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 29 degrees Celsius).
Tomato seeds should be started 5 to 7 weeks before the plants are to be transplanted outside. When the frost starts to disappear, begin transplanting your babies.
Old farmer’s almanac has a neat frost date calculator to find the frost dates for your area.
Frost calculators help you plan your transplanting date and match that to your seeding date. Or if you don’t plant the seeds yourself, you at least know when to go shopping for seedlings.
Some big-box gardening stores leave their tomato plants outside overnight. Tomato plants will be stressed and damaged if it gets too chilly.
When shopping for seedlings, choose tomato plants that are vigorous and healthy, with a height of roughly 6 inches (15 centimeters). One hundred dollars a month blog has a great resource to help you pick the right seedling.
Select a Site and Prepare the Soil
. When picking a place for your tomato plants, keep the following in mind.
Tomato plants love sunlight. When picking a spot in the garden for your tomato, you’ll need to choose and prepare one with lots of sunlight ( at least 8 hours of direct sunlight per day).
If your tomato is potted you can move it to areas with even more sun at the later stages.
Type of Soil
Tomatoes, like any other plant, are susceptible to root rot caused by wet soil. They prefer well-draining soil rather than heavy clay.
To improve the drainage in your soil, add some compost or old manure to the mix. This will not only enhance drainage but raise the organic content in the soil as well.
Compost and manure enrich your soil with nutrients. However, if you always have something planted in your garden the soil may get ‘exhausted’ (nutrients are depleted). In that case, you might additional fertilizer.
The “big three” nutrients will be provided with an NPK fertilizer (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium). Remember, according to Texas A&M University, too much nitrogen might impede fruit production.
Calcium is provided by lime, whereas magnesium and sulfur are provided by Epsom salt. Before you add anything to your soil, acquire a soil test if you’re a newbie gardener.
Tomatoes are a warm-season vegetable. They die off easily in cold weather. You’ll need to keep your plants warm if you reside in a chilly climate with a short growing season. To keep your plants warm, use a cloche, row covers, or a greenhouse.
My essay on how to protect tomato plants from the cold may be found here.
If temperatures are too high, tomato fruits will get sunburnt. A delicate balance is important for high productivity.
Harden Tomato Seedlings Should Be Hardened Off
Hardening your seedlings is done by allowing your seedlings to gradually acclimate to outdoor conditions. This will reduce the impact of abrupt changes in light, temperature, wind, and water.
You harden seedlings because young seedlings get stressed or damaged easily during transplanting. As a result, they yield less fruit as they mature. Always harden the seedlings to avoid such losses.
It takes 7 to 10 days for the skin to harden. During this stage, progressively increase the amount of time the seedlings spend outside, under less sheltered conditions.
If you don’t harden, you might regret it!
More information on how to harden off seedlings may be found in my article here.
Tomato plants are sensitive to too much cold or heat. If it is exposed to temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius), it will shed its flowers. This is more likely to happen at night in the early spring, according to the Ohio State University Extension.
Remember to wait till the frost ends before taking them outside for transplanting.
At about 6 inches tall, your tomatoes are ready for transplanting. More information about transferring tomato seedlings outside can be found in my article.
Install Tomato Plant Stakes or Supports
Before you move your tomato plants into their new home, there’s one more thing to do. You must install a support system for when they get taller.
Vertical support enables your tomato plants can grow upward instead of along the ground. Your fruits are kept from touching the ground. This keeps infections from reducing your output or ruining your harvest.
To support higher indeterminate tomato types, use tomato stakes or a trellis. Use twine to attach the plants to the post or trellis every 12 inches (30 centimeters) or so as they grow.
Tomato stakes are a fantastic technique to support climbing tomato vines, especially indeterminate types that grow longer.
Shorter determinate tomato cultivars benefit from the use of a tomato cage. My post on how to support tomato plants (and why you should) can be found here.
Bury the bottom half of tomato plants deep
Say your tomato plant is 9 inches tall from the ground to the top, the bottom 6 inches of earth, including the roots, should then be buried. The plant’s top 3 inches should be left above ground.
Keep in mind that tomatoes are a plant with a deep root system. The majority of the roots are found in the top 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 cm) of soil, although the roots can reach a depth of 10 feet (3 meters), according to the University of Georgia.
Tomato plants should be buried in a hole that is 2/3 the height of their roots to the top of the plant.
When a tomato plant is buried deeply, the vine grows new roots wherever it comes into contact with the earth. The plant can absorb more water and nutrients from the soil if it has more roots.
In the long run, this will yield more and better fruit! In my essay, I go over all of the advantages of burying your tomato plants deep.
The soil should be at least 18 inches (45 cm) deep for planting tomatoes in a raised bed or container. This provides plenty of room for the roots to expand.
Finally, space tomato plants 24 to 36 inches (60 to 90 centimeters) apart. This eliminates plant competition for water and nutrients in the soil.
Regulate Weeds Using Mulching
You’ll need to preserve your tomato seedlings after they’ve been transplanted outside. You won’t be able to eradicate every pest or disease, but you can improve your plants’ chances of survival.
Mulch is an excellent strategy to aid your tomato plants’ growth and fruit production. Mulch, for one thing, keeps weeds out of your tomato plants and keeps them from competing with them.
Mulch suppresses weeds and retains moisture in the soil, allowing your tomatoes to thrive and produce more fruit.
Mulch also protects plants from unseasonably cold weather by insulating the soil. Finally, a layer of mulch aids water retention in the soil, making it easier to water your tomato plants.
Water Your Tomato Plants Evenly One of the most critical things in getting more fruit from your tomato plants is to water them evenly. Tomato plants will slow down their growth or produce fewer fruits if they don’t get adequate water.
A tomato plant’s ability to absorb calcium from the soil might also be hampered by a lack of water. This will cause blossom end rot in tomato plants and fruit, which is caused by a lack of calcium.
Check the soil around your tomato plants on a regular basis. With your fingers, dig down a few inches.
Give the plant some water if the soil is dry at that depth. Allow plenty of time for the water to seep into the soil.
To avoid blossom end rot and other fruit-production issues, water your tomato plants evenly.
The tomato plant will produce deep roots as a result, allowing it to access water that is deeper underground. A larger, more robust root system will aid the plant’s survival during a dry time.
Pollinate your tomato plants by hand.
This is a strategy for growing extra fruit from tomato plants that aren’t well known. Many people are aware that bees pollinate flowers, allowing plants to fruit.
Many people, however, are unaware that tomatoes self-pollinate. This indicates that they have blooms with both male and female parts.
As a result, tomato blossoms can self-pollinate. Self-pollination, on the other hand, does not guarantee fertilization!
Many variables can still prevent tomato plants from pollinating properly. This list includes the following items:
- High humidity causes pollen to adhere to the male part of the flower, preventing it from fertilizing the female part.
- Low humidity – pollen that has fallen from the male part of the flower will not cling to the female section of the bloom.
- Lack of stimuli — A tomato flower requires a stimulus, such as a buzzing bee or wind, to self-pollinate.
- Fortunately, there is a way to assist your tomato plants with pollination. To increase the amount of fruit produced by tomato blooms, hand pollinate them.
To pollinate the blossoms, tap them with an electric toothbrush or even a tuning fork. Simply turn on the toothbrush and stroke each bloom one at a time.
To manually pollinate tomato blooms, use an electric toothbrush.
The vibration (similar to that of a buzzing bee) will trigger the pollination of the flowers. You might even notice pollen puffs emerging from the blossoms! This is how you can tell if it’s working or not.
More information on hand-pollinating tomato plants can be found in my article here.
What Is the Maximum Number of Tomatoes That One Plant Can Produce?
Now you’re probably wondering how much fruit your tomato plants will produce. The truth is that it is dependent on the type of variety.
Hundreds of tomatoes can be produced from a single tomato plant. Plants with smaller fruits produce more tomatoes in general.
A single cherry tomato plant, for example, might produce hundreds of little tomatoes in a season. On the other hand, each plant may only produce a dozen huge heirloom tomatoes.
A single plant can produce a large number of smaller tomatoes, such as plum tomatoes.
You can expect 10 to 15 pounds of tomatoes per plant, according to the University of Maryland Extension.
You now know how to increase the yield of your tomato plants. You also know how to start them off properly, whether from seed or transplants acquired.
I hope you found this post informative; if so, please forward it to someone who might benefit from it. It’s time to return to the garden and plant even more tomatoes than before!