Home-Grown Tomato Essentials

TOMATOES Containers - EAST TOMATOES Containers - WESTTOMATOES in-Ground - EAST TOMATOES in-Ground - WEST TOMATOES Raised Bed - EASTTomatoes…we wait patiently from Fall to Summer to enjoy this delectable Summer indulgence once again. There is nothing quite like a home-grown tomato, and we’d like to help you grow the most delicious crop ever this year.


When selecting which tomatoes to plant, it’s important to know that there are two different classifications of tomatoes: determinate and indeterminate. These designations should be listed on your plant tags at your Master Nursery® Garden Center. Determinate, or bush varieties, grow 1 to 3 feet tall. When flowers form at the vine tips, the plant stops growing. This means fruit sets all at once – which makes them excellent for canning. Indeterminate types, on the other hand, are sprawling vines that grow 6 to 20 feet long and keep producing and growing until frost. Indeterminate vines should be pruned to ensure that they do not put too much energy into vine production. Pinch out side-shoots (“suckers”) as they develop to prevent excess growth and encourage more fruit. All tomatoes will require support, and this should be installed at planting time.

Select a sunny location for your tomatoes and be sure to give your plants plenty of room to grow; we suggest planting tomatoes 3 feet apart on center. Tomatoes may be grown in the ground, in raised garden beds, and in containers or pots. This makes it easy to grow tomatoes in any location with a full sun exposure!

When growing in a garden bed, be sure to first amend your garden soil with Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Soil Builder [Eastern & Midwestern Regions | Western Region]. The addition of Bumper Crop® Soil Builder will get your tomatoes off to a proper start by enriching your soil as it helps increase drainage while also improving the soil’s water-holding capacity.

When growing in a raised bed, for best results, simply fill the bed entirely with Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Soil Builder [Eastern & Midwestern Regions].

If choosing to grow in pots and containers, it is best to fill them with Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Potting Soil [Eastern & Midwestern Regions | Western Region]. This nutritious soil blend will meet the needs of your tomatoes, yet it is lightweight, making it effortless to move or rearrange containers, and ensures that a porch or deck can reliably support the weight of a collection of containers.

Tomato plants should be set deep in the soil with the first leaf just above ground level. Leggy plants can even be planted horizontally as roots will develop from the planted stem. It is important to fertilize tomato plants at planting time, again at fruit set, and then every 1 to 2 weeks thereafter throughout the growing season. We suggest using Master Nursery® Bumper Crop® Tomato and Vegetable Food. This masterly crafted vegetable food is naturally blended to enrich plant growth without producing excessive foliage at the expense of fruit. The additional phosphate helps to ensure the production of high-quality fruits and vegetables. Its calcium aids in preventing disorders like blossom end rot, common to tomatoes but easily avoided with the use of this fertilizer.

Water at planting time, check your tomato plants daily, and water as needed. It’s a good idea to apply mulch around all vegetable plants, whether planted in the ground, in a raised bed, or in containers, to help keep the soil moist and cool. Salt hay or shredded straw works just fine!

If you have any question regarding the products mentioned in this article or cultivating tomatoes, stop by your favorite Master Nursery® Garden Center, and their qualified staff will be happy to assist you. Now, let the tomato season begin!