How to Grow Home-Grown Tomatoes


According to the University of Illinois, the tomato is the most popular crop grown in gardens in the United States. Tomatoes are a warm season fruit and do not handle frost well at all. But however short your growing season is, there is a variety of tomato that can produce fruit during it. There are several varieties that take 60 days or fewer days to harvest. Tomatoes come in a wide variety of sizes and colors, from cherry tomatoes to 2-pound beefsteak tomatoes, and in colors that range from red to yellow, orange and pink.

Step 1

Test the soil. Check the pH of the soil where you want to grow your tomatoes. Tomatoes prefer a pH of 6.5 to 7.0. Add a pound of lime for every 100 square feet to neutralize your soil if it is too acidic.

Step 2

Add 4 to 5 inches of compost or manure to the soil and work it in to a depth of 6 inches to improve the condition and drainage.

Step 3

Dig holes for your tomatoes as deep as the root ball and two times as wide. Space tomato plants 1 to 3 feet apart depending on the variety. Place the tomato transplants in the holes and fill the holes with soil.

Step 4

Water tomatoes until the soil is moist with 3 to 4 tablespoons of a water soluble complete fertilizer, like 8-8-8 or 10-10-10, mixed with a gallon of water. Mulch over the ground around the plants.

Step 5

Water the tomato plants with 2 quarts of water per day for each plant until they are ready to harvest. Allow the water to soak into the ground thoroughly.

Step 6

Apply the complete fertilizer mixed with water three to four times during the tomatoes growing season--about once every month.

Tips and Warnings

  • Many insects attack tomato plants, such as aphids, leaf miners and horn worms. Spray the plants to protect them from these pests.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Manure or compost
  • Complete fertilizer
  • Lime


  • University of Illinios: Tomato
  • University of Missouri: Growing Home Garden Tomatoes
  • University of Ohio: Growing Tomatoes in the Home Garden

Who Can Help

  • University of Colorado: Recognizing Tomato Problems
Keywords: growing tomatoes, home grown tomatoes, home garden tomatoes

About this Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer for many online publications including Garden Guides and eHow. She is also a contributing editor for Brighthub. She has been writing freelance since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing, and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. Johnson has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.