How to Grow World-Record Tomatoes

Overview

You can impress your friends and family with a harvest of large tomatoes more easily than you might think possible. With a tomato variety that produces huge fruit, like the Beefsteak or the yellow heirloom "Dr. Wyche's," it's possible to grow tomatoes that weigh one pound or more in backyards that receive full sun and have deep, rich garden soil. You can start seeds of more unusual varieties, like "Giant Belgium," or purchase bedding plants at your nursery.

Growing World Record Tomatoes

Step 1

Amend your soil to ensure a world record crop of large tomatoes. After you decide how many tomato plants you want to grow, dig one hole for each plant that is at least 2 shovel lengths deep. Mix the soil with 1 gallon-bucket full of organic compost or well-rotted animal manure. Then refill the hole with the combined soil and compost, leaving the surface about 2 inches below the level of the surrounding soil.

Step 2

Dig one hole in each recessed area you prepared. Make sure it is large enough for the roots of your tomato plant and then set the plant into the hole and fill in with additional soil/compost. Firm the soil gently around the base of the tomato plant. Drive two or three stakes into the soil around your plant, or provide a tomato cage for it, so fruit is supported above the ground. Tie your plant to the stakes or cage when it grows larger to keep fruit off the ground.

Step 3

Flood the basin in which you planted your tomato with water and then keep an eye on the soil moisture for the first two or three weeks. Water again in the same way when the soil begins to dry out. After your plant begins to form flowers, reduce the frequency of water, only flooding the basin when the soil becomes dry or the plant begins to wilt a bit, whichever happens first.

Step 4

Fertilize your young tomato plant with a balanced plant food such as one having an N-P-K ratio of 8-8-8. After it starts to form flowers and set fruit, use a low-nitrogen fertilizer, such as one with an N-P-K ratio of 0-10-10. The lack of nitrogen will cause the plant to form more flowers and fruit and not spend its energy producing foliage.

Step 5

Pinch off sprouts that emerge between the main stem and the branches to encourage strong limbs that will produce the largest tomatoes, then keep only one or two tomatoes on each plant. Remove small forming fruit from the top of your plant and favor fruit toward the bottom.

Step 6

Control problem insects as soon as you notice them. Snails, slugs and tomato hornworms sometimes bother tomato plants. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth or iron phosphate granules on the soil around your tomato plants if you have a snail or slug problem. Hand pick hornworms or dust them with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a natural soil bacterium that kills worms such as this.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid the use of tobacco around your tomato plants because it can cause the harmful tobacco mosaic virus.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Shovel
  • Trowel
  • Stakes or tomato cages
  • Nursery tape or cloth strips
  • Fertilizer
  • Diatomaceous earth (optional)
  • Iron phosphate granules (optional)
  • Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) (optional)

References

  • North Carolina State University: Tomato Production Practices
  • Cornell University: Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Tomatoes
  • Organic Gardening: Tomato Growing Tips
  • Organic Gardenig: Grow Huge Tomatoes
Keywords: tomatoes growing, gardening vegetables, beefsteak cherry

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.