The tomato is the champion of the vegetable garden. Big, plump, tasty tomatoes are the goal when growing tomato plants. Unfortunately, tomatoes disappoint the gardener when they turn out smaller than expected. A few basic cultural conditions will ensure large tomatoes which live up their full potential.
Tomatoes require full sun--at least six hours a day. The more sun they get, the more tomato plants can grow. Giving tomato plants plenty of room to grow ensures they do not shade each other, maximizing sun exposure.
Tomatoes require moist, rich, well-drained soil. Heavy soils should be amended with large amounts of compost--up to 1/2. Composted manure contributes nitrogen for good leaf growth. Bone meal adds calcium and phosphorus, which aids in flower and fruit production. A light application of mulch retains moisture and shades roots.
Tomatoes require consistently moist, but not waterlogged, soil. Consistent moisture keeps tomato skin flexible and able to grow. Don't let soil go dry during dry spells. When watering, water plants thoroughly at the base of the plant. Avoid getting leaves wet, which encourages fungus.
Heavy feeders, tomatoes should be fertilized regularly to ensure maximum growth and fruit size. Use a slow-release fertilizer formulated for fruiting vegetable plants.
A little trick of fruit culture is to snip excess fruit as it appears. A plant that has a dozen tomatoes will yield larger fruit than one that has several dozen.
Choose tomato varieties that produce large fruit. Beefsteak, Supersteak, Big Boy, Big Girl, Big Beef and Brandywine, among others, consistently produce large tomatoes.