The United States is second only to China in growing tomatoes, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Three-fourths of the tomatoes eaten by Americans are processed. Growing and eating fresh tomatoes, using them to create sauces from scratch and canning them for winter use doesn't require much garden space. Tomatoes bear repeatedly throughout the growing season, are low in calories and high in vitamins A and C. Lycopene, the pigment that makes tomatoes red, is an antioxidant that may help prevent cancer and heart disease.
Water tomato plants frequently. Soak the top 6 to 8 inches of the ground twice a week. Even watering will prevent the plant from developing blossom-end rot.
Hoe between the plants and in the rows until the tomatoes are established. Cover the ground between the plants with organic mulch like straw, or black plastic. This will eliminate weeds and keep the soil moist.
Remove some or all of the suckers. Suckers are shoots that develop where the stem and a branch meet. Remove all of the suckers if you want to produce very large tomatoes. Leave some of them for a bushier plant with a higher yield. Remove them by pinching them between your thumb and forefinger.
Fertilize the garden one week before planting tomatoes, and again the day you plant. Fertilize again when the fruit sets and then once every week, or 10 days.
Support the tomato plants with cages or stakes, or train them to climb a trellis. Unstaked tomatoes will thrive and produce fruit, but they take up a lot of room in the garden.
Cover the plants at the first frost. Encourage them to finish producing by removing any blossoms and leaves to expose the remaining fruit to the warmth of the sun.