Where should you plant tomatoes?
So focusing on the first aspect, it is fairly common knowledge that tomatoes need sunshine, sunshine in abundance and that means a minimum of 6 hours a day. They wouldn’t suffer and would probably enjoy up to 10 hours a day, so that is your first consideration and what it means is to identify a south, south east or south west facing location. Unless you are in the southern hemisphere and if you are I’ll leave you to work out where you get most sun. By providing this amount of exposure to the sunshine you will be pretty much ensuring that your tomatoes will ripen readily and that you will not be left with a whole harvest of green tomatoes, even though green tomatoes are great for chutney.
Tomato plants are also not that robust, this is the reason that you have to tie them up with soft string or find some other means that will not damage them. It follows then that if they are being battered by wind, or are exposed to odd bouts of severe weather, then they are likely to become damaged and perhaps you may lose a few trusses or maybe even a whole plant or two. So do them a favour and find them a reasonably sheltered spot. Being close to a wall or fence will go a long way towards protecting them providing you keep them on the sunny side of course.
Now for the second aspect, caring for tomatoes. This primarily refers to watering, when watering the practicalities are that ideally they need to be watered little and often. This is because they love to be sitting in moist well drained soil and hate having saturated feet and being water logged. So unless you have some sort of automatic watering system plumbed in then you need to be physically delivering water to your plants on a fairly regular basis, so planting near a source of water is the best solution.
Finally, tomatoes need to be inspected regularly for signs of disease or pests. It is much easier to do this if they are planted in a reasonable sized raised bed that gives you access from all sides. It doesn’t have to be a raised bed, containers can also be very effective or you can just make sure you have a path through your garden close to the tomatoes. Basically you will need reasonably easy access to the plants so you can inspect, treat and prune them as required without walking between them and compacting the soil.
If you don’t have the facilities to provide the ideal conditions, it’s not the end of the world. You just need to work with what you have got. This will mean careful plant selection so that you can deal with the conditions the plants have to grow under. For example choose an early maturing variety if you have limited sunshine. Perhaps grow cherry tomato varieties if you are tight on space or use containers on a patio if your garden is very small or you don’t actually have one. Where there is a will there is a way and when you produce your first fruit you will be glad you persevered.
As you can see from the photograph if you follow these rules you will end up with some pretty perky looking tomatoes 🙂
You can follow this link to find out how to build a raised bed if you are interested.