Heirloom tomatoes are a joy to grow. They come in numerous varieties and are a great starting point if you wish to turn your garden into a business.
From the Cherokee Purple and Amish Rose to Pink Berkeley, Sara Black and beyond, growing heirloom tomatoes require meticulous attention to detail, patience and a bucket full of knowledge. Here are useful tips and tips to successfully grow your first batch of heirloom tomatoes.
Find the best tomato grown in your region
Like we said, tomatoes come in wide varieties. The key here is to grow the best ones that adapt well to your region. You need to remember that each location yields a different climate, affecting the fruit in numerous ways. So it’s not as easy as picking a kind you like.
For example, growing Cherokee Purple and German Johnson in Oregon will produce different-tasting ones when planted in North Carolina. Be aware of which ones will work best. After all, growing conditions directly affect taste.
Prepare your soil
The soil is one of the most mysterious elements of gardening. However, it can’t have control over it. When it comes to heirloom tomatoes, the ideal pH level of your soil must be between 5.5-6.8. You also need it to be fertilized, aided by natural and organic fertilizers as well as deep and drained enough to accommodate the seeds.
To make sure your soil yield the perfect environment for your future produce, a guide would be 3 inches (7.6 cm) of organic matter into the top 6 inches (15.2 cm) of soil. Along with this, a cover crop like a grain or legume will help build the soil.
Have enough space in between
It’s essential to maintain enough space between your tomatoes. Heirlooms, in particular, grow big and robust produce in volumes. So you want them to receive enough nutrition from the soil, prevent any pressure disease and let them thrive freely.
The ideal distance between each tomato is at least a foot. Be sure to maintain a four-foot space between the rows as well. You wouldn’t want your tomatoes stifled and stunted.
Protect and support
One thing you have to remember about heirloom tomatoes is they are very delicate. Once a leaf or a tomato touches the ground, there is no second rule. It may have already picked up a disease. That’s why you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself when 50% of your crops end up failing. The next best thing is to learn how to protect and support it.
The best way is to create a strong trellising system. The idea is to prevent your produce from picking up any disease but still keep it accessible for harvest time. Many heirloom farmers like to install ladders or leave them trained to a string to lower the fruits easily once ready.
Never pick them when wet
Here’s the thing: Tomatoes don’t adhere to wetness very much. When you decide to harvest them after rain, they’ve already absorbed a lot of water and don’t taste as good. Wait it out for a day or two. You’ll definitely notice the difference when you do.