Growing Tomatoes in Raised Beds

Growing Tomatoes in Raised Beds

For all the vegetables that are grown in gardens today, tomatoes must be one of the easiest to grow, cultivate and harvest. They are one of the most commonly used and eaten vegetables on our diet and they always provide a delicious taste and will enhance any dish that is on the menu. They are widely used as a side salad, they are an ingredient for soups, pizzas, sandwiches, rolls, wraps and are used in a variety of recipies in most restaurants. All gardeners are especially keen to grow these vegetables for a number of reasons, most notably the little amount of work and time involveded and secondly the great returns and yields, for which tomatoes will produce. Little or no experience is required and if we have a place out back that will facilitate a raised bed of any proportion or size we are good to go. Tomatoes are grown in all sorts of containers, pots, utensils , open gardens, but they do especially well in raised

 

 

How to;

 

Tomatoes are voracious growers and need a good deep bed of good quality soil, they dont like competition and they require some extra watering during the intense growing period. Our climate is important, if we live in an arid dry area, we need to pay special attention to the growing of these on a regular basis. Things to watch out for are; watering, fungus, pests, staking and general maintenance. Prepare the raised bed soil with compost, farmyard manure ( if possible ) and or organic fertiliser, all of which are available from local garden centres and nurseries. The soil depth needs to be at least 12 – 14 inches and if we can loosen the earth a bit deeeper than that, the better it is for our tomatoes. Select a good sunny location for the raised beds as they require at least 6-8 hrs sunshine daily.

Now for the planting;

 

Now that we have the preparation complete, its time to begin planting and the most opportune time for this work is when all frosts have dissappeared. We need to be pretty clear about this issue as tomatoes will not grow if frost is still around and they will actually fail in that envoirnment. Once that problem is resolved, we can begin planting. Most gardeners will set tomatoes which are in the seedling or baby plant stage as this will speed up the growth and they also mature earlier. Before planting, its a good idea to water the rootball as this will also help them to get established faster and also ensure that they will survive the shock of being planted outdoors. As soon as these seedlings are planted, its a good idea to mulch the raised bed as this will suppress weeeds and also ensures that the tomatoe plants have no competition, ie, all the nutrients in the raised bed will go towards the growing of these vegetables.

 

 

 

 

 

Buying online or buying locally;

 

In my opinion, its safer and cost effective to purchase these baby tomato plants or seedlings from your local garden centre or nursery, primarily for practical reasons. You can see first hand what you are getting, ie, the quality and then we can also see for ourselves that the plants are healthy and disease free. Always buy plants that are upright, sturdy, strong and have fresh green leaves. These steps might seem to be trivial, but its worth taking the time to ensure what you are buying will be sufficiently adequate for our needs. The other option is to purchase these online and we can encounter a number of problems going down this route. We first and foremost have extra shipping to contend with, they may get damaged in transit, the quality may not be up to scratch and there may be other issues. By buying at your local garden centre, you get that extra assurance and you may also get handy gardening tips from the staff, which always helps.

Feeding and staking;

 

Feeding tomatoes is critically important to guaranteeing a good healthy return for our hard work and we need to do this on a regular basis. As soon as our plants are approx 12 inches in height, that is the right time to commence feeding. We need to do this on a continuous basis, say every 3-4 weeks, right up to the autumn or when the first frost arrives. Feeding can be applied in a liquid form or as a granular type fertilizer. With a garden trowel, rake back the mulch, apply the fertilizer in the general area of the plant, without touching the base of the stem, gently work into the soil and then re-cover that area with the mulch. If using the liquid formula, apply with a watering can in a similar fashion and its a good idea to water these plants afterwards which ensures the fertilizer will reach the roots of the tomatoe plants.

Staking is essential to the health of our plants and we will need to do this as soon as the first fruit appear ( approx 6 weeks after planting ). These stakes are readily available in our garden centres, bamboo sticks will suffice and we need to place these about 6 inches out from the plant, so as not to disturb the roots, then attach the stems to these upright canes  Specialist trellis type tomato frames are also another way of staking our plants and this idea is perhaps the best option as we wont damage the plants and we ensure the tomatoes will continue to grow in their natural formation.

 

 

 

 

Harvesting our tomatoes;

 

This is the time we have been waiting for, since the moment we planted our seedlings back in the spring. Tomatoes can be picked from approx 2 months onwards , or as soon as we deem them ripe enough to be eaten. Once the tomatoes are red all the way round and are a little soft to touch, then we can begin to pick. As the red variety is the most commonly grown type, another indicator is, when all of the green has dissapperaed and the red colour is all around the fruit, then we are good to go. Slightly twist the fruit until it pops off the vine and this ensures the tomatoes will not be damaged. As the tomatoes will not ripen in unison we need to check every second day, so as the fruit will not over ripen. I hope you have enjoyed this post and if you would like to add to this article, please use the comments box below.

Happy gardening to all of you out there…

Cheers  Phil Browne.

 

If you wish to make anything grow, you must understand it,

and understand it in a very real sense.

“Green fingers” are a fact, and a mystery only to the unpracticed.

But green fingers are the extensions of a verdant heart.

-Russell Page.

 


 

6 thoughts on “Growing Tomatoes in Raised Beds

  1. Hello

    Very motivating article on raised beds and tomatoes, it does get me in the mood for gardening. Still about a month before we can plant a garden where I live.

    I was wondering if you can grow vegetables indoors as house plants, this would be awesome if you can since I have a small yard with flower beds and not much room for vegetables but I want to grow some if possible?

    1. Hi there,

      Many thanks for stopping by and offering feedback. Yes its very feasible to grow some vegetables indoors, in fact they perform quite well as they are practically free from a lot of garden pests and the unpredictable climate that we have to contend with sometimes. They will grow exactly like flowers in some ways, so place on a window ledge or sill as they will always require sunlight in order to grow and mature properly. The slight risk in growing vegetables indoors is that we forget to water them, so that is an issue to lookout for. Depending on what you are growing, some veggies and fruit need to be fed on a regular basis as they can be denied the benefits of being grown outdoors.

      Hoping that this addresses your concerns and queries

      Many thanks again and happy gardening

      Cheers……..Phil Browne

  2. Hello Sir

    Very informative article on growing tomatoes in raised beds, that is what I need to do my yard is hilly and very hard to dig and I am not so young any longer to dig so much.

    What are better in raised beds, bush tomatoes or vine tomatos?

    1. Hi there

      Many thanks for stopping by, very much appreciated. That is a question that is often asked and the simple answer is, it can vary from time to time. Bush tomatoes are probably your best bet as they reqquire less maintenance and less staking. On the other hand vine tomatoes as their name suggests require a lot of stjking and tieing up on frames and are also hungry voracious growers and thus need a lot of feeding as well.

      The bush tomato variety would be my recommendation for you.

      Hopefully this information is beneficial and informative.

      Best of luck on your gardening adventures.

      Cheers and thanks again

      Phil Browne

  3. Hello

    Your article has motivated me to go out this weekend and purchase the supplies to start my own raised garden beds for my veggies this year.

    My yard is hilly and it is a lot to dig garden beds for me by hand the past few years, raised beds sounds like the answer to my prayers…………much less expensive than buying a tiller to dig up new garden beds.

    1. Hi there Jefferie

      Many thanks for stopping by. I am thrilled that this post has motivated you to make a start with raised beds. It will definitely make life easier for you . After your first experience with this system, you will be more experienced and have more confidence year after year.

      Thanks again for stopping by

      Cheers……..Phil Browne

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