Tomato Gardening The Organic Way

Fresh vegetables are better than canned produce, and it becomes doubly enjoyable if the vegetables were raised and harvested the organic way. Garden-fresh produce exude a freshness which cannot be replicated in canned goods. One crop recognized worldwide which generates the strongest feedback, the harshest criticism and most ecstatic praise is the homegrown tomato. Experienced people are very critical and meticulous when it comes to judging the qualities of the tomato. Luckily, the results from organic gardening are outstanding and organic tomato gardening techniques are being used more often. However, there are people that have different opinions regarding organic produce. Despite the good results produced through organic gardening, there are still ongoing debates on the interpretation of organic farming and its expected benefits.

According to some associations and institutions, produce can be recognized as organic only if it is made without the use of certain techniques and substances. For instance, produce cannot be grown using synthetic fertilizers or made from sewer sludge. Pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones cannot be used. Techniques such as genetic engineering and irradiation are disallowed. The produce must use organic fertilizer and organic seeds. This implies that organic farming relies on the natural way of farming as done in the past, and the food was available nearby, ripened on the vine and ready for picking according to nature’s calendar. The produce should not be subjected to chemicals or additives to preserve its being shipped from another side of the world.

An organic tomato plant should have a well-drained, nutrient-rich soil with a lot of sunshine. The base of the plant should have mulch to prevent the ground water from evaporating too fast. However, you should make sure that it does not become susceptible to drowning as too much stagnant water could make the roots rot. There should be adequate drainage so the water does not accumulate and stagnate. Tomatoes have a tendency to split if the ground and plant become too dry and then subjected to rain showers or heavy watering. The water should be directed towards the ground and not the leaves. A healthy supply of water will build a good root system to support vigorous growth, adverse weather conditions and insects.

There are varying opinions on the spacing of the plants. Some prefer giving sufficient space between the tomato plants to allow them room to grow and spread their roots. Others contend that the space between the tomato plants should be a little closer than normal, as this will encourage the plants to fight for room and nutrients, making them stronger and more fertile. This approach may result in your weaker plants dying and giving way to the stronger ones. Once the tomato plant starts blooming, shaking the top will agitate the plant and distribute more pollen and hopefully, more fruit.

Companion planting is advisable in helping the growth of the organic tomato plant. For instance, marigolds help keep the bothersome insects away. Some other plants release nutrients which are favorable to the tomato plant. Earthworms and ladybugs may also be useful to the plant.