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There are several effective methods of tomato cultivation. The best way to cultivate tomatoes depends on a variety of factors, including the type of soil in the planting location, the amount of moisture typical for the area, and how much time the grower is willing to dedicate to the crop. Traditional tomato cultivation, straw bale cultivation, and container planting are three reliable methods of growing tomatoes.
For traditional tomato cultivation, begin by preparing the soil. Dig a hole for each tomato plant. Amend the soil with homemade or purchased compost, particularly if the soil lacks nutrients or is very heavy. Carefully, remove the tomato plants one at a time. Separate the roots gently, and place in the prepared hole. Place the tomato plant a little lower in the ground than it was in the container.
Gently refill the planting hole, lightly patting the soil around the tomato plant and water. Mulching around the plant will prevent weed growth and help the soil remain moist. Use hay, straw, gardening mulch, or pine needles as mulch. Determinate tomato plants, which are the type most commonly grown in home gardens, require a tomato cage or stake for support. It will be several weeks before the tomato is large enough to require the support, but the plants are much easier to handle when smaller.
Another form of tomato cultivation is the use of straw bales. Straw bale cultivation is ideal for areas with poor soil, particularly if the grower plans to cultivate more than a few tomato plants. To cultivate using bales of straw, simply place the bales of straw in the desired location. Water the straw thoroughly and then use a trowel to open a spot in the straw for planting. Transplant the tomato into the bale of straw, smoothing the straw back over the roots of the plants. Fertilize the tomato plants with a diluted fertilizer once every other week.
For people who have little room for gardening, container tomato cultivation is a good choice. Gather some pots, fill them with top soil and compost, and plant the tomatoes. Areas that receive little natural sunlight are ideally suited for container gardening because the containers are easy to move around to different areas allowing the gardener to take advantage of the sunshine. Container gardens dry out quickly, and may require daily watering. Tomatoes combine well with peppers and herbs to create an ornamental container garden. Plant tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro in a large pot for a salsa garden, or tomatoes, sweet peppers, and basil for an Italian garden.