5 secrets to grow your best tomatoes ever

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Whether you believe tomatoes are fruits or vegetables, it’s certain that these nutrition-packed orbs are great for our bodies. 

Growing your own can maximize those benefits even further, as gardening is known to be a stress reducer and mood booster. It’s also a great way to work in light exercise and reduce harmful pollution associated with food transport.

These simple hacks will make cultivating tomatoes easier than ever.

1. Don’t worry about vertical perfection

TikToker Jorge Prieto (@jorgeshiddengardens) had great news for gardeners who struggle to keep their plants upright: You can plant your tomatoes sideways. This is because the tiny hairs on the stem will become roots if they’re embedded into the soil. 

To start, Jorge put a mix of compost and pine bark into a three-gallon pot so that he could bring the plant inside in the event of a cold snap. He then removed the lower branches and laid the tomato plant horizontally in the container, allowing the remaining leafy parts to breathe. 

2. Get more bang for your buck 

By growing their own food, people can save thousands of dollars on produce over a 10-year span. Expert gardener Optimistic Kitchen (@optimistickitchen) passed along a tip to help people get a robust yield from existing tomato plants and avoid extra seed investments. 

The key is to remove the “suckers” from the main tomato plant when they sprout. These can be found between the main stem and the leaf. The suckers can then be grown as new plants. Removing the extra growth also means the original tomato plant has the nutrients it needs. 

3. Pretend the ground is lava

According to Grace Walk Farm (@grace.walk.farm), growing juicy tomatoes is as simple as keeping the vines off the ground. One way to do this is by “pruning heavily at the bottom.” The Almanac noted that this also helps protect the plant from disease. 

The TikToker also pointed out that ripe fruit will attract bugs, so make sure to pluck those tomatoes as soon as possible to keep them from spoiling. 

4. Get cracking to avoid chemical fertilizers 

TikToker Pam Parish (@pamparish) let people in on her secret to growing strong and healthy tomatoes: leftover egg shells, which are packed with calcium. Baking the shells at 180 degrees Fahrenheit for a few hours dried them out, making them easy to crush into a blender. 

The blades did all the work from there, grinding the shells into a fine powder that can be sprinkled into the garden as a natural fertilizer, eliminating the need for expensive and toxin-containing synthetic products

5. Use candy wrappers as inspiration

Grandmother knows best, according to TikToker Sabrina (@sabrina.sustainable.life), whose nonna shared her family’s hack to ensure your green tomatoes don’t turn into a squishy and methane-producing hazard in your garden. 

In the clip, Sabrina’s nonna wraps each green tomato in a piece of paper so that it looks like “a little candy.” Those encased tomatoes can then be stored in a dark space, like a cupboard or basement, where they ripen in several weeks to a month. “You can have a tomato for the whole winter,” Nonna says

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