Would you like giant tomatoes as you see at the local county fairs? Use these handy tips to grow big, juicy, and gorgeous large red tomatoes.
If you are gardening for big tomatoes, there are two things you need to keep in mind: growing conditions and variety.
Keeping in mind the important parts of growing healthy plants, like spacing, sunlight, and soil, as well as choosing the right variety will keep you knee-deep in huge, delicious fruits and veggies.
Read on for more tips and learn how to be the newest big tomato competitor in your local county fair.
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Growing Conditions for Big Tomatoes
The first part of growing big tomatoes is creating the perfect growing conditions. There are many things to keep in mind.
You have to start with a good soil mixture, keep plants well-watered and healthy with a 5-10-10 fertilizer and generous amounts of compost of organic material.
Get ahead of any issues if you experience leggy tomato seedlings by investing in a grow light and adequate pots. Read more about fixing leggy tomatoes here!
Spacing Seedlings for Big Tomatoes
When planting tomato seedlings, make sure to space them far enough apart to avoid overcrowding. Space all staked tomatoes at least one and a half feet apart, and at least two feet for plants not staked.
For some extra-large tomato varieties, you may need to space plants four feet apart, with six feet in between rows.
Not only will this help in allowing room for you to harvest and care for your plants, but it will also allow the plants to produce more fruit and be less susceptible to pests and disease.
Look into companion herbs and vegetables to plant near one another to maximize the harvest and increase yield.
Location of Big Tomato Plants
Location is another important component of successful tomato gardening. Tomatoes need at least 7 hours of direct sunlight every day. If they do not receive enough sun, the plant will produce more leaves than fruit in order to compensate.
These tall plants also need protection from the wind. Make sure to check plants daily to ensure that they are getting enough water and they are free from pests or other problems.
How and When to Prune
Knowing how and when to prune your tomato plant is just as important, if not more so, than the rest of the advice here. Adequate pruning will encourage growth where it matters most; growing large red tomatoes.
Otherwise, you’ll plants will focus on growing thick stems and more leaves. Learn all about how to prune tomatoes here for increased yields.
Selecting Tomato Varieties for Big Tomatoes
The second most important aspect of growing big tomatoes is growing the right variety. There are two categories that will produce huge red fruit: main-crop red and extra-large red.
According to the University of Illinois Extension Office, main-crop reds bear medium-sized fruit, which has a good amount of foliage and are relatively free from deformities or other abnormalities.
These varieties include Celebrity, Mountain Delight, Fantastic, Better Boy, Mountain Pride, Burpee’s Big Girl, and Supersonic. These range in size from 9-16 ounces.
If you really want to beat the socks off your competitors at the county fair, your best bet is to plant an extra-big red tomato variety. These are ideal for local county fairs, as they are a late-maturing category.
This type of tomatoes, however, may be misshapen or have scarred patches on the fruits, making the novelty of a perfect extra-large tomato even that much more spectacular.
Newer hybrid varieties of this variety are more consistently round with fewer abnormalities or scarred patches. These include Delicious (which holds the world record at 7 lbs 12 oz), Super steak, and Beefmaster. These tomatoes generally grow in size from one to two pounds or more.
Trellis or Stake Plants When Growing Big Tomatoes
The last thing to consider when growing tomatoes for their size is your staking system. Giant tomatoes especially need a sturdy trellis or cage for support.
This cage should have holes that are big enough for you to harvest and be tall enough for wide plants, which may grow up to six feet in height. It should also be firmly anchored to the ground to keep the plant from uprooting and falling over.
Garden stakes are an excellent way to add extra support. For tall growing plants that run the risk of falling over and snapping, planting a tomato stake and securing it to the plant will help avoid and losses.
Be sure to select the type of support system based on the type of plant you have. If you’re growing a wide, sprawling variety, aim for a hoop style tomato cage to contain the plant.
Before you know it, you will be the envy of all tomato gardeners in the neighborhood, displaying your record size produce!
Best Giant Tomato Varieties
As mentioned above, if you’re looking for a large tomato seeds, you can’t go wrong with Delicious, Super steak, and Beefmaster.
I’d be remiss to leave out a home state favorite: the Jersey Giant. Jersey Giant tomatoes produce oblong, pointy tipped, fruit that are very meaty and have few seeds. Use Jersey Giant for canning and sauce making!
Another great option is the Giant Oxheart tomato variety. Bearing fruit that weighs upwards of three pounds! Giant Oxheart tomatoes are perfect for slicing and have a mild flavor. While they are slow growing, once they get going the it will produce bountiful yields.
However, if you’re looking to venture into hybrids that produce monsters, you definitely want to grow Big Zac tomato plants. Big Zac are a hybrid from beefsteak and consistently produce tomatoes that weigh in at a whopping 4-6 pounds each!
Where to buy giant tomato seeds online
When purchasing seeds online, you always want to make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller. Here is a list of where to buy giant tomato seeds so you don’t have to do the guesswork!
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