If you are looking for decorative ways to spruce up the idle corners in your compound, consider planting a tomato garden. You will beautify your home as you earn.
Grow them close to the kitchen, in the backyard and front yard as well.
They are easy to grow and look after. Besides, when they ripen, they add colour to your compound.
Leonard Muzahura, a gardener with Superior landscapes says, even if one is tight on space, tomatoes can grow in sacks and containers.
“All you need is a sunny spot and containers, sacks or polythene bags,” he recommends.
Ensure they receive eight hours of direct sunlight.
If you look after them well, they will ripen within three months.
How to grow tomatoes
Steven Kirumira, another gardener says, tomatoes grow well under warm conditions and are heavy feeders that need fertile soils.
The most grown types include; Money maker, Heinz and neo-grand.
No matter what you choose, make sure it is a hard variety. These can stay longer before or after harvest compared to the soft ones.
Cherry tomatoes are also a good choice. They are so generous in fruiting and ripen almost all the time.
Muzahura is of a view to prepare a nursery bed before transplanting them to the garden.
This will help you to identify healthy seedlings on time.
If you decide to pot them, ensure the soil mixture has good drainage.
When the plants start to creep, give them support by adding small logs, soft wires or wire mesh cages.
Maintain your tomato plants by removing all leaves growing near the soil level to avoid fungal infections.
Simple ways to prepare a nursery bed
Prepare the bed and put a shelter to reduce sunlight from burning the seeds.
Also, cover them with a thin layer of soil and water them every day in the morning and evening depending on the weather.
They will sprout after a week.
After 6 weeks, transplant them to the garden but plant them one and a half feet apart.
If possible you can apply organic manure or fertilizers like DAP and NPK.
Pests and Diseases
Tomatoes are usually attacked by fungal diseases like blight which causes dry brown patches on leaves. Prevent it by spraying.
Blossom end rot also affects tomatoes and this can be prevented by mulching your garden.
Another pests are green caterpillars called hornworms which eat up the leaves. Kill with rocket.