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5 Hacks to Growing Tomatoes

One of my dreams came true this year when we bought an actual house which came with a little plot of soil, which is hard to find in the city! I’ve always wanted to try and grow my own vegetables, so I started my own little veggie patch in April. I’m keeping it organic and natural, and it’s been a fun learning experience with a little something to do every morning. 

I’ve put together 5 tomato hacks that helped me grow my first harvest. If you’re starting your own tomatoes or currently struggling, I hope these tips help! 

Tomato Hack 1: Grow your tomatoes along the side of a wall, or close to a wall

Tomatoes love sunny, warm spots which can be tricky during Japan’s rainy summers! Walls will absorb heat from sunlight and reflect that warmth on your tomato plants. They can also serve as support for your growing tomato vines. 

Tomato Hack 2: Prune, prune, prune!

You want your tomatoes to channel their energy towards growing fruit, not leaves. You’ll be surprised at the rate leaves grow. I prune my leaves once a week, especially the ones growing closer to the bottom of the stem and also accumulating powdery mildew. 

Tomato Hack 3: Make your own natural fertilizer and pesticide.

I noticed little green worms starting to bore holes into my tomatoes, so I sprayed vinegar on my tomatoes once every 2-3 days which seemed to do the trick. I also soaked banana skins in hot water for 24 hours and used that water for my plants. The water is filled with potassium from the skins, which contain calcium (prevents blossom end rot in tomatoes), manganese (aids photosynthesis), sodium (helps water flow between cells), magnesium and sulfur (help make chlorophyll).  They also don’t contain nitrogen, which creates lots of green leaves but few berries or fruits. 

Tomato Hack 4: Put up bird nets and hang cans. 

Don’t think you’re the only one eyeing your veggies! Birds know exactly when the tomatoes are most delicious and will be quick and sneaky to attack your garden. Once you see signs of your plants growing fruits, drape bird-proof nets, put up stakes and hang reflective-surface cans and/or shiny items around your garden. 

meraki japan tomato

Tomato Hack 5: Know when to harvest!

Speaking of birds and bugs attacking your garden, you don’t have to wait till your tomatoes are cherry red to pick them. You can snip them off when the bottoms of your tomatoes start turning red, even if the tops are still yellow/green. Let them ripen along your window for 2-3 days and they will turn red! 

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