The vegetable garden has become an integral part of our gardens. It not only brings the fruits of labor to our plates, but much more besides. In fact, it has come to be seen as a tool for relaxation, helping us to disconnect from our everyday lives, which are far too fast-paced to bring us serenity.
Tomatoes are low in calories and abundant in carotenoid pigments, including pro-vitamin A. However, they also contain lycopene, a natural pigment that acts as an antioxidant in our bodies! Numerous studies corroborate its positive effects on eye health, as well as its cancer-fighting potential.

What type of soil for tomatoes?

Nourishing the soil is a crucial step in promoting the growth of your tomato plants. Compost is an essential ally, as it not only provides a rich source of minerals, acting as a natural fertilizer, but can be complemented using a mineral fertilizer base, to be spread before digging.
Ensure adequate soil aeration: When your soil is protected by compost or 'green manures', it tends to settle less. This keeps it more supple and better aerated. In this case, all you need to do is spade the soil with a spading fork. However, if you have bare, compacted soil, we recommend traditional, deeper digging to improve soil structure.


How to plant a tomato plant?

Planting tomatoes requires the right conditions, including well-prepared soil, a suitable climate and sunny exposure. Make sure that the soil is warm and that night-time temperatures remain above 10/12°C. These optimal conditions are generally met from May onwards. Before this period, we recommend protected planting, such as greenhouses, tunnels or mini-tunnels.
When planting, dig a hole about twice the size of the plant's root ball. To help the plant take root, place a handful of planting soil at the bottom of the hole. Before placing the root ball, be sure to soak it in water, then carefully place it at the bottom of the hole. Once in place, fill in the hole, firmly pack the soil around the rootball and water thoroughly.
Tip for tomatoes: You can bury the base of the stem up to the first two true leaves, and even tilt the plant slightly. This will encourage the development of new roots, contributing to the overall vitality of the plant. Follow these tips for robust, productive tomato plants.
When planting your tomatoes, allow 50-60 cm spacing between each plant in a row, leaving a distance of around 80 cm between rows.
For the first 10 days, water regularly to ensure optimum growth.
For solid support, use stakes at least 120 cm high. Wait about 15 days to 3 weeks after planting to tie your plants to the stakes, using raffia or a wide tie. To simplify the process, you can also opt for spiral stakes, which reduce the number of ties required.


How to water tomatoes?

Tomatoes need a lot of water, especially when the fruit starts to form. Maintain regular watering, but avoid over-watering (avoid dry spells and over-watering). During hot spells, watering every 4 to 5 days, providing 3 to 5 liters of water per plant (adjust according to the nature of your soil), is generally adequate.
For optimum efficiency, water early in the morning, targeting the base of the plants without wetting the foliage. This reduces the risk of disease development.
By following these recommendations for watering your tomato plants, you'll boost their health and productivity.


How to fertilize tomatoes?

Fertilizer is the key to tomato nutrition. Mineral elements play a crucial role in plant growth, fruit formation and optimal ripening. Proper fertilization ensures satisfactory production, preserves plant health and enhances the flavor of your tomatoes.
For best results, start fertilizing as soon as the first bunch of tomatoes forms, repeating every 15 days to 3 weeks until the end of the growing season.
To encourage a good crop with lots of fruit, we recommend limiting the tomato to a single main stem. Remove any secondary shoots growing in the leaf axils. This can easily be done by hand by breaking off the young shoots or pinching them between your fingernails (use pruning shears if the secondary stems are too thick).


Tips for growing tomatoes?

To minimize the risk of tomato disease, we recommend removing the leaves at the base of the plants, as close to the ground as possible. At the end of the season, you can also remove all the leaves from your plants, allowing the fruit to benefit from maximum sunlight and perfect ripening. Most tomato varieties have a continuous growth habit, often referred to as "indeterminate". To encourage fruit growth (around 5 to 7 bunches of tomatoes, depending on the variety), it is necessary to stop this growth by cutting off the heads of the plants.


What are tomato pests and diseases?

The most common pests on tomatoes are aphids and whiteflies. In hot, dry periods, mites (red or yellow spiders) can also be a problem. Mildew, the main disease, can spread rapidly in hot, humid weather, wreaking havoc on your crop. Unfortunately, there's no cure, so prevention is key. Here are a few essential measures:
- Plant with respect for spacing
- Water in the morning, avoiding wetting the leaves
- Select appropriate varieties
- Maintain your soil
- Remove and eliminate diseased parts
- Use treatments authorized for use in gardens, respecting the instructions
- Practice crop rotation
The problem of 'Dark blotches' often results from irregular watering, inducing poor calcium assimilation and leading to tissue necrosis at the tips of tomatoes.


What are the benefits of tomatoes for the body?

Tomatoes offer a variety of benefits for the body, thanks to their nutrients and active compounds. Here are just a few of the benefits:
1. Rich in antioxidants: Tomatoes contain antioxidants such as lycopene, vitamin C, vitamin E and carotenoids, which help neutralize free radicals and protect cells from oxidative damage.
2. Lycopene for heart health: Lycopene, found in large quantities in tomatoes, has been linked to cardiovascular benefits. It can help reduce the risk of heart disease by promoting healthy blood vessels and reducing inflammation.
3. Source of vitamins: Tomatoes provide essential vitamins such as vitamin C, which supports the immune system, and pro-vitamin A, which is important for vision and skin health.
4. Dietary fiber: Tomatoes are a source of fiber, which can aid digestion, maintain satiety and help regulate blood sugar levels.
5. Potassium: Tomatoes contain potassium, a mineral that can help maintain a healthy electrolyte balance and regulate blood pressure.
6. Skin benefits: Certain nutrients found in tomatoes, such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, can contribute to skin health and radiance.
7. Possible anti-cancer effects: Studies suggest that lycopene and other compounds present in tomatoes may have anti-cancer properties, particularly for certain types of cancer such as prostate cancer.
8. Hydration: Largely composed of water, tomatoes can help maintain good hydration.
9. Low-calorie: Tomatoes are low in calories, making them a healthy addition to many diets.