One of the most useful things to have in your kitchen is tomato sauce. From pizza to pasta, to a topping for chicken, tomato sauce has so many uses. The best tomato sauce I have ever had was made from tomatoes I grew myself. Any tomato can be used for sauce, but there are some there are better than others. You wouldn't want to use cherry tomatoes to make tomato sauce, that would be a lot of work. You want a tomato that is meaty. For that the best choice out there is the San Marzano. It is a low sugar, low acid tomato that has a great flavor and a lot of meat. Chefs around the world love this tomato. You can find it in canned form at most grocery stores. Or you can grow them yourself. On this page you will find my guide to growing these tomatoes. I will update this page throughout the season with pictures and how my plants are growing.
When to Plant
Tomatoes need to be planted after the risk of frost is over in your area. For me in Michigan that is the end of May. You can directly plant the seeds outdoors or you can start them inside 6-8 weeks before the frost free date. If you live in a warm climate, I would just sew the seeds outdoors. I am going to opt to start mine indoors.
Starting Seeds Indoors
I start my seeds in a tray of biodegradable pots. Each pot contains a soil mix that is ideal for starting seeds in. To plant the seeds, I water each pot with warm water and then using a pencil poke a hole in each pot. I use the end of the metal part of the pencil as a guide to how deep to go. I will then place my plants underneath a grow light for the next 6 weeks.
After about 6 weeks, I plant to start hardening my plants off. This is a process of taking the seeds outdoors for a short time at first, and then increasing time each day. You need to do this to help the plant adjust to being outdoors. I will do this for 2 weeks.
Planting in the Grow
Once my hardening off is done, I plan to plant my plants in the ground the weekend of May 21-22.
It takes about 80 days for the plant to mature. I started the seeds indoors on March 24th, so I can probably expect to begin harvesting between early to mid July. It all depends a lot on the weather. I have also found when I transplant tomatoes, it takes some time for the plants to adjust and continue their growth.