Once your tomato plant is growing strong, you'll want to continue to prune and manage it's growth. This will ensure it continues to fruit for many months. Here are some tips for caring for a mature tomato plant:
- To improve the growth of your tomato plant and ensure a bountiful harvests, you’ll need to occasionally prune branches that are growing outside of the AeroGarden light hood. Follow the branch to where it meets another branch and make the cut just below the junction where the two branches meet.
- You should see yellow flowers on your tomato plants at 5-7 weeks. Unpollinated flowers simply fall off the plants without setting fruit, and failure to pollinate is one of the greatest causes of disappointment in growing tomato and pepper plants. Many plants, including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and melons require pollination in order to produce fruit. When growing outdoors, this critical step is performed by wind, animals, bees and other insects. When growing indoors, we need to "be the bee" and perform this task ourselves if we want to enjoy those vine-ripened tomatoes in the middle of winter. You will need to pollinate regularly once they begin to flower, at least every other day, and only when the lights are on.
- As your tomato plants age you may see some brown or yellow leaves. This is perfectly normal. Remove these leaves with scissors. Also remove older branches that are dead and brown.
- Week 9-12 - Mature Plant Phase: Time to start harvesting your tomatoes! Pick your tomatoes gently with your fingers. A ripe tomato feels firm but has a little “give” when pressed. Ripe yellow tomatoes will still be a little bit green. Harvest tomatoes just before eating for a sweet flavor. Continue to pollinate tomato flowers for your next harvest.