Grow Tomatoes Easily  

Dave “The Tomato Guy” Freed will help you grow great tomatoes

Growing Tomatoes Easily Starts Here

I’m Dave Freed, the tomato guy. What’s in store for you on this website? Why should you take the time to check out my website instead of the hundreds of others? Look at the photo below. That’s me with three tomato plants as featured in the Los Angeles Times. The plants — two “Better Boy” and one “Big Beef” — each individual plant has more than 100 pounds of tomatoes hanging from their vines.

Man standing in garden between three tomato plants
I can help you get similar results. I teach to you and others, on Zoom and in person, how to grow tomatoes easily. When you see these pictures throughout the website, you see the results, you know I know what I’m doing. And you can google Dave the tomato guy for more about me. In addition to tomatoes, for bigger and better and more fruits and vegetables — my techniques, methods, specific recommendations apply to most everything in your garden. We need more home grown vegetable and tomato gardens. Many younger parents want to teach their children how to grow a vegetable garden. What could be healthier than growing a vegetable garden and home grown tomatoes at home? I’m always happy to help when I can.



Dave Freed /  the Tomato Guy

Important notes from Dave

  • Teaching others how to Grow Tomatoes Easily—I do this as a hobby. Way over 150,000 visits to this website in less than 5 years. I don’t do it for the money. I’m retired, have a limited income, drive an old 1999 Toyota pickup truck and happy with life.
  • Companies offer free potting soil, plants, fertilizers, etc. if I will advertise/promote their products. I don’t do this. I do not accept income from advertising of third-party products.
  • And I will not accept free product from anyone. That way I can suggest to you those things that work in growing tomatoes easily and not promote things that may not work well. My suggestions are based on products and methods that I have used and recommend.
  • In addition to tomatoes, my techniques, methods, specific recommendations apply to most all vegetables.
  • I live in Southern California and most notes apply to our growing season here. Make sure to adjust for weather conditions, day and nighttime temperatures, in your location. In general, the best time to plant is in spring, after the cold weather has ended and before hot weather arrives.
  • Before planting visit our tomato photo gallery where you'll find lots of varieties, pictures and descriptions. Plant whatever varieties you like but make sure to plant at least one that will give you lots of tomatoes. Here are a few of the tomato plants you will see in the tomato photo gallery, which includes descriptions.
  • You are welcome to share this information with others. Share with your family and friends; share with the general membership of your club. I do this as a hobby. I love growing tomatoes and sharing what works for me. And if it works for me, it should work for you.
  • If you don’t have a “Green Thumb,” I’ll give you one…
  • If you apply the steps I show you here to all your garden vegetables, your other garden vegetable plants will grow bigger and taller and you will have more and bigger fruits and vegetables in your garden. The key to the biggest improvement will almost certainly improving your soil. In the website, you will read exactly how to improve your soil.
  • I also offer planting accessories at a minimal cost for materials (and delivery in Southern California if you need it). Many people do not want to make their own accessories. I don’t want or need a job or income. If I can add a little more success to your tomato growing, I’m happy to make these. Click the button to download an order form or just send an email with your needs.

Our tomato gallery

Our home-grown tomato gallery is unlike any other website that showcases pictures of tomatoes. Here, you will find stunning images of tomatoes that have all been grown by me. More pictures will be added regularly. I want to emphasize that if I can grow these tomatoes, you can too. I share everything I do, providing you with a step-by-step guide to achieve success. As you browse through the tomato gallery, simply click on each picture to view it in a larger size and read its description. If you have any questions that are not addressed in the "Tomato Growing Advice" section, feel free to reach out to me via email at

I am prompt in responding and genuinely want you to succeed. In some of the pictures, you will notice that I have removed leaves to highlight the plentiful harvests that different varieties of tomato plants can yield. You will see photos of plants grown in self-watering containers, some only 3-4 feet tall and bearing 50 to over 100 tomatoes weighing 6-10 ounces each. Additionally, there are container-grown plants that tower at 7 feet or taller, producing 150 to over 200 tomatoes weighing 6-8 ounces each.

Moreover, there are ground-grown plants that can yield over 100 pounds of tomatoes from a single plant. I will demonstrate how you can achieve similar results. Even if you don't consider yourself to have a "Green Thumb," I will equip you with one. It's as simple as following a shopping list of items to purchase and then following a few straightforward steps. That's all it takes to easily grow your own tomatoes!

Simply click on each picture to view it in a larger size and read its description.

Growing Advice 

Tomato plants in the pictures you see were grown by me. Most of what’s written is based on my actual experience growing those homegrown tomatoes. I pass my experience on to you. I want you to be successful so you in turn can pass your success on to others.

The basics: How to grow tomatoes easily

What are the basics to growing tomatoes? The following are “cut-to-the-chase” shortcuts so you can plant your tomato plants right away. Go to Growing Advice and look up and check off/be aware of each of the following. Once you have started growing, bookmark the website

Tomato planting tips, where to start?

Should you start with live plants or seed? Live plants are the easiest. I only plant seeds if I can’t find a live plant. What size tomato plants should you to buy? Avoid six plants in a container pony packs if you can. Many times

How much sun do tomato plants need?

Plus or minus four hours of sunshine for smaller tomatoes such as cherry Tomatoes. Larger size tomatoes need more sunshine, 8-10-12 hours. If you are not sure you have enough sunshine plant those tomatoes anyway. Books say tomato plants need at least 4 hours of

The best potting soil or mix for tomatoes and vegetables

The bag must say either potting soil or potting mix, these terms are interchangeable. How to use these potting soils/potting mixes in each type of planting application such as pots, containers, raised beds, regular backyard dirt, etc. will be explained in each of those separate

Growing tomatoes in pots and containers

What size pot, container should you use for tomatoes? For typical varieties of tomato plants use a very minimum of 15 gallon container. The smaller the container size the more often you will need to water, the smaller root system you will have resulting in

How to grow tomatoes in raised beds

Raised beds, raised planters are a great way to grow tomatoes and garden vegetables. A raised bed puts great soil for planting on top of your poor soil. How to make your own raised bed from scratch? Google it—you will find zillions of suggestions. And

Best fertilizer for tomatoes: Tips for maximum yield

When it comes to feeding your tomatoes, I always recommend a liquid fertilizer or a granular one that dissolves in water. These types of fertilizers are quickly absorbed, providing immediate benefits to your plants. It's like giving your tomatoes a direct nutrient boost! Do Tomatoes

Manure tea for tomatoes: How to make, how to use

Organic and made from steer manure, manure tea helps your tomato plants grow large deep green leaves and loads of tomatoes. Make a “Steer Manure Tea” and pour around the base of your tomato plants. As we talked in fertilizers, liquid nutrients are taken up

How to help your tomato plants pollinate

Each flower contains both the male and female parts. Inside of the same blossom, the male part drops pollen onto the female part. Pollination happens mostly by the wind, a breeze moving the flower/blossom. Then bingo! That blossom is pollinated and a baby tomato is

Tomato cages: How to build a DIY heavy duty cage

Why do you need heavy duty tomato cages? You are going to grow big tomato plants and you want to keep the fruit up off the ground. How to make your own heavy duty tomato cages using concrete mesh wire? You can buy a 150

How to prune your tomato plants

There is really no right or wrong in pruning and if you don't prune at all, you will still have plenty of tomatoes. So, why should you prune tomato plants?  Let’s cut to the chase:If your plant is growing out of control, it’s OK to

Dwarf tomatoes reviewed: Should I grow dwarf tomatoes?

What are dwarf tomatoes? Dwarf tomatoes produce regular size tomatoes from plants smaller in size to accommodate smaller spaces. Ideal for pots and containers and those small areas.  Dwarf tomatoes have been the talk of the town. A few years ago, grafted tomatoes were the talk

When to pick and how to store your homegrown tomatoes

When should you pick your homegrown tomatoes? For the best of vine ripened tomatoes, I don’t pick tomatoes until I’m ready to eat them... When are homegrown tomatoes at their best flavor? Look for these signs to pick for vine ripened flavor: They have turned

Containers and self-watering containers

The most important factors when growing in containers will be container size and using great potting soil/ potting Mix. Size of container. For typical varieties of tomato plants use a minimum of 15 gallon containers; 20 gallon is better and 25 gallon is ideal. 1

Tomato Pests, Diseases, Solutions

Let’s talk general solutions to tomato pests and diseases...

First and most importantly, grow a healthy tomato plant. We covered this elsewhere on the site, review if necessary.

Like us, tomato plants that are weak and frail usually get sick. Say your once healthy tomato plant looks a little sick. What to do? Discolored leaves falling off, wilting, bugs. Whatever. We think, “Let’s ask the experts." Some expert somewhere must know the answer. The internet has what seems like 100s of possible cures.

We post a picture of the problem and get 50 different remedies from 50 different people. Then we take a leaf to the local nursery for help. The local nursey is ready to sell us a slew of products that might help.

Sometimes we leave thinking maybe we may know more than the nursey employee. That’s how we normally proceed on sick plants.

So what should we do about a sick tomato? First, we don’t always need a specific diagnosis. We need to do more of those things that generally fix sick tomato plants. When tomato leaves are dying and falling off the tomato, usually it’s a "fungus” problem. We don’t need to know the specific fungus. There are 100s and 100s of different types of fungus. I don’t spend all day trying to figure out which specific fungus it is. First do something that generally treats/cures fungus and sick tomato plants in general. That’s what you’re going to read about in this section.

When your tomato plant has bugs? Take you garden hose and spray off the bugs. Do it in the morning so your plant has all day to dry.

If your tomato plant is really bad?? Pull it out and put in another new healthy little guy. You’re not running a tomato hospital.

In this section you will read a few of the common problems with some helpful solutions on powdery mildew fungus, fungus in general, spider mites, blossom end rot, root knot nematodes.

I don’t generally use pesticides, never needed to. Even with some disease every year, we always have plenty of tomatoes.

Homegrown tomatoes: How to prevent pests and diseases

Grow healthy tomato plants! That is most important way to control pests and diseases. Just like humans, the weak, frail and stressed catch illnesses. To grow a healthy tomato plant, remember we need: Enough sunshine Good soil Right amount of water Fertilizer To pick a

Preventing spider mites on tomato plants

So, how do you control spider mites? The spider mites typically seen on tomatoes are kind of orange-red in color. Once you have an infestation it’s very difficult to get rid of them as they are on the underside of leaves and not easily seen.

How to avoid blossom end rot on your homegrown tomatoes

Every year people ask about blossom end rot—a dark leathery spot on the bottom of the tomato. Your plant will continue to bloom and set fruit until the end of the season. It’s pretty common and especially so with tomato plants growing in containers. It’s

Fighting nematodes and other tomato soil pests and diseases

What makes you think you have nematodes? Many times it’s just poor soil conditions and someone telling you it’s probably nematodes , tomato root knot nematodes.  What are nematodes?  There are good nematodes and there are bad nematodes. Root knot nematodes are bad pests; they are

Protecting your tomato plants from powdery mildew

There are hundreds of types of powdery mildew. Pictured below is what powdery mildew commonly looks like. It usually starts down low and towards the center of the plant and works it way upwards.   Sulfur dust is an organic way to protect your plants against powdery

Growing Tomatoes in Hot Weather

Everyone encounters hot weather. Tomatoes enjoy days that are about 75 degrees. Once temperatures exceed 85 degrees most tomato plants will tell you it’s too hot to bear tomatoes. In this section we talk about how to help your tomatoes during hot weather.

How to grow better tomatoes in hot weather

Hot weather is the enemy of tomatoes. I live in Southern California and hot temps, especially inland, begin to ramp up as summer comes on. If you are on the coast or in the mountains and do not experience excessive heat, you can plant normally; you

Mulch tomatos with straw during hot weather

What is mulching? In your regular backyard soil/raised beds, mulching is adding a three, four or even five inches deep of a coarse compost type mulch on the ground soil around your tomato plants. I use straw. Why is mulching with a thick layer of

Heat tolerant tomatoes: Growing tomatoes in hot weather

If you want to plant tomatoes during hot weather months try some of those labeled “heat tolerant.” These plant varieties can tolerate the heat and produce pollen and tomatoes when the temperature is above 85 degrees. Heat tolerant tomatoes will have names like Solar Fire,

One last thing... 

I teach to you and others, on Zoom and in person at little or no cost how to grow tomatoes easily. 

You have seen pictures of tomato plants loaded with tomatoes, you see the results. And then I tell you exactly how I do it so you can do it too. Once you can do it—you can then help your friends, neighbors, and relatives do the same thing. Anyone can write about how to grow tomatoes but when you see the pictures, you can see I know what I’m doing. I’m not a scientist. I learned mostly from experience and I continue learning and I pass that on to you.

In addition to tomatoes, my techniques, methods, specific recommendations apply to most all vegetables. Vegetables will be bigger and in more abundance. We need more home vegetable and tomato gardens. Many younger parents want to teach their children how to grow a vegetable garden. What could be healthier than growing a vegetable garden and home grown tomatoes at home? And it’s not that difficult. I’m always happy to help when I can.

Use your search engine/Google — Dave Freed the tomato guy —  see things I have been doing and what others have to say about me.

Advertising? You don’t see any on my website. I don’t accept any form of advertising, money or free products in exchange for promoting other people’s products. I have had offers. I don’t accept the offers because I want to always show and suggest products to you that work best for growing tomatoes and not products that others pay me to promote.

When you have suggestions and ideas I always enjoy hearing from you.

My email:


Dave Freed / the Tomato Guy

Soil Secrets

Improving your soil is probably the best way to grow better tomatoes. 

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